Instagram Tips and Tricks

Instagram is an awesome social network for sharing photos. It is the most widely used and now that everyone of every demographic has a smart phone; there are hundreds of millions of users. Here are some specific tips that you may or may not have known about that can make your experience with the app even more enjoyable.

Get Noticed on Instagram

Instagram is an amazing way to gain an audience for social media. There are many ways of building your audience. The best way to gain followers and build an audience is by getting featured on Instagram’s suggested user list. Once you make this list, you will be shown to the world for approximately 2 weeks. Within these 2 weeks you will gain tens of thousands of followers within these couple of weeks. Most of them are “ghost” followers or spam accounts, but you will also gain the organic crowd who will follow you because they truly enjoy your work. Getting featured by Instagram is not an easy task but to do so; stay focused on having your feed be consistent. Post your best work, engage with your audience. Your audience will then recommend you and if Instagram sees fit, will get on the suggested users list.

Manage Your Private and Public Accounts

There was a time in Instagram’s early beginnings where the app only let you use one, single account. You can start another account, but to access it, you would have to log out of your current account and then log into your other account. For example, I have an account made for my family where I share photos of my children. I have another account that I use to show miscellaneous photos; you know, food, pets, weird findings, my everyday life. Then I have my main account where I share only my personal work and sometimes my client work. As you can see it gets very tedious to go into each one account if you have to log in and log out every single time. Recently Instagram gave us the opportunity to manage multiple accounts and make it easier for all of us. You can have up to five accounts at a time now and for most, this is all you need.  To add your accounts, go to your profile page and tap the icon and three dots in the upper right. Find the “Add Account” by scrolling down. Once you have added your accounts (you can also start a new account) you can now access it without having to log in and out.

There will be a drop down menu at the top on your main Instagram page. Click on this drop down and your accounts will then show and you can choose which account to switch to.

#Hashtag #Hashtag #Hashtag

Hashtags are a great way to find photos, find new people to follow/ gain new followers, and to share images to a collective subject. Finding these tags (and finding the right ones) help you connect with a larger audience with the same interests on Instagram. The key though is using and looking up the right hashtag. For example, let’s say you have a family reunion. You will then have many photos with your family that you are going to share on Instagram. But you are not the only one. Your cousin from Texas will also have quite a bit of photos; your aunty from Upstate New York will also want to share her photos. What is the best way to share and to see them like an album? Use a specific hashtag. First off, check to make sure that the hashtag you and your family are going to use is not already created.  You can seach for it by typing in that hashtag in the Instagram search feature. If it is in use, create another tag. If it is available, then pass the word to your family. Let’s use my name for instance.

The family can now share all of their photos using one hashtag - #PuetFamilyAugust2016. Now my family can find all the photos from that specific event.

Find More Accounts to Follow

You can look up hashtags and spend most of your day doing this (trust me, I have done this.) Along with searching hashtags, you can go check out the Instagram’s Activity page. This page is where you can see who from your audience has “liked” your posts, when someone has tagged you, or what the folks you follow “like.” This is an awesome way of seeing many more images and based on what the folks you follow enjoy.  I truly think that this is one of the more enjoyable things of the app, just a notch below my actual feed of folks I follow.  The Activity page also helps me find new people, see new images, and give me the opportunity to see through the eyes of the people I follow.

Don’t Miss Your Favorite Instagramers Post

If you follow a lot of Instagramers and you yourself have a lot of followers, making sure you keep updated can be a daunting task. There is a really high chance that you will miss many, many posts. Instagram states that users only see a small percentage of posts based on their data findings. This is what happens when you blow up, Instagram. They know this and have stated that they are going to keep working on their algorithms. Whether or not it will help, we will wait and see. For now, there are ways to not miss your favorite Instagramers. If you wanted to make sure that you will see any and all of Justin Timberlake’s posts, then all you have to do is go to their profile page, hit the three-dot icon in the upper right and select the “Turn on Post.” There you go. Now you will be notified whenever Justin Timberlake posts onto Instagram. Don’t mention it. You are welcome. 

Check Out Your Instagram on a Desktop

Instagram started out as a mobile only platform. After testing and conducting focus groups, Instagram headquarters figured out that the basic features of the app can and should be on a larger screen, on your desktop, and out onto the world wide web. The web feature is a viewer friendly version of the mobile app.  You will not be able to upload via the web edition. You can search and follow people, and edit your account and profile information on the web edition. To start using Instagram on the web, log into your account on

Remove Yourself from Tagged Photos

Let’s say you were out at a family reunion and the majority of your cousins are avid users of Instagram. Obviously you will be taking quite a bit of photos with your beloved family members. These photos will be put up on social media sites and onto Instagram for sure! These photos will show up in the “Photos of You” section on your profile page. As you come across these tagged photos of yourself that you may not like (for whatever reason), you can choose to hide them.  To remove a photo that you have been tagged, tap on that photo and you will see your Instagram screen name. Tap your handle and a menu will appear.  From that menu select “Hide from My Profile or Remove from Photo. Voila! The embarrassing photo will no longer have you tagged.

Send Your Cousin a Direct Message

So now that you have removed the tag on that photo, you may want to let your cousin know that you have removed yourself.  On your main Instagram account page you will see an icon at the top right. Tap that icon and you will be taken to the Direct Message menu. Here is where you will find and send your private messages with other Instagramers. Even though Instagram is a photo sharing app, remember that it is first and foremost a social network. This messaging function is pretty standard across social networks and Instagram is definitely that. So notes, photos, or videos that you do not want to have the public see – Instagram has that feature for you. So let’s start. To start a new message, hit the cross icon at the top-right of the menu, choose “Send Photo or Video” or “Send Message.” Ta-Da! Private message are ready to go and be sent.

Instagram’s App Family

Instagram has three other apps to help you post cool stuff on the your account. You can access these apps within Instagram (provided you have downloaded onto your phone already). When you post to Instagram, you will notice that there are two icons at the bottom right corner. One is an infinite loop and another that looks like a cube. The infinite loop is Instagram’s Boomerang (iOS Android) app. The cube; Instagram’s Layout (iOS Android) app. You can use these apps from within Instagram once you downloaded them. Each app is very different. The Boomerang app takes a burst of photos which are combined to play forward and backward, like an animated GIF. The composite is saved in your camera roll and you can share to Instagram or to Facebook. These “boomerangs” are pretty cool as it helps in making your feed look lively.

Layout is a collage or diptic app. These types of apps help you put multiple photos into a single image. You can choose the actual layout of the image and within each layout you can place different images that you can reposition and resize. Layout helps create collage images to help you share your visual story. For instance, let’s go back to your family reunion. Instead of bombarding your feed with multiple images at a time, you can share multiple images in one post. Your audience will appreciate that for sure and will also love the fact that they can still see the event in multiple images.

Lastly, Hyperlapse for iOS users helps you create time lapse videos for your Instagram page. YOU can shoot these time lapse videos, set the speed (slow = 1x, super-fast 12x), and then share to Instagram or Facebook. So I have mentioned Facebook a few times. Instagram has three younger siblings. The parent of these guys, is Facebook.

Once you have downloaded these apps, play around with them and see how creative you can get. They work seamlessly together but they can also be used as independent apps.