Managing Instagram: Learn the Basics - Thyme Is Honey

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Beyond Good Photos: Tips for Managing your Instagram Account (how to delete comments, how to edit photo captions, how to block users + more).

Instagram is my favorite social network for myself and my clients. I love seeing how fans interact with images, and experimenting with how to get a message across visually. A few weeks ago I shared 6 Tips for Small Businesses On Instgram, and it’s a worthwhile read for anyone looking to improve the quality of the images they are sharing.

But, there’s more to instagram than just great photos. For a lot of people (and brands), simply understanding how or why to use the platform is the first obstacle they need to overcome. So, I hope today’s post helps you learn some of the basic managerial tasks associated with Instagram (find and follow me on Instagram here).

What’s the point of Instagram?

Instagram is a social networking app that allows you to share snapshots of your life with friends and followers. Similar to how Twitter’s purpose is to summarize your thoughts into 140 characters, Instagram’s purpose is to summarize what you are doing in a 1:1 aspect ratio photo (that means it’s square). Taking square photos seems to come pretty naturally to people now, but I remember when Instagram first came out it felt like a real mind-bender figuring out how to capture the moment inside that little box. Obviously this statement is humorous to anyone who actively took photos before 1980. But, shooting in a square frame almost forces you to be more creative with your image and composition which really summarizes what Instagram is all about: sharing creative images.

Privacy Basics

On Instagram you can either have your account set to private or public. Public means that anyone can see your photos anytime, from anywhere. Private means that people can find you on Instagram and can view your basic profile information, but they cannot see any of the photos you post. When your account is set to private people will have to request to follow you. When they do, you’ll receive a notification and will need to approve or deny them access on a case-by-case basis.

Which one should you choose? If you’re a brand, business or blogger, you definitely want your account to be public. For the average person, it’s really up to you. Some people don’t want photos of their kids or home floating all over, and in that case a private account is probably right for you. Just be aware of the fact that with a private account no one sees your photos within a hashtag feed unless they are following you. Sometimes I don’t think people realize this and they try to participate in a hashtag challenge or giveaway and don’t realize that their content can’t be seen by the majority of people.

Edit your privacy settings: Instagram App> click on profile icon in lower right corner > click on the settings icon (looks like a gear) in the upper right corner)> toggle privacy setting on/off.

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How to Delete a Comment

Sometimes people make stupid comments on our photos. Sometimes we make stupid comments on our photos. So, sometimes, its necessary to go in and delete a comment. Based on the number of times my clients ask me how to delete a comment I have realized that this process is not necessarily intuitive to the average user.

You should never feel bad about deleting a comment. If someone makes a comment you don’t like—-remove it. It’s your account! Unfortunately Instagram doesn’t yet allow you to edit comments….so if you have a typo you’ll have to delete the comment and then readd it if necessary.

You can delete your comments on anyone’s photo—-or anyone’s comment on your photos. Delete a comment on a photo: Click on the photo > click comment (as if you were going to write a new comment) > locate the comment you want to delete and swipe towards the left of the screen > select the trash can icon.

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How to Reply to a Comment

Other user’s do not receive notifications when you comment on your own photo on instagram. So, if @Susie005 comments on your photo and says “Beautiful morning, we should grab lunch!” And you comment back “Yes we should!” Susie won’t get a notification of that message. She might not see it at all unless she later goes to your profile and views the photo again. To give her a notification you have to include her handle (@Susie005) in your reply. To do this you can simply type out “@Susie005 Yes we should!” but for brands, businesses, people with a lot of followers, or just people who like to save time, this method isn’t super efficient.

To reply faster you can follow the same process as above (Click on the photo > click comment (as if you were going to write a new comment) > locate the comment you want to delete and swipe towards the left of the screen) but instead select the arrow icon, which will automatically start a reply comment for you with their handle included.

Pro tip: if you go through and swipe multiple comments towards the left it will auto-fill with all of the handles—a quick way to thank everyone or reply to everyone at once.

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Edit a Photo Caption

The worst is when you post a photo with a witty caption and 5 minutes later you realize that you said “te” instead of “the” or some other typo. In the past your only option was to delete the entire image and start over, but Instagram has since added an edit function. To edit the caption on your photo: click on the photo > select edit > make changes to caption > click ‘done’ in upper right corner to save.

Using Hashtags

The easiest way to think about hashtags is to think of them as categories for your photo. If you hashtag something #Food it will create a link. You’ll notice that on Instagaram hashtags show up blue, which means they can be clicked on. Once clicked on it will take you to a search result page showing every photo with the #Food hashtag. Currently there are over 163,737,345 photos with #Food.

There’s no right answer as to what hashtags you should use, or how many you should use. You don’t have to use any, but they do serve a purpose. The first purpose is that they help your content show up in places other than your profile or your friend’s feeds (which means more likes). The other purpose is for contests and giveaways or participation in a cause, event or challenge.

I have two rules when it comes to hashtags (you can follow them, or not). First, use a few (3-5 is good) that help get your content in front of a relevant audience. Research hashtags. Look at what hashtags your favorite brands or bloggers are promoting. Through trial and error you will eventually have a list of hashtags that you like for certain content.

The second rule is to be respectful of hashtags and only tag relevant content. No one wants to be scrolling through #Food and see a photo of your feet. There’s also some etiquette involved: certain hashtags will help you get more likes, but that doesn’t mean you should include that hashtag on every single photo you take. For example, say you are a chef living in Wisconsin and you like to use the hashtag #WisconsinFoodLover (this is just an example). Appropriate content for this hashtag would be photos of food you’ve made for your blog, photos of restaurants in Wisconsin, photos from the Dane County Farmer’s Market. Inappropriate content would be: random photos of your dog or kids. SomeeCard images or motivational quotes that you stole offline and decided to post. Just because you like the hashtag doesn’t always mean you should use it, and those who use the hashtag for a purpose don’t appreciate your random content.

Blocking People

Eventually you might have a situation where you want to block someone from being able to see your content. Unfortunately blocking people on something like Instagram isn’t very effective. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

– Unfollowing someone means that their photos will no longer show up on your feed. However, they are still following you (presumably) so your photos are still showing up in their feed. The only way to “force” someone to stop following you is to block them. You can do this temporarily, as even blocking them for 30 seconds removes the connection between accounts. (to block someone simply go to their profile > click on the arrow in the upper right corner > select block).

– Keep in mind that to unblock someone you need to know their username so that you can revisit their profile and follow the same steps as above.

– Blocking someone isn’t necessarily effective if you have a public account, as they can visit your profile URL on any web browser and view all of your content.

– Going “private” on Instagram means that users can’t publicly view your photos, but anyone who is following you can see anything you post. Today it is so easy to take a screenshot of someone’s images and do whatever you want with them. So although your account may be “private” just keep in mind that nothing online is private.

– If you’re in a situation where you want someone to be unable to see your content, the best option is to block that person AND have a private account. This keeps them from seeing your content but also makes your content private online.

– If you feel threatened or are being harassed on Instagram be sure to report the content either on the image itself or on the user’s profile.

Follow @Thyme_is_Honey on Instagram

Managing Instagram: Learn the Basics

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