[intro] Before you begin this guide, you need to ensure that you have installed the Social Plugins feature on your EKM online shop and installed the Instagram app on your mobile phone. [/intro]

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[tips] Before you begin to open your Instagram account, install the Google Photos app onto your phone. This will allow you to upload any images from your computer to Google Photos, where they can then be downloaded onto your phone as and when they're needed - useful for creating branded images and a logo to be used as your Profile Image.  [/tips]

Instagram is a little different to the other social media platforms, owing to the fact it's technically an app. You can log into the app on your desktop or laptop however, you cannot upload images that way. Downloading the Instagram app to your tablet or mobile device will allow you to upload images, as well as create Stories and upload small video clips.

How to create an Instagram account

1. Open the app and click Email. Enter your email address and tap Next:




2. Add your full name and a password, and next tap Next:




3. Click change username if you're not happy with it. Your username should reflect the name of your brand and your EKM online shop. Otherwise, tap Next:




4. Add your desired username and if a green tick appears within the field, it's available for you to claim. Tap Next. If you also have the Facebook app installed on your phone, you will see a button to connect your Instagram account to Facebook, which will allow you to see and follow the Instagram accounts of your Facebook friends, and encourage them to follow you. Tap to link to Facebook, or alternatively, tap Skip:




5. You'll then see a pop-up window where Instagram will ask to see the contacts on your phone. This is so that it can help you find more Instagram users via their phone numbers. Click either Deny or Allow:




6. Next, you will be prompted to add a Profile Photo. Tap skip, as you can add a branded photo later on in the process as opposed to taking a photo:




7. You will then be prompted to save the login details. If this is the only device you will be using to upload to Instagram, tap Save. 




8. You will now see your new - albeit empty - Instagram feed. Tap the Profile icon in the bottom right to see your Profile:



How to add a Profile Picture

You need to create a version of your logo which is around 1000 pixels square. When this is uploaded to Instagram, the image will display as a square, however, when the image is selected to be used as the Profile Image, it will display in a circular shape; bear this in mind if you are adding any text to your branded image. If you have installed the Google Photos app (or similar) to your phone, upload the image from your computer and then download it onto the via the app on your phone. You then need to upload it to your Instagram account. 

9. Tap Edit Profile:




10. Tap Change Photo:




11. Tap new Profile Photo:




12. This will open the album on your phone. Select your logo and tap Next:




13. Apply a filter if you like, but do not select one that changes the shade of the colours used in your image too much. When you have selected a filter, tap Next:




14. You will then be taken back to your Profile, where your logo should now be displayed as your Profile Picture:




How to customise your Instagram Profile

15. Tap Edit Profile:




16. Ensure you add the domain name of your EKM online shop into the Website field, and in the Bio, add a short strapline summarising your company, and your blog address if you've set one up. Instagram only allows you to add a single domain name to your profile, which will why my blog address has no www before it. Tap the blue tick when you are complete:




This will return you to your Profile. 

Converting to a Business Instagram account

17. Click Edit Profile:




18. Click Try Instagram Business Tools:




19. Click the blue Continue button to negotiate through the four slides:




20. If you have connected your Facebook account to Instagram, you will be prompted to connect your Facebook Page. Tap Choose Page:




21. Click OK:




22. You'll then see your Facebook Page appear (in a list if you manage several of them!). Tick the box next to the Page you want to connect to your Instagram and then tap Next:




23. Complete the field provided. Instagram will at least require a visible email address or Phone number to continue- both is ideal. Click Done:




24. Click Go to Profile:




25. Unlike a standard Instagram account, you now have Insights. Click the Insights symbol:




26. You’ll need to have at least 100 Followers on your Instagram in order to see demographic info. At the moment, you will probably see:




27. When the account has more passed the Follower threshold, you’ll then see something like this:




The more established your Instagram account becomes, the more data you will have access to in terms of Insights and how well your content is being received. This is useful for streamlining your content going forward to ensure that all of your content creates the most impact possible. 

