|Image via CNET|
I have been using Instagram on my Samsung Galaxy S3 (Android) smartphone since last fall. I find it extremely enjoyable (and addicting!). To maximize my experience, I have learned a few things along the way. The reason I find it so enjoyable is that I have learned what works for me. I have tailored my Instagram account to include only positive experiences. I feel happy when I use Instagram. It is a very nice community which includes people I know personally, and people I have met online. Here are my tips for a positive Instagram experience for all.
Follow me @angelaggentile
Block - When you don't want to have a certain user view your Instagram account, you can choose to block them.
Comment - People can leave a comment about your photo. Positive comments are really appreciated. Replying to comments is polite and fun. For example, saying "thank you". After all, this is a form of social network.
Emoticons and Symbols - These are little symbols that can be added to your comments, such as :) for happy, ;) for wink, and :-D for really happy!
Followers or Fans - These are people who "Follow" you. It is like someone who becomes your "Friend" on Facebook. You don't necessarily follow them back.
Followings - These are people who you choose to follow. They don't necessarily follow you back.
Gallery - This is what a collection of pictures on an Instagram account is called.
Hashtag - To help fit your photos into proper categories, or to stress a point or highlight something, you can use the "#" symbol underneath the photo. This will draw attention to whoever or whatever you want. For example, if you want a photo of your flower to be entered in a contest or to be featured on someone else's Instagram account, you can use the hashtag, #fav_flowers. They will see your photo and consider it for a future feature.
Likes - When people like your photo, they "double tap" and this makes a small heart in the centre of your photo, and it adds that person, as someone who "liked" your picture. It feels really good when you get a lot of likes on your photos.
Mutual Followers - These are people who follow you and who you follow back. These are the best kinds of followers in my humble opinion!
Private Account - This is an account that is not available for all to see, it is locked so that the only people that can see the gallery are people that the user has allowed access.
Profile - This is the information you give to introduce people to your Instagram account. It's like your coverpage. It includes a photo (usually a picture of yourself), and a few words. Some people like to include where they live, what their gallery is about, or some other saying or rule about their account.
Shout-out - This is where you share other's pictures on your Instagram account to help them get more followers. It is usually customary (and polite) to return the favour. Sometimes people write, "SFS", which means "shout-out for shout-out".
Selfie - This is a photograph that you take of yourself. It is usually a close-up of your face taken at arm's length.
Spam - These are accounts that are designed to lure you in to either go to a website to gain more followers, or to advertise something. They usually follow you, so you go an check out their account and find that they have one or two photos, no followings and lots of followers. It's a good idea to "report as spam" and "block these users". They will never go away, unless you keep your account locked or private. Spam for Spam is where a person "Likes" a whole bunch (or all) of your pictures in your gallery.
Tagging - When you reply to a comment on your photo with another comment, you can use the "@" symbol plus that person's user name to ensure they get a notification that you have replied to them.
Unfollow - The term used when a person decides to not follow someone anymore.
INSTAGRAM TIPS and ETIQUETTE:
1. Post only photos that you have taken. If you choose to post a picture that someone else has taken, give the source or photographer credit. No one likes someone who tries to take credit for other people's work.
2. It is frustrating and disappointing and downright rude when people put in their profile, "I follow back!" or "Follow me and I'll follow you", and they don't do what they say they'll do. I have had to unfollow a few people because of this. It is nice to have a lot of followers, so I guess sometimes people do that so their numbers are high. If you are not going to follow back, don't say that in your profile.
3. Don't follow people only to unfollow them shortly afterwards. This is rude and offensive. I understand how it is so important to have a lot of followers (it makes your ego feel good), but it is a dirty trick to follow them, in hopes of getting them to follow you and unfollow them shortly afterwards.
4. Post at least once daily. Once every two hours is the maximum, in my opinion. If you don't post for a few days, don't go on a blitz and post a whole bunch at a time. Especially if they are all the same thing. This is annoying.
5. Engage with your followers, especially those who like your pictures and comment. Respond to their comments. Return the favour by visiting their galleries. It's fun and you get to know people that way. Sometimes you gain new followers and find some really great Instagram galleries.
6. Don't post too many selfies, unless you are very rich and famous and people want to see more of you. These get a tad boring. A selfie once a month or so is okay in my opinion.
7. Go to the "News" tab that says, "Following" so you can see the activity of those you follow. You can see what pictures they are liking and who they are following. I have often found great accounts to follow this way. There's a big chance that those you follow will also be following people and liking photos that you will enjoy following, too. You can also gain new followers that way.
8. When you see a great photo, and want to comment, try to use more descriptive words. Let them know what it is you like about the photo. Is it the lighting? The composition? The subject? The colour? The editing? This will help them do more of what you like and make their gallery even better.
9. I use the "Instagram Follower Checker" at www.ig.wakax.com (Beta) to see who I am following but who doesn't follow me. I also use the "InstaFollow" app to see who has unfollowed me. This keeps our followers and following numbers more even if that's important to you. Some people look at ratios, and feel that having more followers that followings is important.
10. If I am following an account and I see too many things I don't like, things that I am not "liking", I usually give them a bit of time to see if they'll stop posting things that are offensive, or poor quality content. For example, I don't like pictures of people smoking, doing drugs, too much skin or sexual innuendos, people who swear a lot, too many selfies, and that sort of thing. I enjoying following people who brighten my day with cute, beautiful, breathtaking and inspiring content.
11. If I come across a great photo or video that really makes an impression on me, I sometimes choose to "feature" this on my account. This is also known as a shout-out. I give the person credit and it usually gains a very favourable response from them as well as others. Sometimes they return the favour!
If you have any questions, tips, comments or additions, please let me know!
Have a great day!
Angela G. Gentile