Content of the material
- Getting Started
- Creating your Instagram profile
- Add a profile picture
- Tell the world more about yourself (or not)
- Find people to follow
- Post your first photo or video
- Thinking outside the square
- How to tag people
- How to mention other Instagrammers
- How to like, comment, and send photos and videos
- How to post more than one photo at once
- How to make your photos and videos private
- How to link Instagram to your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Flickr accounts
- How to embed your photos on the web
- 11. Learn from Other Artists and Their Feed
- How to Use Instagram Like a Pro
- How to share other people’s photos (repost) on your Instagram account
- How to send messages on Instagram
- How to use Instagram Stories
- How to view other people’s Instagram stories
- How to create your own Instagram stories
- How to broadcast live on Instagram
- How to use Instagram Reels
- How do you sign up for Instagram?
- Step 1: download the Instagram app
- Step 2: Sign up for Instagram
- Step 3: Add a profile photo and other info
- Limitations to Revisiting Liked Posts
Creating your Instagram profile
Already have an account? Go ahead and skip this section. Otherwise, let’s start with the basics. To register for an Instagram account, simply open the app, tap Sign Up, and either sign in with your Facebook account or provide an email address and password. You’ll also need to come up with a unique username, or handle. This can be as simple as your actual name, or something more creative. If you’re joining instagram for professional purposes, it’s a good idea to use a handle that relates to what you do or to the theme of your account.
Add a profile picture
You can easily add a profile photo to the Instagram app from your mobile device. Go to your profile by tapping on your profile picture in the lower right, tap the blank circle by your name (this is where your profile photo will go), and either take a new picture or import one from your phone, Facebook, or Twitter.
Tell the world more about yourself (or not)
In the Edit Profile menu, you can determine how you want your name displayed (real or pseudonym), change your Instagram handle, link to an external website (just one is allowed), and add a bio. You can also list private information like your phone number and gender, although these aren’t shown to the public. The nice thing is that Instagram does not require you to fill any of these fields, nor do you have to provide your full name if you don’t want to.
Find people to follow
By now, a lot of your friends are probably already using Instagram, so you can go to your profile tab and select Find Friends in the Options setting (the gear icon in the upper-right). Here, you can search for friends that have connected their Facebook and Twitter accounts to Instagram. You can also search by name, username, or tag. You can also follow celebrities or people whose photos you admire. Following interesting people is a great way to get inspired, and it helps Instagram’s algorithms learn what you like and suggest photos and videos in the Discovery tab.
Post your first photo or video
To post your first photo or video, simply tap on the camera icon in the middle of the bottom menu of the app. You can then either snap a photo, record a video, or choose one from your phone gallery. Once you choose the photo you want, hit Next. From there, you’ll be able to apply a filter or even edit the look of the photo manually. The app lets you crop, change exposure, boost the saturation, increase sharpness, add a vignette, and much more.
Hit Next again and you’ll be prompted to add a caption, tags (of other Instagram users), location, and any other social network (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, or Swarm) where you would like to post a link to the Instagram post. When you’re ready to post, hit Share.
Sharing a video works much the same way, but you can also select the clip length (up to a minute) or compose a montage from multiple videos. You can also turn the sound off if you’re not fond of the background noise in your video.
Thinking outside the square
For years, Instagram only let you upload square photos. In August 2015, it finally lifted this restriction, much to the relief of photographers everywhere. Square is still the default, but you can now also upload in landscape and portrait orientations, although there are still some limitations on aspect ratio. To quickly pick the original aspect ratio, or closest acceptable ratio to it, simply tap the icon in the bottom-left corner of the photo.
One thing to note is that portrait-oriented photos will appear larger in the feed, since Instagram is a vertically-oriented app. For this reason, you may want to consider using it more often than square or landscape, and planning your shots accordingly.
How to tag people
Want to call attention to your mom, friend, dog, barista, or whoever else appears in your photo? Simply tap on Tag People beneath the caption field on the last editing page before sharing your photo. Next, tap on the person or object in the image that you want to tag and enter their name or Instagram username. You should see a list of suggestions as you type, but if for some reason you don’t see the person you’re looking for, Instagram makes it easy to search for people you know.