How to create your first post

1. Click the plus sign:



2. Select an image from your phone's gallery and tap Next:



3. Apply a filter to your image to make it more appealing, then tap Next:



4. You can now add a description and location to your image, before tapping Next to publish your image:



Unfortunately, the lady I refer to in my description doesn't have an Instagram account otherwise I could've tapped Tag People and tagged her in my picture. There are also options for me to share my image to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr too, however, I'd recommend against this as when the image is published to secondary social media platforms it may not display as well as a status update and an image created especially for viewing on that specific platform.

The published image then looks like this:



Interacting with other users

Shannon from our Marketing Team has published a post:



Beneath her post, I can see four icons: If I tap the heart icon, Shannon gets a notification that I have liked her post. If I click the speech bubble icon, I can leave a comment for Shannon directly under her image which will be publicly displayed. If I click the paper plane icon, I can send this post to another Instagram user and if I click the bookmark icon, I can save this to my own collection. You can bookmark as many images as you like - a lot like pinning on Pinterest - and save these to your own profile. These are only visible to you, and you can view your bookmarked images by clicking the bookmark icon on your profile:



If you click the All tab, you'll see each individual image you’ve saved, and you can create Collections too and sort the different kinds of images into relevant folders so you can come back to them at a later date. Then you simply click the Collections tab to view them:



Using Hashtags

Hashtags - # - are a way of organising tweets about a specific topic. Like Twitter, you can use hashtags on Instagram, but to a much greater degree - you can add up to 30 hashtags per post. There is currently some debate as to whether you should add these to the description of your image or whether you should comment beneath your own image and add the hashtags there.

Currently, it's recommended that you add the hashtags into the image description - as long as the hashtags are all relevant to the images, you should have no issues. However, ensure that you don't use the same hashtags for every single post, as this can see the reach of your posts decrease; you should aim to constantly use different groups of hashtags on your posts for the best possible impact.

What to post

Once you become used to Instagram, you'll discover more about the culture on the platform; some users like to have a central theme on their Instagram feed, where every image has a specific theme and colour filter applied to it. A good example of this can be found here but that kind of curation of your images is not necessary and does limit the kind of images you can upload (as everything would need to be set up beforehand).

It's a good idea to create images specifically for your Instagram account as well as using standard photos. When you create images, ensure that the images are 1000 x 1000 pixels square, and ensure that any text used on the images is not too small as the images will automatically be resized once they're uploaded.

Create images to represent new blog posts, new product lines, offers and discounts and any upcoming events that pertain to you and your EKM online shop.

Instagram is useful for running competitions too - encourage customers to follow you by uploading a photo of themselves with your product, and offer a prize to the best photo. This is a great way to organically increase your followers.

[tips] Spruce up your Instagram feed by using apps such as Layout from Instagram and Boomerang. These will give your Instagram profile some variety! [/tips]

Who to follow

Once you have uploaded a few images of your own, it's worth running a search for your hometown to look for businesses in your own physical locality to follow and interact with. This will raise an awareness of your brand and products locally.

Look for companies whose products would work well with your own; if you sell gym clothing, follow Protein Works, and if you sell ladies' shoes, follow Pretty Polly. Also, run a search for companies and interests that your target customers would be interested in, and follow those too.

For every profile that you follow, ensure you take the time to like and comment on at least one image - this will encourage them to do the same for you and further raise your reach and your profile.

You can find EKM here and my own Instagram Profile is here. Feel free to follow us, though please bear in mind we cannot provide technical support over Twitter; you would be best contacting our Customer Support Team directly for technical help!

How to connect your Instagram to your EKM online shop

1. Firstly you need to copy your username from your Instagram Profile:



2. Then log into your EKM online shop, click on the Features tab and open the Social Plugins feature. Drag the Instagram from the top field into the lower field:



3. Then add your username into the Username field before clicking the green Update button:



You have now linked your Instagram profile to your EKM online shop! Be sure to read Creating your Social Media Strategy for further advice on creating content for your target market. 

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[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question ask the EKM Team, join us in ekmCommunity.  [/contact]