Instagram is the second largest social network site and app, according to the most recent data AdWeek has compiled. Facebook, of course, comes in first with over 1.5 billion users. But Facebook-owned Instagram comes in second (although a distant second) with 400 million users. Snapchat is third, followed by Twitter. But let’s get back to Instagram. The service went from obscure iOS app to the must have tool for tweens and people obsessed with sharing lunch pics to a social media network that is now in the mainstream. Chances are more and more of your friends are on Instagram today than even just six months ago.
And like a lot of big technology things, Instagram is now owned by Facebook. The social network bought the tech start-up a few years back for $1 billion and has been expanding its footprint ever since. Facebook now owns quite a lot of tech real estate — WhatsApp and Instagram — and it has been trying to snap up Snapchat for quite some time too.
This means that a large chunk of internet traffic is done inside Facebook’s wider ecosystem. Think about it: how many hours a day do you spend on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp? Quite a few, I’m sure. And this is why many people have said Facebook is eating the internet, because no matter where you go, chances are, you will cross paths with something Zuckerberg owns at some point in your travels. Not bad for a company that is only just 11 years old.
But what about you? Do you want to be an Instagram king or queen? We’ve scoured the internet to find the best tips and tricks to kick your Instagram skills into overdrive. Here’s what we’ve found:
Send pics to only select people
This tip comes from Hongkiat and is something many users don’t know Instagram is capable of. Using the Direct feature of Instagram you can send pics to only people of your choosing (up to 15 of them, anyway). “To use Instagram Direct, choose Direct when you’re at the ‘Share To’ page,” the site says “It’s located at the top next to ‘Followers’. Then select your recipients by tapping the circle next to their names or by typing their names in the ‘To’ space. Finish off by hitting Send. To view your messages, go to the tray icon at the top right of your home page.”
View your photos on a map
This is one of my favorite features of Instagram. The app allows you to view a map full of the locations where all your pics were taken (that is, provided your enabled location services and geolocation for the pics). To view your Instagram snaps on a map go to your profile and tap the map icon (it look like an upside-down guitar pick).
User popular hashtags to attract more followers
If you’re an Instagram user who wants to have a massive following, you’re going to need to attract people. To do that, you usually need to be a popular star, brand, or very pretty girl. However, you can also leverage the use of popular hashtags to get more followers. A simple Google search for “popular Instagram hashtags” will let you know what’s currently trending. Just only use the hashtags that are appropriate to your picture, however.
Make your account private
But perhaps you aren’t a person who wants the whole world following you. Did you know you can make your Instagram profile private? This ensures that only people you choose can view your stream, because you need to approve them when they request to follow you. To make your Instagram account private go to your profile, tap on settings, and then enable Private Account.
Change the layout of photos
Did you know you can change the layout of photos in Instagram? Well, you can, as Pocket Lint points out: “Layout not only lets you easily combine multiple photos into a single image, but also create one-of-a-kind layouts by remixing your photos. When uploading from your Library, you’ll see the Layout app symbol in the far right of the bottom of the image. Tap it and you can continue selecting images, followed by the layout you want.”
Create hyper lapses and Boomerangs
Instagram actually makes a few third party apps that allow you to upload short movies and GIFs to your stream. The first app is called Hyperlapse and lets you record time-lapse photography from your iPhone. It also has other tools that smooth out shaky video. When you’re done, use the app to upload to your Instagram feed directly.
Their second app is called Boomerang, and allows you to record, edit, and share mini video clips right on Instagram.
Embed your Instagram pics on the web
Instagram has a great app but only a rudimentary website that not many people visit in their desktop browsers. So what happens if you want people to view your Instagram pics on the web? The best thing to do is just embed them on your personal website. To do this go to www.instagram.com and log into your account. Click on the pic you want to embed then click on the three . . . button, then click embed and copy and paste the HTML code into your website.
Tag people in your pics
Oddly, not a lot of people know you can tag your friends in your Instagram pics. Tagging someone means your pic will show up in their profile feed—and it also lets them know you’ve shared an image with them in it. To tag someone when you’re uploading a new picture, tap on the person you want to tag and then enter their Instagram username or their real name.