Getting Started: Instagram Basics

This post is for those of you starting your account from scratch. I’ll walk you through how to choose a username, post photos and videos, share Stories, and add highlights.

If you’re already familiar with Instagram you can probably skip this section!

1 – Choose your account name or handle 

Once you’ve downloaded the app, it’s time to choose your username. There are a few different options for you as you determine what your name or “handle” will be.

You want it to be: 

  • Easy to remember and spell
  • On brand with your business
  • Something that will help build a connection to YOU or your business 

Obviously, you want to use your business name. Just keep in mind that short, sweet, and easy to spell are the three best ways (you’ll also have a bio section that can help tell people about what you do or who you serve!)

It’s also wise to secure accounts with the same handle over all social media platforms to create consistency! So if you can, secure your username on: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat and Periscope, even if you aren’t sure if you will lose them! It’s better to own them and have them than to realize you’re too late. 

2 – Choose your profile photo 

Choose a photo of your logo or a graphic element for your brand. I also recommend using this same bio photo on all platforms to create consistency and recognition! 

3 – Create your bio and choose your URL! 

Make sure you think about your direct goal in how you want to guide your followers through an experience whether it is directing them to your website, blog, or online shop!

You’ll want to make sure to tell people a little bit about you and your business and include a weblink so they can accept your invite to continue to follow you on more platforms or become a customer of yours! You can use your bio to create a “call to action” or to direct your followers to something off of your account (but don’t stress, I’ll walk you through how to do this in an inviting way!) 

How do I post a photo?

To upload a photo or take a new one, first tap + at the bottom of the screen:

  • To upload a photo from your phone’s library, tap Library (iOS) or Gallery (Android) at the bottom of the screen and select the photo you’d like to share.
  • To take a new photo, tap Photo at the bottom of the screen then tap . You can tap  to switch between front and rear-facing cameras and  to adjust flash.

Once you’ve taken or uploaded a photo, you can add effects or filters, a caption and your location before posting. You can also post a video.

How do I share a photo or video to my Instagram story?

Tap the camera icon in the top left of your screen or swipe right from anywhere in Feed.

Tap the circle at the bottom of the screen to take a photo, or tap and hold to record a video.

To choose a photo or video from your phone’s library or gallery, swipe up anywhere on the screen.

Tap the pen, Aa or smiley face to draw, add text or a sticker to your photo or video. To remove text or a sticker, drag and drop it on the trash icon at the bottom of the screen.

When you’re ready to share, tap Your Story in the bottom left.

Note: Stories disappear from your profile, Feed and Direct inbox after 24 hours, unless you add them to your profile as highlights.

How do I add a story to my Story Highlights?

You can add stories to appear on your profile as highlights, even after they disappear. Highlights appear below your profile photo.

To add a story to a highlight:

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Tap + . If you don’t see +, tap Story Highlights.
  3. Tap to select the story or stories you want to add to highlights, then tap Next.
  4. Choose a cover photo and enter a story name for your highlight, then tap Add (iPhone) or Done(Android). You can add more photos or videos to your highlight at any time by tapping and holding on the highlight and then tapping Edit Highlight.

Note: Stories you add as highlights remain visible as highlights until you remove them, even after the original story has disappeared. Keep in mind that those you’ve allowed to see your story can also see your highlights. 

If you need more help using the basics of Instagram I suggest checking out Instagram’s Help Center here.