Instagram is a visually stimulating form of social media based around original photos. For businesses is all about branding, a place for you to provide people with a theme/idea and image of your products and the lifestyle that they might fit into. We’ve put together 10 things you need to know to help you get your Instagram on!
Written by Sophie Allport


Getting started

Instagram is a mobile “App” which means that it requires a download from the “app store” related to your phone. Although you can view Instagram on your computer you can not access all of the features including posting content so if you are having trouble with this step I suggest seeking out your closest “techspert” or mobile savvy family member to push you in the right direction.  Firstly when setting up an Instagram account you will need to link it to an existing email address or facebook account, this is standard practice with most social media sites, so that you can log in and change passwords ect in the future if need be. 

Linking to facebook/twitter ect.
Once you have created your account, go to your settings and link to your facebook account or page and Instagram, there are a lot of different settings that you can adjust such as making your account private however, doing this may reduce your potential audience. By linking to other forms of social media you will be able to share content instantly from instagram to facebook and effectively reach all of your audience at once. 

Filters
Filters are a magical thing invented by Instagram to make every amateur photographer look like a professional. By applying filters and tweaking the settings of your photos you can really make your products/photos shine. Just remember if you are posting a photo of some millinery you are wanting to sell, it is best practice to not change the colours too much so that your customer doesn’t get mixed up thinking that is that colour in real life! My personal favourite filter is called Amaro, I use this filter quite often, as i feel that it has the nicest affect on my images and using the same filter helps to give my brand images a familiar feel. 

# Hashtags
Hashtags simple descriptors used to describe your product and link it to common things. For example whenever  I post a picture I usually type in #millinery and  #Allportmillinery because whenever someone looks up that # in the search bar they will be led to other images with the same theme and #. There are no real set rules for #’s however you probably don’t want to get carried too away and lose the meaning! 

@ At Sign 
In Instagram the @ symbol represents users. If you write the @ symbol when typing a description for your photo you are effectively tagging that person in your photo. By doing this you are putting your mark on your photo or reaching out to another user.  If someone stumbles upon your photo at a later date they will be able to click on the link and view more of your content. That person may become
a future customer or may even be a celebrity who would like to wear your hat! An example of when an @ symbol can come in handy is when you have someone else's product in your image. Here in this flat lay image I have tagged @allportmillinery, @ninewestaus and @olgabergclutches. 

Following/followers
When you start “following” someone on instagram it is like being a virtual fan. You will see new pictures that they post
and you will be able to like and comment on their photos. Often when you follow someone they might follow you back (become followers) if they like what you see, this can help to expand your network. The more followers you have the greater potential you have for your product to be seen and it can also make your brand look quite successful.  

Regramming/reposting
Re-gramming is a process where an outside provider (different app) is used to re-post an instagram post that someone else has created. Using these apps you can share content from a customer or another business you follow and they are credited as the source. in the image posted by @LaurentpierrierAustralia you can see that the app called @Repostapp was used and it enables the original brand to be credited.  

Commenting/Liking/Direct Messaging
Just like Facebook, on Instagram you have the ability to like and comment on users photos to make initial contact. Although it is not a complex as Facebook,  Instagram does also have a direct messaging feature, which allows users to chat
and exchange photos. This feature could be used after initial comment from a new customer, wanting to purchase a hat you have available or wanting to show you an outfit they wish to have a bespoke piece made for. Direct messaging is available between most users however message requests can be made.  

Content
Content refers to the actual images and words your business is putting out to the world. This is something you need to be very consistent with and remember that every person that sees your content is a potential customer. You may want to post quotes, jokes, product images, food and everyday life, however be sure that it reflects your business in a lighthearted, positive manner and won’t offend anyone. I often post progress images of hats, beautiful textured materials, flowers and things in nature that inspire me, photos of customers and myself at the races, basically anything pretty or millinery related.  It is usually best to keep your business and personal life separate in social media so that you still have privacy and your followers have a consistent image of your brand in their minds however you can add personal touches here and there. 

Be creative. 
Social media is for the most part free, it is an opportunity to present your art to the world exactly how you want it to be seen, play around with filters, follow people who inspire you and share the things that you enjoy and that you think others might like. Instagram is a fantastic way to discover the world and for others to discover your world without leaving the comfort of your home/studio so sit back, relax and let Instagram do the talking for your business. 

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