How does Instagram work? A question that is not as easy to answer as it may seem at first glance; because Instagram is more than just a social network with pretty photos. In this article we’ll explain to you how Instagram works and what you can use it for.
Follow, Like, Comment
As on most social media platforms, you can follow Instagram users whose content you are interested in. The latest content from the Instagrammers you are following will then be displayed on your home page, your so-called feed. Here you can comment, like or share especially great posts with your followers.
It’s story time
Besides normal photos and videos that are permanently visible on your profile, Instagram also supports stories. Instagram Stories allow you to post one or more photos or videos in a row. The twist: Your followers have only 24 hours to view your story and after that the content disappears from your profile forever. It’s a great way to motivate your fans to visit your Instagram profile every day.
When you add content to your story, a colorful circle appears around your profile picture, signalling to your followers that there are new pictures and videos to be watched. The stories of all users you follow can be found at the top of your Instagram feed. Users who add a hashtag or a location to their stories can also be found using the Instagram Search tool.
How does Instagram work as a marketing tool?
Everyone wants to have many followers, but the question is: Why? Large companies now use Instagram as a platform to promote their products. Not by posting their products themselves, but by asking Instagrammers to test their products and then hold them up to the camera. The more followers an Instagram profile has, the more interesting it is for companies. If you want to make money with Instagram, you should definitely win followers and, if possible, promote products that you yourself like and support. After all, you don’t want to scare away your followers with uninteresting products!
Post on Instagram yourself
What is so special about Instagram when there are so many other social networks? The answer is: the photos!
While you can upload your photos on other platforms too, Instagram, along with Snapchat, was the first app that made it easy for users to create their own photos, apply nice filters, and share them with others.
Most users use Instagram to follow the lives of famous people or to know what’s going on with their friends. But the fun part on Instagram is when you share your own photos with others. In the next section we explain how this is done.
The basics for a perfect Instagram start
Create your account
Once you have downloaded and opened the Instagram App, you will be asked to create a free account. Simply enter your email, a username and a secure password. If you are already logged into Facebook on your phone, you can also log in via Facebook. Instagram will redirect you to a page where you can confirm the link between your two accounts.
Once you’ve done this step, Instagram will ask you if you’d like to follow some friends or celebrities. If you have linked your account to your Facebook profile, Instagram already knows some of your preferences and will suggest suitable profiles. If you’re not sure or in a hurry, you can skip this step and follow as many Instagrammers as you want later on.
Tip: Although you can also use Instagram on your computer, we recommend you download the app on your phone to take full advantage of its features.
Customize your profile
Your profile is your small, personal area on Instagram. Here you can show people who you are – you even should! After all, users only take a few seconds to decide if they want to follow you or not. Therefore, a nice photo, a short biography and a link to other channels, if applicable, are essential. Give your profile a personal touch. If you need inspiration, just look at how successful Instagrammers present themselves and orientate yourself on them (just don’t copy them completely! It is still supposed to be YOUR unique profile).
Fill your feed with content
Instagram is only fun if you follow people who post interesting content. That’s why you should click the magnifying glass icon on the bottom bar. On this page, Instagram suggests pictures and videos that you might like. At the top of the page you can find a bar where you can search for specific people and categories to sort the suggested content by area of interest. To follow someone, simply click on “Follow” next to the username. In the future you will see all posts of the Instagrammers you follow in the feed on your homepage.
Be aware of fake accounts
There are a lot of fake accounts on Instagram. To stand out from these profiles, you should get your account verified. That means that Instagram has confirmed that behind the profile is a real person. Verified accounts can be recognized by the blue check mark next to the profile.
How does posting on Instagram work?
Record or select
For a new post, tap on the plus icon in the bottom toolbar. Here you can decide if you want to take one or more new photos / videos or upload existing pictures from your gallery.
Apply a filter
With a tap, you can then apply a suitable filter and add fun effects to your photo. Photo professionals can also use “Edit” to make manual changes to the warmth, brightness, or color of the images. Instagram has hundreds of filters that you can apply to both your photos and your videos. With videos, you can turn off the sound before posting them if you’d like to and even crop them when using Apple devices.
Next, you have to give the post a description. Choose a few matching hashtags, mark the people that are on the picture and add the place where you took the photo. Finally, you can add a personal comment to the photo and let your followers know what your post is about. After you click “share”, your post will appear on your profile and in the feed of your followers.
Abort! – Delete posts or edit them afterwards
No worries, even after posting them, you can edit or delete your contributions at any time. Just tap on “…” in the top right-hand corner of the post.
Twitter or Tumblr? Doesn’t matter! The main thing is sharing!
You can configure your Instagram account to automatically post your photos to Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr after you press share. If you don’t want your photo to be shared on a particular social network, just select it in the settings. If its name is greyed out, it means that this social network is inactive.
How do Instagram Stories work?
Open your camera
Tap the camera button in the top left of the screen or swipe to the right on your Instagram Feed.
Take pictures or videos
To take a photo, tap on the record button at the bottom of the screen or keep it pressed to film a video. Select “boomerang” to capture photos that move forward and backward in a loop. There are many more effects you can try out. These include layout, super zoom and stop-motion.
When you’re done, just tap on the sticker icons at the top of the screen to add stickers. Stickers include polls, quizzes, emojis or your location.
Share or save
After editing, you can save your photos to your phone, send them to a friend or share them on your story. Just tap “Your Story” or “Close Friends” at the bottom if you don’t want all of your followers to see the new story. But no matter who you share your story with, the basic rule is: After 24 hours, the content disappears from your story.
Make contact with other Instagrammers
Don’t forget that Instagram is a social network. On the other side of the screen are real people who you want to inspire with your content and who may have similar goals as you do. The success of your Instagram profile depends on the interaction with other users.
Follow, follow, follow
Each user profile has a “follow” button. Especially in the beginning you should follow a lot of interesting profiles to gain attention. After all, each profile gets a notification every time someone follows them, and they will then have a look at your profile. You should make sure that you follow profiles that post similar content as you do, this increases the chances that they will follow you back.
Comment and reply
Interacting with the posts of other Instagrammers is fun and easy. You can double-tap photos to like them or write a comment by tapping on the speech bubble. Always be positive and kind and don’t advertise your own profile here. You can react to stories with your own photos or videos to show the Instagrammer how much you liked his contribution.
Send and receive messages
In the upper right-hand corner, there is a small paper flyer icon that leads you to the direct messaging. Here you can communicate with your friends and other Instagrammers. The more followers you have, the more likely you will be contacted here by companies that want to offer you a cooperation.
Decide who can see your content
If you don’t want everyone to see your photos, you have the option to set your profile to private. This means that only people allowed by you can see your posts. Also, anyone who wants to follow you must first send a request. Only after you have confirmed this request can they view your profile.
Add close friends
Alternatively, you can create a list of close friends. This gives you the opportunity to share your stories either with all followers or a small group of selected people without having to set your profile to private. To add people to this list, tap “Close friends” in the top right-hand menu on your profile. You can then view the list of close friends and add or remove people from the list at any time.
Conclusion: How does Instagram actually work?
As you can see, the question on how Instagram works is not so easy to answer. Although Instagram is easy to set up and use, there are many things you need to keep in mind and learn about. How you use Instagram for yourself ultimately depends on which goals you are pursuing. Do you want to make money with Instagram or just follow your stars and share fun photos with your friends?