Getting to Know Instagram

I have to admit it. I was a little slow at getting on board with the whole Instagram thing. But with over 700 Million users and over 1.2 billion likes on Instagram daily, it’s kind of hard to ignore it. After I had warmed up to Instagram, it was fun getting to know all the aspects of it.

Instagram is about telling stories through pictures. You don’t want to just throw any picture on it and call it good. You want to try and make your photos as professional as possible. I’m now saying that you need to go and get yourself an expensive camera to get the job done. Your smartphone can do the job just fine. 

Basic Smartphone Camera Tips

Here are some basic smartphone camera principles to help find your visual sweet spot:

  • Take many photos of the same subject (this means shooting outside of the Instagram app) to make sure you get the perfect shot.
  • Follow the light and always aim to take pictures in indirect natural daylight if possible, or during the golden or blue hours. Be sure to be aware of shadows and unintentional reflections that can appear in your images, such as those from your phone. The unwanted reflections can distract from the main subject and take away from the picture quality.
  • Make sure you edit your photo tastefully, and please try not to overdo it with the filters. There are many options for editing your photos. Some of them can mean the difference between an amateur and a professional result.
  • Find a visual style and stick to it. You want to make sure you have consistency in your images. Having consistency makes for an overall cohesion when your feed is viewed as a whole. It is something that lends to your credibility while also being visually pleasing to the viewers.

To go along with the awesome photos that you just took, make sure you have relevant hashtags and captions. If you are new to using social media, you may not know what hashtags are. A hashtag is a word or phrase comprised of letters, numbers, and/or emoji preceded by a #. A hashtag was once referred to as the pound or number symbol (#).

Instagram uses these hashtags to categorize the pictures into different groups. If you click on a hashtag, you can see other images that are similar. Make sure that you do not misuse the hashtags though. If Instagram deems that you have been misusing them, they will place a shadowban on your account. When your account has been shadowbanned, your images will not show up in any of the hashtags that you have used. So it is in your best interest to make sure that you research your hashtags. Be sure to only use ones relevant to your images and audience.

How many hashtags to use?

There are some contradictions in the social media marketing field on how many hashtags you should use. Some say to use all 30 hashtags, and others say to use 4-14 hashtags. The problem with always using 30 hashtags is that you could start getting the wrong kind of followers (like spammers). You could also dilute the message that you are trying to get across to your audience. You may want to also use most of your hashtags in your first comment. This way it doesn’t get in the way of the caption and make it look too busy.

You will also want to be sure to interact with your audience. Interacting with your audience is a great way to provide customer support. You can do this even if the customer isn’t aware that your business is listening. Marketing and branding are about building relationships with your audience. If you are just posting pictures and ignoring the rest of it, you are not getting the full benefit of Instagram. Follow other relevant users and share their content. This is an excellent way to show them that they are appreciated.

Instagram insights/ analytics

Instagram insights/ analytics is a good way to see how your posts are doing. It provides information about impressions for each post. You will also find the reach, engagement, and top-performing posts. You can also get key demographic information about your followers. This includes their gender, age, and location.

Be sure to review the Instagram insights on a regular basis. This will help you to determine what areas you need to work on. It will also show you what hashtags are working better for you, and will allow you to adjust your strategy.

Instagram is a relatively easy and fun platform once you get the hang of it. Be sure to watch out for more posts on Instagram in the future!


Shanna is the 2nd half of Forestandshanna. Like Forest, Shanna loves to travel and see new places. They love to go camping, hiking, and traveling.

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