Forget to tag someone in a photo you already posted? No worries. Simply tap on the photo in your profile, tap the “…” button in the upper right to bring up the menu, select Edit, and then tap Tag People.
How to mention other Instagrammers
To mention a friend in your caption, type @ in front of their username (e.g., “Great article, @digitaltrends!”). Your friend will then receive a notification in their activity feed letting them know that you mentioned them. You can also mention people in comments.
Note: If you mention someone and they later change their Instagram handle, your mention will not automatically update and will no longer link to their profile. Tags, however, will update if a user changes their handle.
How to like, comment, and send photos and videos
To like a photo or video on Instagram, simply double tap the photo or video, or you can tap the “heart” icon. If you liked a post by accident, just tap the icon again to unlike it.
Next to the heart icon is a text bubble icon, which is how you make a comment. There isn’t a limit to how much you can write, but for the sake of the Instagram community, we suggest keeping it brief.
The arrow icon that lies to right of the comment button will let you send the photo or video as a message to other users. Tap it, select who you want to send it to, and tap Send. The post will be shared in a private message, and is a good way to draw someone’s attention to content you think they’d like — just keep in mind, doing this too frequently is a good way to annoy people.
How to post more than one photo at once
In February 2017, Instagram introduced the ability to post more than one photo at a time. Now, you can post up to 10 photos at once in an album. Albums show up as a single post in the feed, but your followers can swipe to see all of the photos.
To post multiple images at once, simply tap on more than one image when uploading from your device. Instagram will automatically create an inline, carousel-style album. While you can post up to 10 photos, you’re limited to a single caption for the entire album. What’s more, images must all be cropped to the same aspect ratio, so no mixing and matching of portrait, landscape, and square images.
How to make your photos and videos private
When you first create your Instagram account, anyone can see your profile on Instagram. Your posts will only show up in the feeds of people who follow you, but anyone will be able to see them by navigating to your profile or if they search for a hashtag you’ve used.
If you would rather make your posts private so that only your followers can see them, period, Instagram lets you do this. Go to your profile, tap the three-dots icon to bring up account settings, and turn on the Private Account option.
How to link Instagram to your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Flickr accounts
Because Instagram is one of the most popular social apps, you may want to connect all of your social accounts to get the most out of it. You can choose to link your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Flickr accounts; there are also less-popular networks (in the United States, at least) that you can link to, including Ameba and VKontakte. To get your social accounts linked, go to the Profile Tab > Linked Accounts > Share Settings, then select which accounts you want to connect. Every time you upload a photo to Instagram, you’ll have the option to select which photos you want to share to each of the social networks. You can also choose to share your photos on Instagram only.
How to embed your photos on the web
Did you take a photo that is absolutely amazing and you want to share it on your blog? Go to Instagram on the web and find the picture you want to share, click on the symbol shown as three dots, and choose the Embed option. You can copy and paste the code anywhere on the web to show off the photo you took. If your content is set as private on Instagram, you won’t be able to share the photo.
11. Learn from Other Artists and Their Feed
Study the accounts and feeds of other successful artists on Instagram.
See which posts are doing well for them, and learn from them so that you can apply it to your own feed.
See these successful artists as your teachers: They have been through the growing phase you are going through as well. They have also had years of learning what works and what doesn’t for their own Instagram page.
Watching how someone else works is the basis of how you learn how to do something in any job or field you are in. Instagram is just the same.
How to Use Instagram Like a Pro
If you want to go beyond basic posting and commenting, there are a number of ways you can engage with the app on a higher level.
How to share other people’s photos (repost) on your Instagram account
Instagram isn’t like Twitter – you can’t just share someone’s photo by clicking a single button.
There are a couple ways to share someone else’s photo. But before you do, it’s a good idea to get permission from the person first.
To do this, you can simply send them a message on Instagram (or elsewhere if you know their Twitter handle, and so on) and ask if you can repost with credit.
You can also @mention them in the photo’s comments and ask if you can repost.
Instagram’s community guidelines recommend that you do this to avoid any copyright issues – so it’s best to wait until you hear back before reposting.
