Welcome to our newest series: Instagram 101! Starting an Instagram account for either yourself or your dog is fun and exciting. Instagram has a lot to offer people looking to connect with like-minded people worldwide.
What is Instagram?
Some of you that have landed here may already know what Instagram is and (thankfully) follow our Benebone Instagram account. If you are new to Instagram, welcome aboard! In short, Instagram is a photo sharing social media platform. Much like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram allows you connect with people around the world. While each platform may vary, Instagram is heavily focused on photographs and visuals. In fact, you can’t even post to Instagram without posting a visual of some sort.
What to Post?
This is the great debate. Should you post photographs? Videos? A combination of both? You will have to figure out what’s best for your audience through some trial and error. It’s always easiest to start with visually pleasing photographs, as it is probably the easiest to capture and work your way up to videos. Videos tend to bring more engagement with audiences on Instagram, but a good mixture is key to a great looking home feed (your overall Instagram page).
How Often Should I Post?
This question is harder to answer than most, as the answer is ever changing. When Facebook acquired Instagram, it brought along a complex algorithm with it. Quickly, Instagram changed from a chronological-based feed to a user-based feed. What’s this mean for you? It means that you have to work harder to have your posts seen by not only your followers, but any new potential followers as well.
There are many theories about the best time to post. For us, we post at least once a day, everyday. In order for your account to stay relevant in Instagram’s eyes, you should stay active. If you have the time to post twice a day, that could certainly help your engagement levels on your daily posts. However, be mindful about posting too much. If you’re posting multiple times a day, that can be off putting to your followers and you may see a quick decrease in your following. Posting can be a balancing act at times, but you’d be surprised at how quickly you find a rhyme that works for you.
Quality of Posts!
It is true that professional photographs taken with an expensive DSLR camera and lens kit do well. But what if you don’t have that level of equipment or are not a professional photographer? Don’t let that keep you from having fun on Instagram.
There are many creators that use nothing but the camera on their phone. The key is to capture clear, sharp images. It may take many attempts, but even creators using a DSLR camera go through just as many takes as camera phone users.
In addition to clear images, a thought-out caption is key! Decide before you post if you want your account to be funny, serious, informative or whimsical. There is no right or wrong, but you should stay consistent. Audiences should have a basic idea of what to expect from your account. A good example is @dogswhobrunch. As you can see from their feed, some photographs shared are taken with a DSLR camera and some are quick camera phone takes. But, what they all have in common is a consistent theme of dogs that like brunch.
How to Post!
Now that you have a basic understanding of what Instagram is, it’s time to post! Since Instagram is a mobile app platform, you will need to download the app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Instagram is a free app. The only time you will have to pay anything is if you decide to promote a post, which we will get into on a later blog post.
Once downloaded, open the app and create an account. All you need is your email address (or phone number) and a username. (Tip: Create an easy to remember username. If you attend a dog event and exchange Instagram handles with another dog parent, you want them to be able to find your account and give you a follow. If your username contains a lot of numbers or underscores, they may not be able to find you.) After you’ve entered your information and hit “next” and voila, your account is created and you are ready to post!
Next, you will want to edit your profile. This is what people will see when they visit your page, so be mindful about the information you share. You can opt to make your profile private in the settings section of your account. When set to private, the only people that can see your posts are the accounts you have approved to follow you. If your account is set to public, anyone and everyone has the ability to view your posts. To edit your bio, simply go to your home page, bottom right icon in the app. At the top, you will see a button “edit profile”. From here, Instagram will walk you through the information you can list.
So Now You’re Ready to Post?!
Posting is easy and fun. Tap the + icon at the bottom of the app. This will open to your phone’s camera gallery.
You have the option of posting a photo or video that you have already taken or you can take one on the spot and post immediately.
Once you’ve decided on the photo or video you are going to post, tap the “Next” button, which takes you to the editing process of Instagram. Here, you can adjust, add filters, etc. to edit your photos. If you are uploading a video to Instagram, your editing options will be trimming the length of your video and picking a cover photo for your video. Once finished editing, click “Next” in the upper righthand corner.
Your next step will be to add your caption. This is also where you can add your location and tag other Instagram accounts on your photos. Tagging accounts is visible to your followers. This is a good way to share where you are, any clothes that your dog may be wearing, etc.
Once you’ve added your caption and added your optional location and/or tags, tap the “Share” button and watch your post go live! While it may seem like a lot of steps to add a post, once you become familiar with the process, it will be like second nature and only take you a few minutes to post.
Throughout our Instagram 101 Series, we will be talking all things engagement, stories, increasing your following and more! If there’s anything, in particular, you’d like to see us cover, please let us know in the comments below. And, please, be sure to give our social media accounts a follow: we are on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!
Feature Image: @sebastianlovesluna