Contributor Post by Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns
The Etsy Christmas in July Team in now on Instagram….
Not sure what Instagram is?
You’re on it, but don’t really understand it?
You love it, but want to know more?
Instagram is a visual tool with great potential for creating brand awareness and generating sales. It is also a convenient way to form networks, and, of course, is lots of fun. The Christmas in July team has joined to IG to support all our fantastic members by sharing your posts, sharing team treasuries and the CIJ blog posts.
Like other social media using IG as a tool for generating interest in your product is influenced by how you interact with your followers. For example, always respond to comments left on your photos. It is also a good idea not to list prices in your captions, but rather direct followers back to your shop your website. And, of course, don’t be whingy! I also post the occasional photo about what I am currently doing in the studio, or if I am at a restaurant, or of my little dog – this creates a broader picture of who you are to your followers making it a more intimate experience.
While you can view Instagram, follow people and like posts on a PC, you can’t upload content. This is because Instagram is an App (Application), so you need a smart phone or tablet to download the app from the app store on your phone and create an account.
Once you have set up your account its time to follow some people. You may already know some people on IG, so you can search for them using their usernames. IG will also suggest people for you to follow, or you can search topics that you are interested in by using hashtags #
How do hashtags work? If you are a twitter user you may already be familiar with hashtags, although they are now used on all social media. Hashtags are a searchable way of finding topics you are interested in and getting your photo seen by hashtagging to relevant words. For example, I make ceramic tableware. So I will add hashtags such as #pottery #ceramics #handmade to my photo description. This allows other people who follow those hashtags to see my photo.
The Instagram Menu: There are 5 menu options making using the app relatively easy. Across the bottom of the screen from left to right there is a house, a star or magnifying glass, a blue square, a love heart and a person.
- The house – this will take you to your newsfeed where all the photos from people you follow will be displayed. You scroll down through the feed to see the photos. From here you can like photos and leave comments.Under each photo is a love heart, when you tap this it turns red which means you have successfully liked a photo. You can leave a comment on the photo by tapping on the word balloon.
- The star or magnifying glass – this takes you to a feed of images that are popular on IG or that IG suggest based on people you already follow. Tapping on a photo will take you to the account of the person who posted the photo and you can follow them, or like their pics. At the top of this feed is a search box where you can search for people or hashtags you would like to follow.
- The blue camera – this is where you can take a photo from within IG. Tap the camera icon and it opens your camera. Take the photo by tapping the blue circle in the centre. You will then be directed to a screen where you can edit your photo. Across the top are basic editing tools. Clicking on the spanner will take you to suite of tools for cropping, straightening, contrast and various other options. Or you can simply use an IG filter which are displayed across the bottom when tapping the magic wand. After selecting your filter you can make it brighter or add more contrast by tapping the sun icon. When happy with your photo tap the blue arrow in the top right hand corner. Here you can add a comment about your photo and add any relevant hashtags. A location can also be added to your photo, if you are in a restaurant for example. Other IG users you may be with can also be tagged. You can also share your IG post on other social media. If you have a Facebook account, for example, tap the FB box and a window will pop up asking you to log in to your FB account. The FB box will then be highlighted in blue and when you post your IG photo it will also be shared on FB. Use the same procedure to share to other social media.
**** if you already have a pic on your camera that you would like to post follow the procedure above except after tapping the square instead of taking a pic with the blue circle tap on the circle of squares to the left of the blue circle, this will direct you to your photo gallery on your phone. Select a photo and continue to use the same procedure as above.
****The only ‘live’ links on IG are the website addresses people add to their profile, for this reason you may notice a lot of people type ‘link in profile’ to their photo descriptions.
- The love heart – this is where you can see how people have loved your photos and left comments, and see who has followed you. To reply to comments tap the photo on the right side. To go to people’s accounts, for example to check out someone who has followed you, click on their user name which is in blue.
- The person – Tapping on this will bring you to your profile. From here you can see your posts, how many people you are following, how many are following you and you can edit your profile.
Editing your profile: Tap the edit profile box. Here you can change your password, add a description for your account, add a profile picture. At the very bottom of this page there is also an option to make your posts private, so that people have to request to follow you and you have the option to approve their request.
Editing Options and Settings: On your profile page in the top right hand corner are 3 vertical dots . Tapping on this takes you to a page where you can adjust your settings. You can also access IG help here, and find friends to follow from your other social media accounts, amongst other miscellaneous tasks.
Direct Messaging: It is possible to direct message if, for example, they make an enquiry about your shop. This is a good way to personalise their experience and extend your customer service in the same way you do with Etsy convos. To send a direct message you need to send a photo. So choose a photo in the same way that you do in the above sharing a photo description and when you arrive at the page where you add your photo caption you will see at the top ‘followers’ or ‘direct (see above tablet/notebook view image). Tap on Direct, type your message, search for the follower you wish send to and tap the green tick in the top right hand corner to send.
Sharing Other Peoples Photos: There is no ‘share’ button on IG like there is on other social media, however that has prompted the development of a range of sharing apps specifically for IG. Most of them are free but contain watermarks and limited functions, and payment will eliminate the watermark and give you access to all functions. Finding apps is simple by googling ‘reposting on instagram’ or ‘sharing apps for instagram’. These apps are very basic and simple to use.
SO, that’s about it – in a nutshell. Below are some other links that you may find useful for further information, and if anyone has any questions feel free to ask them in the comments below and I will try to answer them as best I can.