Now, back to the methods: you can always screenshot the photo, crop out what you don’t want, and then share that screen shot (with proper credit, of course).
But if you want to download the photo (better quality) it takes a couple extra steps. You can find a detailed overview in this excellent guide (for desktop/laptop, not your mobile device).
There are also a number of free reposting apps, like Repost+ for iOS, or Regram for Android. These also help you if you want to include the caption/hashtags from the original post (so you don’t have to retype everything).
Again – always remember to seek permission and give credit when you share someone else’s work.
How to send messages on Instagram
Let’s say you find someone you know on Instagram and want to send them a message about their content, or about life in general. If you don’t want to comment publicly on one of their posts, you can send them a private message directly.
From your home page, click on the little icon in the upper right corner of your screen (it’ll either look like a paper airplane or a message bubble).
When you do, you’ll be taken to your messages. If you already have messages waiting for you, you can just click on one to read it and respond.
If you want to write a new message, tap the notepad/pencil icon in the upper right corner. You’ll need to choose to whom you’re sending it (you can search, or choose from the list of people you follow that pops up).
Once you select a person, you’ll click “Chat” in the upper right corner and you’ll be taken to the messaging screen.
If you want to continue a conversation, just click on the person’s name in your list of conversations (as you can see above).
How to use Instagram Stories
Stories let you share photos and videos in a less permanent way. Any media you share there will stay for 24 hours before disappearing (unless you save it or share it to your feed).
So it’s more like Snapchat, and lets you give your followers a quick glimpse at little moments in your life, quick messages you want to share, and so on.
How to view other people’s Instagram stories
To view stories, either scroll through your feed until you see some (like above), or select someone’s story from the top of your home page.
If you just want to look at other people’s stories, you can scroll through and browse them all. Or you can just click the “watch all” tab if you don’t want to miss anything.
Once you click on a story, it’ll scroll through however many story posts that person has made since you last checked (within the last 24 hours). Then, when you finish with their stories, it moves on to the next person’s stories in the list.
If you want to scroll back and forth between one person’s stories, or between different people (maybe you didn’t get a good enough look at that last clip), just tap on the left and right of the screen to move between images/videos or people.
To exit stories, just click the little X in the upper right corner.
How to create your own Instagram stories
To add your own stories to Instagram, go to the top of your home page. There, you’ll see a “Your story” icon with your profile picture and a little “+” symbol on it. (To the right of your photo, you’ll see other people who have recently shared stories.)
Click on your photo, and you’ll be taken to the story interface.
When you first open it, it’s set up to take a selfie. But you can flip the camera, or add photos or other content you already have on your phone. Just select the camera roll icon in the bottom left corner and it’ll take you to your photos.
Select what you want to share (one or many images – there’s a little “Select multiple” tab in the upper right corner if you want to share more than one thing) and you’ll be taken to the customization screen (what you see above).
There, you can add text, markup the image, add effects, and more with the menu options on the top of the screen.
Tip: if you swipe right or left from the sides of your screen, different filters will be applied to your image.
Once you’ve played around and made your image(s) or video(s) your own, just click the “Send to” button in the bottom right corner. You’ll choose whether to show this story to everyone (“Your story”), just close friends, or certain people in particular.
Once you hit “Send”, your story will be live for 24 hours.
Note: if you want to update your Story settings (like who can see them, where you share them, and so on), just click the settings gear in the upper right on the Stories screen.
How to broadcast live on Instagram
If you want to share something the moment it’s happening, Instagram offers a “Live” feature. It’s sort of like broadcasting your life live on camera for the world to see.
To access it, click on the “Your Story” icon at the top of your home screen. At the bottom of the stories screen, you’ll see three options: Live, Story (which will be highlighted), and Reels.
Click on “Live” and you’ll be taken to the recording screen.
You’ll see all kinds of little options: a place to add text, filters you can use, and settings in the upper left corner. You can either record yourself, or flip the camera around to show what you’re looking at instead (with the little arrows at the bottom right).
Once you hit the round record button (bottom center of screen), Instagram will check your connection and then start broadcasting. When you’re done, just hit “End” in the upper right. You’ll see the option to share the live video or delete it.
