5 Ways People Are Using Instagram

Techniques that have taken over the app

Instagram has been around since 2010, and the way people are using the popular photo-sharing app these days is quite different compared to how it was being used just a few years ago.

Of course, some of the trends that Instagram is best known for have stayed relatively the same -- like the abundance of selfies, countless sunset photos and extreme hashtag abuse. But how many photos in your feed still include Instagram filters and borders nowadays? Probably not as many as when the app was still new.

Here are five new and unique ways Instagram users are posting content and interacting with their followers. 

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Professionally Edited Photo-sharing

Tom And Steve/Getty Images

In the beginning, Instagram was all about capturing moments in real-time. A lot of people still use it that way, but if you head on over to the Explore tab to check out the most popular Instagram photos being shared, you'll notice that a lot of them are high resolution photos (without filters) that were most likely taken with a good quality camera, and possibly edited too.

Instagram has become much more than a platform for sharing what's happening in the moment. It's become a place to publicly share the absolute best photos possible -- professionally captured and edited. 

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Professionally Edited Video-sharing

Video recorder
Erin Patrice O'Brien/Getty Images

Video hasn't been around for long on Instagram, but it's already huge. You can pack a lot into just 15 seconds of video, especially since Instagram introduced the ability to upload pre-recorded videos.

The pre-recorded video upload feature has opened up new doors for people and businesses to film videos using a real camera, edit it on a computer and then post it later to Instagram. There are also countless video editor apps you can get on mobile devices that help you showcase numerous clips in a professional style and even add all sorts of fancy effects.

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Business Brand-building

Starbucks Franchise Value
Starbucks possesses considerable franchise value, allowing it to generate superior returns for shareholders over the past few couple of decades. Getty Images News

Teens and young people in general are often the first ones to start using a cool new social network. Once it starts to catch on a bit, everyone else starts joining, and then before you know it, every single major corporation has created an account in an effort to stay relevant on the web and grab more eyeballs.

There are tons of businesses now on Instagram. For a social network that thrives on visual content, it offers a great opportunity for businesses to show off their logos, product lines, current event snapshots, storefront locations and whatever else that can generate likes and comments from followers.

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Promotional Contests

Soccer fans watching match together at pub
PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou / Getty Images

Following the business brand-building trend, a lot of those businesses (and even some individuals too) often launch contests on Instagram to generate more buzz about their offering, drive up interaction and reach more potential followers or customers.

Business accounts will sometimes offer a chance to win something for free if users agree to take some kind of participating promotional action, like follow them on certain social media sites, tag a friend, re-post the offer on users' own Instagram accounts and so on. Instagram contests help businesses go viral and keep their current followers interested in following them.

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mouth shouting with copy space
Tara Moore / Getty Images

This last big Instagram trend is similar to the followback/follow 4 follow trend often seen on Twitter, or the sub 4 sub trend on YouTube. Two Instagram users basically agree to give one another a shoutout post on their own accounts, usually featuring a photo (or video) from the other user's photo feed with instructions in the caption to go and follow that user.

For some of the biggest Instagram accounts that have hundreds of thousands of followers, shoutouts have been a huge part of their growth strategy. By getting featured on another account, users can instantly gain tons of new followers in a matter of seconds.