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Under the Bonnet: How Instagram Works

Since Instagram debuted in 2010, it has consistently gained the prestigious title of the world’s fastest growing social network. Now owned by Facebook, Instagram’s key attraction is within its ability to engage on a personal level and turn otherwise bland, uninspiring images into pure works of art.

You can access Instagram via a smartphone application, which is free to download on iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices. While there is a web version available, it has limited features.

Instagram allows you to take photos and videos, apply filters (if desired), and then upload them to your profile. Followers may in turn like and comment on individual posts. It really is that simple!

When you publish content on Instagram, it appears on both your personal profile and your followers' newsfeed by default. However, you can also share all/individual posts with selected followers, rather than making them public. When set to public, you can apply hashtags to help boost discovery within the organic search results. The option to link your Facebook and Twitter accounts is also available.

The main differentiating feature of Instagram is the filters. These give you the option to make your snaps look and feel like Kodak or Polaroid photograph. This is where Instagram's real power lies.

To download Instagram to a mobile device visit:

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/instagram/id389801252?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.instagram.android

Windows: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/instagram/9nblggh5l9xt

Anatomy Of An Instagram Post

Unleashing the power of Instagram as a marketing and advertising channel for your brand requires you optimize your profile. Follow these simple tips to showcase your brand in innovative ways that cut across more demographics:

1. Username: A prominent part of your business profile is your username. It’s what your users will type in to find you. Make sure it's recognizable.

2. Make Your Profile Public: To grow your Instagram you must make it as easy as possible for people to find and follow your band.

3. Your Business Name: Make sure you include your full business name to the “name” section in ‘Settings’. This will appear under your profile picture and under your handle in the search results.

4. Biography: Ensure it brings your brand to life in ways that resonate with and attract your audience. Include a link to allow followers to go straight to your website.

5. Profile Photo: Keep your branding front and center with a great image or a stylish rendering of your logo.

6. Bio Hashtag: Incorporate hashtags to enable visitors to tag their photos with it.

7. Hashtags: Just use one and stick with it. Any more detracts from your brand and may confuse your audience.

8. Make It Easy For People To Find You: Ask your followers to tag your images with your selected hashtag, that way anyone searching for that hashtag will view all your images rather than just the one your visitors tagged your brand on.

9. Manage Your Instagram Link: Ensure Google URL Builder can track your success by shortening your long tracking code, tailoring it to fit your brand.

10. Post Attractive, Engaging Content: The more your followers that relate to your content, the greater their affinity with your brand will be, and the more followers you will attract.

11. Change Your URL Occasionally: This will direct your Instagram followers to new products or services, ramping up engagement levels with your audience.

12. Use Your Location Feature: Integrate a call to action on your Instagram account by dropping in your location under your brand name.

13. Customize Your Posts and Make Them Count: Use filters, tags, links and hashtags to make your images and videos easier to find. Ensure every image or video you post to your account reflect your style guidelines to provide a consistent brand experience.

The images and videos you post on Instagram contribute to your overall brand experience. Ensure everything brings your company values to life and resonates with your brand’s promise.