How to use Instagram Reels
Reels are just another way to share videos on Instagram – but these videos are short clips (around 15 seconds long) that loop when you play them.
To create a reel, just select the “Reel” option from the Stories screen. When you press the round play button it’ll record for up to 15 seconds (you can stop it earlier if you want by pressing the play button again).
Note: if you stop the reel before your 15 seconds are up, you’ll see the editing/effects option on the left of the screen. If you let it go all 15 seconds, it’ll start playing your clip on loop, and you won’t see the effects.
To access the effects from there, just click the little back arrow in the upper left corner of the screen as your video loops. To just go ahead and post it, click the forward arrow in the bottom right.
When you hit that right arrow, and you’ll see the option to “Share to Reels in Explore”. You an also toggle on or off whether you want to share it to your feed, too. You can share it right away, or save it to a draft.
If you want to add effects (audio, play speeds, visual effects, a timer – that lets you select the part of your Reel to keep/share – and alignment options), just click on each and play around with them.
Once you’re done touching up your Reel, click that right/next arrow to see a preview of your creation. When you’re ready, click next again and you’ll get the sharing options.
How do you sign up for Instagram?
Before you can post anything to Instagram, you have to have an Instagram account. It’s not difficult to set up, and we’ll go through the steps quickly here.
Just a quick note before we get started: Instagram’s desktop interface and mobile app are quite different. Most people use Instagram on their mobile device (from the Instagram app) because that’s where you can actually post photos.
You can’t post to Instagram from your desktop – you can just scroll, follow people, search, and so on.
Now, we’ll go through the instructions to set up your account on your mobile device. If you want to see how to do it on your desktop or laptop, just jump down to the “Bonus” section at the end of the article.
Step 1: download the Instagram app
First, you’ll need the app. Visit the app store and download it (it’s free).
Step 2: Sign up for Instagram
Next, you’ll need to create an account. Pick a username (you can change it later if you want) and a password. The app will automatically advance you to the next step once you’ve entered these values.
Step 3: Add a profile photo and other info
Once your account is set up, you’ll want to add a profile photo. It doesn’t have to be a photo of your face – but you should add something. No one wants to see that little grey person icon.
You can also add bio information, a website, and any other info you want people to know (as you see in the image above). Many people use this section to tell a bit about themselves, link to their personal sites, and so on.
Now that your profile is all set up, you’re ready to start exploring and posting to Instagram. Let’s dive into some of the features you’ll find.
Limitations to Revisiting Liked Posts
According to Instagram's Help page, you'll only be able to see the 300 most recent posts (photos and videos) that you've liked. That's still a lot, but if you're an Instagram power user who likes hundreds of posts a day, or if you feel the need to look for something you liked several weeks ago, you may be out of luck.
Liked posts are only displayed if you liked them using the Instagram mobile app or on the web. However, you can only see liked posts in the app. It’s unclear if any posts you liked through a third-party app for Instagram like Iconosquare show up, but if it doesn’t work for Instagram’s own web platform, it’s likely that it won’t work for third-party apps either.
Finally, if you commented on a photo or video but didn't also like it, there's no way to find it again if you lose it. You'll only be able to see posts you've liked by tapping the heart button (or double-tapping the post) in the "Posts You've Liked" section of your profile settings—not posts you've commented on only. So if you want to be able to revisit a post later, make sure you hit that heart button, even if your main intention is to leave a comment.4 Great Tools to Track Instagram Comments FAQ
- How do you remove posts you liked on Instagram?
If you no longer want to "like" a post, simply open that post and tap the heart icon to unlike it. This removes it from the Posts You've Liked list.
- How do you see posts others have liked on Instagram?
Instagram used to let you view another user's activity, but stopped that practice in 2019, as it was a privacy issue. The only way to see what people like in the app is to select a specific post and tap where it says "X likes" to see all the people that liked that post.
- How do you hide likes on Instagram?
If you don't want to see the total number of likes and views on posts from other accounts, go to Settings > Privacy > Posts and flip the Hide Like and View Counts toggle to On. To hide the like counts on your own posts, go into your feed and tap the three vertical dots next to a post, then choose Hide like count.