Instagram: The most important features at a glance
The social media world spins fast, so does Instagram. While in the past, you could only publish private snapshots on Instagram, today the range of functionalities is much greater. In addition to new formats such as IGTV, the app has also expanded the interaction options. To help you keep an overview, we will introduce you to the most important Instagram features in detail.
Post photos and videos
Instagram has become known for sharing and posting images. As video content becomes more and more popular, you can also share it in the app. The prerequisite for this is your own profile. If you would like to post a picture or video, you can do this simply by tapping on the plus symbol in the middle at the bottom of the app. You can upload pictures and videos directly from the Smartphone Gallery or record them yourself using the app. If you want to publish more than one picture or pictures and videos together, you can also combine pictures and videos into a gallery. The viewer can then simply look through the pictures with a swipe of their finger.
Good to know:
- Popular formats for single images: 2:3, 1:1 or 4:5
- Video length: minimum 3 seconds, maximum 60 seconds
Before you publish a picture or a video, there are numerous possibilities for image and video editing available to you. In addition to the classic Instagram filters, you can also adjust the brightness, warmth, sharpness, or saturation of your recordings.
Publish Instagram Stories
Especially in the last three years, the functional range of the app has expanded considerably. This also includes the feature “Instagram Stories”. This has become so popular with users that it has become an indispensable part of the app.
Similar to a normal post, pictures and videos can also be shared using the story feature. The only difference is that the contributions can be viewed online for a maximum of 24 hours. This makes it possible to virtually take the viewer live with you – whether on a trip, to an event, or throughout everyday life. Especially for bloggers or influencers, this is a good opportunity to give followers insights into their work for even greater reach and interactions.
Good to know:
- Video length: maximum 15 seconds
- Story is automatically deleted after 24 hours
If you upload an Instagram Story to the platform, it will appear above the newsfeed of your followers directly on the homepage. Various functionalities are available to increase the reach of a story, actively involve the viewer and make it more entertaining. For example, a location or hashtag can be integrated into the story to increase the reach of the story. If users search for a hashtag or a specific location, your story will automatically appear in the search. However, if you want to actively involve your followers, Instagram also offers polls or quiz stickers specifically for this purpose. These stickers allow the viewer to answer interactively in the story. In addition, various filters, emojis and GIF’s are available for even more variety and creative editing of your stories.
If you want a story to be visible to your followers for longer than 24 hours, you can create so-called “highlights” on your profile and combine thematically matching stories into a highlight. Thus, your followers can view the respective contributions of the story again and again.
Instagram Live Videos
A very popular feature to bring your followers even closer is the Live feature within Instagram Stories. In this mode, you are not limited to 15 seconds and can broadcast live for up to one hour. This allows direct communication with the viewer. This format is suitable for question rounds or reporting. As with the Story, a live broadcast is automatically deleted after 24 hours. This makes it the most direct channel to interact with your followers and viewers.
IGTV: Instagram TV
The most recent feature in the Instagram universe is the IGTV format. With this feature, the platform brings video even closer into focus. Similar to YouTube, pre-produced videos can also be uploaded here and shared with followers and users of the app.
Unlike a video over the normal news feed, videos can be shared here in portrait format and with a length of up to 10 minutes. Uploading videos is very intuitive and easy. In addition to a title, you can also insert a description text with clickable links and define a start image.
If, on the other hand, you would like to watch IGTV videos yourself, you can do this using the Explorer tab (magnifying glass symbol). Directly below the search field there is an IGTV tab. If you click on it, you will get to the video overview with a search field and suggested videos.
Interaction options on Instagram
As probably the most popular social media platform, Instagram offers a number of ways to interact with other posts in addition to uploading content. The basic functionalities of this interaction include liking, commenting, and sharing – be it a picture in the newsfeed, an IGTV video, or a story. A Like is probably the most popular and easiest way to express whether or not you like a contribution. If, on the other hand, you would like to enter into direct communication, you can do so via the comment field of a contribution or via a direct message to the account. It is also possible to share contributions across platforms.
A new feature is the saving of pictures and videos from the newsfeed. Similar to Pinterest, certain posts that you like can be saved here. If you want to save a post so that you can access it at a later time, for example without a long search, you can do this by clicking on the “pennant symbol” on the far right below a post. To access the saved posts, first click on your own profile. By clicking on the 3 stripes in the upper right corner, you will find your contributions under “Saved”. You can also create “Collections” there. For example, you can create a collection with inspirations for your next trip or a collection for recipes that you would like to try out.
Instagram has evolved strongly over the past three years. In addition to uploading images, the app is increasingly focusing on video content. Videos can be shared not only in the regular newsfeed, but also via stories, live broadcasts, and most recently also via IGTV. Beside the larger range of functionalities, there are also more and more possibilities to interact with contributions. Thus, contributions can not only be liked, commented, and shared, but also saved in order to find them again more quickly at a later point in time.
It stays an exciting question, which new features and formats the app will surprise us with in the future.