5 Ways People Are Using Instagram

It's not just for selfies anymore

Instagram has been around since 2010. As it's grown in popularity, both individual and business users have found new ways to take advantage of the social media platform outside of the usual selfies, sunset photos, and hashtags. Here are five popular ways Instagram users interact with their followers, post content, and find their artistic side.

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Professionally Edited Photo Sharing

Two friends at the beach together
Fran Polito / Getty Images

Instagram is more than a platform for sharing what's happening at the moment. It's a place to publicly share the best photos possible, often professionally captured and edited.

Go to the Instagram Explore tab to check out the most popular photos being shared. Many are high-resolution, lack filters, and were likely taken with a good quality camera and edited professionally.

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Professionally Edited Video Sharing

Video recorder screen showing dancers

Erin Patrice O'Brien / Getty Images

Video is widely used and very popular on Instagram. You can upload pre-recorded 15-second videos, as well as live video.

The pre-recorded video upload feature allows individuals and businesses to film clips using a real camera, edit them on a computer, and then post those videos later to Instagram. There are also countless video editor apps for mobile devices that showcase numerous clips in a professional style and add fancy effects.

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Instagram post featuring a Starbucks promotion

Businesses take advantage of Instagram's reach and power to stay relevant on the web and grab more views.

Instagram offers businesses an opportunity to show off their logos, product lines, current event snapshots, storefront locations, and anything that generates likes and comments from followers.

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Promotional Contests

Instagram contest example asking users to tag photos

Following the brand-building trend, many businesses launch contests on Instagram to generate more buzz about their offerings, drive up interaction, and reach more potential customers.

Business accounts sometimes offer the chance to win something for free if users agree to take some action. These actions may include following them on certain social media sites, tagging a friend, and reposting content.

Instagram contests help businesses go viral and keep followers engaged.

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Mouth shouting with colored triangles flying out of it
Tara Moore / Getty Images

An Instagram shoutout is just what it sounds like. It's a public plug or endorsement you get from another user. Shoutout posts often involve photos or videos from the account they're promoting. It's a fast and effective way to build followers on Instagram.

Some of the biggest Instagram accounts use shoutouts as part of their growth strategy. By getting featured on another account, users can gain new followers in a matter of seconds. 

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