Requesting, adding, posting, updating, commenting, unfriending, following, hashtagging, aaah! What does it all mean..

If you’re a late social media bloomer, the whole process of “signing up” can be a bit daunting. Sometimes it can seem like everyone else on the planet is using words like “Instagram”, “tagging”, “liking” and “sharing” as part of everyday speech, while you’re drowning in this sea of social media jargon.

Don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing! I promise this won’t hurt.

Maybe you just never got around to signing up, maybe you want to stick it to the mainstream man, or maybe you just don’t get this whole social media thing and thought it was a phase that would blow over (don’t worry, so did Mark Zuckerberg). Whatever the reason, I’ll give you some ideas of how to sign up to Instagram, how to use it, and some funky ideas of what to do with your account once you’re in. For most purposes, this article focuses on Instagram for iOS and Android devices which means iPhones, iPads and most other tablets and smartphones.

Signing up to new social platforms can be daunting, but I’ll make this as simple, clear and fun as possible. By the time you finish reading this, you’ll be liking, sharing and hashtagging like a pro.

Now, let’s start by taking our first few steps.

Download Instagram 

To start, open the App Store on your iOS device (iPhone or iPad) or the media manager on your Android device (this will most likely be Google Play), search for “Instagram” and download it for free by pressing the “Download” button.

Register

Once the App has finished installing, tap the Instagram icon to open it. Follow the prompts to enter your details and create an account, then press “Done”. You can use anything as your username, even FunkyLoveBunny or JuicyFruitMambo if it’s not already taken, so be adventurous. JohnSmith and SarahJones are probably not available, and that’s probably for the best – this is a little piece of your personality being published for your friends to see, after all.

Once you’re in:

Well now that you’re here, let’s see what you can do to make your account even more usable, flexible, fun and funky.

 

Connect and Explore

Trying to find someone to connect with. Connect with us by typing PosterCandy in the search bar.

Once you’ve completed your Instagram sign up, don’t be afraid to play around with the buttons, nothing will detonate. In fact, it’s all pretty straight forward. You can connect with your friends by searching for their usernames in the “Explore” option (this is the funny little icon to the left of the camera icon, the one which looks like it might actually be a “detonate” button).

Once you’ve found your friends, just double tap any of their photos to “like” them. You can also search for organisations you like, or actors, musicians, comedians, magazines, artists, major events – try your luck and see who you find. Instagram is far-reaching and fast-growing, you will find most likely find who you’re looking for and you will undoubtedly come across other users you hadn’t even thought to follow. I love to follow magazines because, let’s face it, you only ever flick through to the pictures in magazines anyway, and with Instagram it’s free!

Hashtags are another great way to explore images, especially if you’re looking for inspiration. This is also located in the “detonate”, oh, I mean “Explore” option.

You can search for a hashtag for just about anything that’s on your mind and you’re guaranteed to find it, be it #babies, #baking, #pinkflamingos, #curlybananas or even #dancingontables – it’s all there!

Not surprisingly, the most popular hashtag on Instagram is #love, but there are also many other well established tags that you will get the hang of using. A few of these include #babiesofinstagram, #catsofinstagram and many other #“thingsofinstagram”. You can find a fairly inclusive list of what’s hot in hashtags at webstagram.

 

Get Sharing with your Friends

To share your own special moments with people who “follow” you on Instagram, follow these simple steps:

1. Tap the blue camera icon to get snapping and take a photo.

 

2. Choose from a variety of preset “filters” to enhance your photo. You can view your photo with all of the filters before deciding which one to apply.

 

After you upload a few photos, you’ll start to get the hang of how different filters lend different moods to your photos. “Toaster” and “1977” are great for daytime vintage looks, for example.

My favourites, Lo-fi and X-Pro II give a sharper, warmer feel. Give it a few posts and you will likely find you have favourites you tend to go back to as well.

 

 

3. Add a description about your photo and add hashtags so that other users searching for #kitchen, for example, will see your photo.

Once you tap “Share”, your photo will be viewable by your followers and will appear on your Instagram profile page.

 

 

4. Finally once you’re happy with your choice, tap “Share” in the top right hand corner to share your special moment with your friends, followers and anyone else searching for your selected hastags.

 

And that’s it! Instagram in a nutshell. Now it’s up to you explore, like, add, post, and do all those things that seemed so scary 5 minutes ago. And don’t forget to make it creative, original and personal. Enjoy.