If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve probably got an iPhone. That’s because Instagram is the popular social networking/photo-sharing app that’s only available on the iPhone… so far. (An Android version has been promised, but has not been released yet.) Then again, maybe you’re just curious.
There are many photo-sharing apps that are fun, like PicPlz, Hipster, and others, but Instagram has really taken off. Described as a cross between Flickr and Twitter, it’s surprisingly simple: just shoot, edit, and share.
So far, Instagram doesn’t have much of a website, other than a link to download the app. But there are some third-party tools that add functionality, such as Followgram (your own vanity Instagram URL and photo feed) and Statigram (a web viewer for statistics).
Instagram’s built-in effects can make otherwise mediocre shots turn out surprisingly good. Just crop your shot (square format), then add a filter or leave it “normal.” You can also choose to share your Instagram photos with friends on Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Posterous, Tumblr, and Twitter. It’s fascinating to see what other people around the world are photographing and to see what people respond to.
So how do you build up followers and likes on Instagram?
First of all, take decent photos. (Of course, that subject could be a whole series of posts.) Whatever you’re into, make it look interesting. Sometime close-up views of otherwise ordinary everyday items or places can be fascinating when viewed out of context.
Next, apply some of the same principles you’d use to build a following on Twitter, like following and engaging with other people.
Here are three simple tips to getting more followers, likes and comments on your Instagram photos:
Three Simple Tips for Getting More Likes on Instagram
- Follow friends and people whose photos you like.
- Like and comment on other’s photos.
- Use hashtags (#) to help people find your photos.
That third tips is very effective. Say you take pictures of sunsets. Look at the tags that other people are adding to their sunset photos: #sunset #clouds #sky #cloudporn #nature, etc. You can always make up your own hashtags, too. Then, add tags regarding the location and other relevant details.
If you Tweet or post your photos to Facebook or elsewhere and you don’t want to clutter up your caption with tags, just publish your Instagram photo without tags, or maybe just one or two. Then add hashtags later in a comment to your own photo. (You can always go back and add tags to older photos that didn’t get the attention you feel they deserved.)
Don’t be shy about using some generic tags. For instance, #iphone, #iphoneonly #nofilter (if you didn’t add effects), #iphoneography, #instagram and others will also help people find you. If your photos are any good at all, adding a few hashtags to your shots will result in some immediate likes.
When you get comments, reply and thank people directly by using the @ symbol, followed by their Instagram handle. Name options will appear as soon as you type in the @.
One thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to include all the little symbols for thumbs up, smiley faces and the like. Clue me in if you know how to do this.
Please follow me on Instagram and share your Instagram handle in the comments below so I can follow you. Happy shooting!