Are you on Instagram? If not why not? It is such a fabulous free tool that every food blogger should be utilising. A simple but effective way to show off all your wonderful recipes and reach out to new people, we really can’t recommend it enough.
Did you know that The Foodies100 index uses Instagram as one of it’s metrics? This is because Instagram is widely used – around 85% of members of all our websites use Instagram – and we know that brands are increasingly interested in how active bloggers are on this photo sharing network.
We know that Instagram is probably one of the most fun social networks. It’s all about sharing photos of everyday moments, whether it’s your children playing, a great piece of scenery, an awesome kitchen creation or just a quirky sign you spotted on the walk to work this morning.
If you’re new to Instagram, though, we’ve put together this quick and easy guide to getting started – all you need is a smartphone (iPhone or Android, or a Windows Phone that’s less than about 18 months old) with a camera.
Step 1: Download the App
First things first. You need to go to your phone provider’s App Store and look for the official Instagram App. On Windows Phone, you can also use an app called 6Tag, which is sometimes a little better than the Windows Instagram app.
Download the app to your smartphone and install it.
Step 2: Set up your Profile
Once you have the app, you need to set up your account, which you can do by registering your email address, or logging in with Facebook.
Choose a memorable user name, ideally one that matches your blog and Twitter ID – having a single social media identity makes it easier for people to find you! You’ll also need to put in your own name, so people can find you by searching for your name, or your user ID.
Next, you can create a profile – add a short bio with a link to your blog(s) and remember to use any keywords that you want people to associate you with – perhaps your blog name, or a topic such as fashion or parenting.
Step 3: Add a profile picture
Your Instagram profile picture needs to be square – ideally 160x160px – and a face usually works better than a logo!
Step 4: Connect your social networks
By default, your Instagram account will share photos to your Instagram feed – but you can also share your pictures directly with Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr and more! To connect your Instagram account to another social network, simply click options (the cog on the upper right side of the screen) then ‘share settings’ and add in the relevant account details. With Facebook, you have the option to share to your timeline or to a page.
Step 5: Take a photo
Taking a photo in Instagram is ridiculously simple. Just click the camera button in the middle of the buttons at the bottom of the screen and a viewfinder appears. You can click on the screen to focus your image, then just click the big round button to take the photo. You can switch to the video icon if you’d like to share a video instead – Instagram videos can be up to 15 seconds long and you push and hold the big round button to film – just take your finger off the button to pause filming if you want to incorporate multiple shots and images (fancy!)
Step 6: Post your Photo
Once you have taken your photo, you will see a selection of editing tools – you can play around with these to your heart’s content – the wrench icon allows you to access brightness, contrast and so on – while there are also a selection of pre-defined filters that will add different effects to your photos. Once you’re happy with the picture, click ‘next’ in the top right corner to proceed to the sharing screen.
On this screen, you should add a caption to your photo – you can add hashtags to help users find your photos. There are thousands of hashtags to explore – some of the most popular for food bloggers are #foodies #foodbloggers #foodporn and #foodoftheday. You can also tag other users by adding their user ID with an @ symbol preceding it.
You may want to tag the location by selecting the ‘add to photo map’ – you can then add the location for your photo – the app will make suggestions based on your location, or you can create your own place name. Adding a location tag is great if you’re in a location other people might be interested in finding or seeing.
Once you’re done, click ‘share’ at the bottom of the app and select which sites you’d like to share your photo with.
Step 7: Get Social
Instagram isn’t just about sharing your photos – don’t forget to follow your friends and anyone else who looks interesting! To find a user on Instagram by name or user ID, from your profile page click the settings cog in the top right corner and select ‘find people to follow’ – from here you can search by name or user ID, or add your Facebook friends who are also on Instagram. It’s also worthwhile looking at who your friends are following, and seeing who is interesting from there.
If you see a photo in your stream that you like, just double-tap the picture with your finger – you’ll see a heart icon appear to confirm you’ve liked the photo. Liking photos is a great way to say ‘hi’ to other Instagrammers, and gain new followers. You can also comment on photos, if you’re replying to someone in particular, you can tag them just as you would on Twitter, by using their user ID with an @ symbol.
Don’t forget to add an Instagram button to your blog, if you’re on WordPress there are lots of plug-ins that will show a gallery of your Instagram photos in your sidebar, linking to your profile. We like Alpine Tile.
Step 8: Follow @Foodies100!