Our Instagram Cheat Sheet: Struggling to understand all the features of Instagram?

There are so many different features to Instagram. Reels, stories, Dm’s, IGTV, regular posts and so on and so on...

Struggling to understand all the features of Instagram? We get it, there are so many different features to Instagram. Reels, stories, Dm’s, IGTV, regular posts and so on and so on. Unless you’ve been a social media savvy person from the start, it can be very hard to get your head around how to get into the rhythm of Instagram. So, here at Sokada, we’ve decided to give you all the information you could need to become an insta wizard for your business.

What actually is Instagram?

If you have heard of Instagram but never really looked much into it you might be wondering what it is and why it is so different from other social media platforms. Instagram, formally known as ‘the picture app’ is one of the biggest social media platforms there is. There are roughly 1.35 billion Instagram users currently. Yeah, that’s a lot of people using the app. The app started out being the best place to post a quick picture and add a fun caption. It was the best place to keep up with people’s day-to-day lives. It used to be so picture orientated and was ideal for visual creators.

Instagram progressed and progressed, and ‘influencers’ started becoming the new big thing. Instagram was about pictures, just pictures and fun captions. The phrase ‘post it on the grid’ was becoming more popular and Instagram’s marketing potential skyrocketed. More and more features started to come out, stories and IGTV started to become popular. Then with the huge rise of TikTok in 2020, Reels became one of the best ways to market and ‘do Instagram’. Let’s break those features down a little bit.

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Feed Posting

Of course, posting pictures is still very popular but there are some great features to elevate each post. Firstly, make sure the pictures you are taking are the best quality you can get. You always want your page to have good-quality photos throughout it. Secondly, consider using the in-app editing tools. You can brighten the picture, add a filter, and adjust saturation and contrast. And then lastly, and our favourite, the ‘multiple pictures’ feature. Don’t just take one great quality pic, take loads and post them all on one post.

The swipe-along or carousel feature is great. Not only is it visibly a nice feature to have but, it’s a very nifty way to get people to stay on your post for longer. Being intrigued about what pictures the carousel might contain, means they spend longer on the post and are more likely to like or follow. Like a little secret call to action.

Story Posting

The ‘Story’ feature, started in 2016, gave users the ability to take pictures that only stay on their ‘story’ for 24hrs unless it’s saved to Highlights. A ‘Story’ can be anything you want and can have loads of different features on it. You can add music, text, links, location and emojis to each story. Making it unique and perfect for a business that wants to stay on brand with logos and colour schemes.

You can also save your stories to ‘Highlights’. This is a great way to keep your stories that might have been informative or important, in one place. It is also a great way to section things out on your page like ‘Testimonials’ or ‘The Team’. Makes your page look organised and professional.

Reels and IGTV

Video content has become the most popular form of content on social media at the moment. With it being the most popular with influencers showing off things like outfit ideas and their day-to-day life, why wouldn’t it be just as effective for businesses? Reels are essentially videos of anything you like, with music and writing. It’s a really great way to do things like, behind the scenes, day in the life, meet the team and even trends. Reels can be a great way to humanise your brand. And it is also a great way to get some exposure.

You can use trending songs that will put you on the ‘reels page’ of Instagram, meaning you are likely to be seen more. IGTV is a little different. Rather than a short video with music, an IGTV was introduced to emulate ‘YouTube’ long-style videos. So you can sit down and have a 10-minute video of you chatting or showing off a product or anything that works. The best way to understand the difference between Reels and IGTV is that Reels are like TikTok-style videos and IGTV are like YouTube-style videos.

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The Explore Page

The Explore page on Instagram is a collection of content, based on a user’s individual interests. The magical Instagram algorithm essentially creates a page full of posts they think you’ll like. This is based on what you follow, search for and tend to interact with and like. The explore page is where people discover new accounts, and this is where you want to end up as well.

There are a few little tricks that will get you on the explore page and give you more exposure. One of the best ways to appear on the explore page is by adding your location to a post. This is a feature you can add when posting something. Add your business’s location or if you are out for the day for work, add that location. This will mean the algorithm will find people who are in that area and you will pop up on their explore page.

Another way to work your way onto that explore page is using hashtags. Everyone knows hashtags are a great way to boost posts but, be really specific. If you use a hashtag like #explorepage or #explore, you have a higher chance of popping up on it.

Your Business Profile and Bio

You want your business to stand out on Instagram and for it to look great. When setting up your account it’s important to think about how you want your profile to look. Let’s start with your profile picture. For a business it’s best to use your logo, this makes it clear you are a brand and a business. Next is creating your bio, a section at the top that has a little information about your business. This is where you put who you are, what you do and a link to your website.

Now you have the basics set up before you start posting. Make sure your profile shows off who you are, and gives a little taste of the tone of voice you like to use and your brand’s logo.

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Direct Messages

Direct messages are where your followers can contact you and ask questions. It’s important to stay up to date on your dm’s and make sure to respond within 24hrs. Dm’s are the place you can chat in the brand’s tone of voice and really engage with your audience. As a business, this is the place you might get most of your questions because social media is so easy for fast replies, most people ask questions there.

That covers the basics of Instagram! Instagram changes daily and with new features coming out it can be hard to keep up. We want to make sure you are utilising all aspects of it, and hopefully, our little guide to Instagram should help. Whether you are just starting your business or just don’t know as much as you would like, we hope we’ve answered some questions, and if not, don’t hesitate to ask us!