5 Ways People Are Using Instagram

It's not just for selfies anymore

Instagram has been around since 2010, and as the app has grown in popularity, both individual and business users have found new ways to take advantage of the social media platform.

Of course, there will always be selfies, sunset photos, and extreme hashtag abuse, but here are five popular ways Instagram users are now interacting with their followers, posting content, and finding their artistic side.

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Professionally Edited Photo Sharing

Two women at the beach together in professionally edited photo for Instagram
Fran Polito / Getty Images

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, often professionally captured and edited. 

Go to Instagram's Explore tab to check out the most popular Instagram photos being shared. Many are high-resolution photos, without filters, that were likely taken with a good quality camera and edited professionally.

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Professionally Edited Video Sharing

Video recording dancers for a professionally edited Instagram video post

Erin Patrice O'Brien / Getty Images

Video is a relatively new feature on Instagram, but it's widely used and hugely popular. Upload pre-recorded 15-second videos, as well as live video.

The pre-recorded video-upload feature allows individuals 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 for mobile devices that showcase numerous clips in a professional style and even add all sorts of fancy effects.

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Business Brand-Building

Screenshot of Instagram post featuring a Starbucks promotion

Young people are often the first to start using a new social network. Once it starts to catch on a bit, everyone else joins in. Businesses are now taking advantage of Instagram's reach and power so they can stay relevant on the web and grab more eyeballs.

Instagram offers businesses a great 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

Screenshot of 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 offering, drive up interaction, and reach more potential customers.

Business accounts will sometimes offer the chance to win something for free if users agree to take some kind of action, such as following them on certain social media sites, tagging a friend, and reposting content. Instagram contests help businesses go viral and keep their current followers engaged.

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Shoutouts

mouth shouting with copy space depicting getting Instagram shoutouts
Tara Moore / Getty Images

An Instagram shoutout is just what it sounds like. It's basically a public plug or endorsement you can get from another user. Shoutout posts often involve photos or videos from the account they're shouting out. This is one of the fastest and most effective ways to build followers on Instagram.

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