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 article and image by Carole Terwilliger Meyers

          I use Instagram mostly for fun.  It is interesting to know that Instagram gets 90 million posts each day, and that 90% of them go unseen.

Instagram Tutorial-600pix

Set Up Profile (person icon on far right)
This is where your photo history is kept. 
●Select your handle.  Some people think you should use the same name throughout your social media accounts.  Others don’t.
Add a profile photo.  This is important.  People want to see you.  Personally, I consider suspect accounts without a photo.
Compose your profile description.  I post my blogs with URLs, and include a live link to drive traffic to my main Berkeley and Beyond website.  Sometimes in my Instagram posts I tell readers to “click the link in bio for more information.”  Note that you are allowed only one live link on Instagram, and also the total number of spaces is limited.  Include hashtags for your niche.  For instance I use #travelwriter and #blogger.

Post Your Images (middle “+” icon, #3 from left)
I usually post only as I travel.  Some say you should post every day, using old images from previous adventures, but I’m not convinced it matters.  However, I might change my mind if someone who is making money at it tells me this.
Select your image from bottom.  Tap “next” at top right.
Edit your image.  I rarely alter my images, but it can be fun.  Tap “next” at top right.
Write a caption.  I keep mine short and sweet.  Some people now like to tell longer stories.  It’s your choice. 
Think about # hashtags.  You can add them at the end, though some people--including me--like to add some of them into the description.  As you type in the words after a hashtag, the box below begins to populate with suggestions.  Just tap any you want to use.  When done, tap “ok” at top right.  Note that Instagram allows up to 30 # hashtags.
Tag People.  Tapping this box brings up your current image.  Tap inside it.  Add any @ tags you want this to be seen by.  For instance, I use “visitberkeley” on Berkeley-related images.  Sometimes I don’t use anything here.  You want this to be local experts, and you need to be following the person/business for this to work,
Add location.  A must.  Many people do not do this or put in a business instead.  Here you want the city-state-country. 
Then tap on the apps you use.  I use Facebook and Twitter.  Then tap “share” at top right.
●When you have an informative post, suggest that viewers “save this post for future reference” by clicking the black tag on the right. 

View Your Feed (house icon on far left)
This is fun. 
Heart icon--be generous with your likes. 
Balloon icon--make comments when you have something to say.  They are always appreciated
Airplane icon--forward something of interest to a friend.  They need to be on Instagram for this to work.
Tap icon at far right if you want to keep something in a special “collection” file.  I hate to admit it, but I sometimes use this for ads I want to check out. 

Search for Something (spyglass icon, #2 from left)
This yet more fun.
Scroll through and tap on images you like.  Sometimes you’ll want to see more from this person.  Up at the top, you can tap on their handle and see more of their images.  Or you can tap “follow” there. 
You can tap in the “search” box and add in something specific.  For instance, “cats.”  Then tap on one of the items that show up.  I like to do this with my granddaughter.  Then I let her tap the heart/like button as we go along when she sees one she particularly likes.  You can also enter someone’s name here.

See Who Likes Your Images (heart icon, #4 from left)
This is where likes for your images show up. 
Also, when you see a “follow” in a blue box, that means that person started following you.  You should click the box if you want to follow back.  If you’re not sure, click on the person’s photo and it will take you to their profile description and image bank.  Take a look.  Follow if you like what you see.  I have been following selectively so my feed shows only the type of image I like to see.  I avoid sites that are men or women obsessed with themselves and appearing in almost every image.  I tend to favor people who have thousands of followers but who follow way fewer.  I’ve heard that you should try to keep the number you follow below the number following you. 

I leave my Instagram account always open, which makes for easy use. 

Come follow me on Instagram--caroletmeyers.

More advanced information about optimizing your Instagram.

Carole Terwilliger Meyers blogs at Travels With Carole.  She is the author of Miles of Smiles:  101 Great Car Games & Activities.
copyright 2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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