How to use Instgram and have fun with it!
Eight years on and still going strong, Instagram is the photo-sharing app that enables people to tell a “visual” story. It is an ideal way for artists to share current works and ideas and gain inspiration (otherwise known as #inspo) for their craft.
The trend of the platform has moved on from endless selfies, countless sunset photos and an abuse of hashtagging (well, sort of moved on.) Instagram has become a place to share the “best of” something through high-resolution images, often taken with a good camera and edited.
Fundamentally, however, Instagram is all about capturing moments in real time. Its settings are rigid, only allowing images to be posted from a phone or an iPad. If you don’t have one of these, you can’t be in the game.
For a social network that thrives on visual content, it offers a great opportunity for businesses and passion-fuelled artists to show off their creations, product lines, ideas and innovation. From snapshots of works in progress to high-quality close-ups of fibre, colour and stitch, Instagram loves anything visual and so will your audience.
The key is to create conversations … not the type you and I are used to, but via provocative images and hashtags. Essentially, a #hashtag is the sign that precedes a word or group of words that directly follow it (without space) and turns it into a searchable link.
It originated in 2007 when developer Chris Messina suggested, via a TWEET, that Twitter begin grouping topics using the hash # symbol. Citizens and journalists began using #sandiegofire to provide updates and information about a series of fires. The practice of hashtagging took off like wildfire (excuse the pun… Actually, let me say it again, #tookofflikewildfire.) Now users and brands use hashtags to report on political events (eg #cairo), entertainment (eg #mileycirus) and a growing number of lifestyle tags (eg #bucketlist, #dogsofinstagram, #photooftheday, #happy.)
The way to start is to think about what sparks your interest, snap it and share it. If it’s pretty, then hashtag #pretty. If it’s a fibre, then hashtag #wool or #australiangrown or anything that represents what it is. There are no rules to hashtagging other than don’t overuse them. Roughly 5 or so is usually enough for each image shared. And it’s ok to #makeupahashtag as it could create a global following! You will start to see other users interact with you by liking or commenting on your post. Soon, a community of like-minded people find each other and suddenly you are immersed in the world of Instagram even before you can learn #hashtag101. It’s strangely addictive! Start to look for whatever else will generate likes and comments from followers such as your dog having a bath, or coloured washing on a clothesline. Give it a try and see what happens.
If you are not yet on Instagram, here are the steps to get started:
- Go to the app store on your iPad or phone and download the INSTAGRAM app, the icon to the right.
- Create a username – either your own name or your own name with an underscore between it and something you stand for like “Crafty Robyn”. You can always change it later!
- Take a photo and follow the options to post it to Instagram. Make sure you use a hashtag. A good one to start with is #myfirstinstagrampost. People will see it and most likely applaud you by liking it or commenting.
- Select whether you would like to receive push notifications. That means, do you want to be alerted when someone likes or interacts with you or not? If not, you need to continue to check Instagram.
- Try to check in once a day with a post, comment, a like or some activity. The only way to increase your followers is to post content.
So get started and make sure you follow and hashtag #indie_road_aus (that’s hashtag indie UNDERSCORE road UNDERSCORE aus) in anything and everything to do with fibre art and craft!