What is Instagram? – A Beginner’s Guide


Are you one of those who have heard a lot about Instagram but are struggling to entirely understand what the hype is all about?

Have a seat, let’s figure this out together. 

Here’s The Basics

Is it just me, or is there a whole new shift in how people have decided to share their unique and exciting experiences with the world? Let’s give this a chronological thought, cave paintings, journal entries, and storybooks were some of the methods followed decades ago to store your memories. 

Evolution soon took over and brought photos and videos into the world. This introduction created effortless but realistic access to moments that can be cherished for life.

Let’s get to business now.

Instagram as of 2020 is said to be used by 1 Billion people from around the globe. In all honesty, that’s quite a large number. What makes the app so captivating? Well, that’s just the power of the visual medium. 

Instagram has been providing its users with a platform to share their favorite moments in the form of photos and videos. With the Billion users present, the app never runs out of content and gives you something fresh every time you decide to have a peek into the gram.

That’s not all! The algorithms that the app runs specially crafts content that you might find interesting and relevant. It keeps track of your activity in the app to make it suitable for your likes. 

Now, here’s the cherry on top of the cake, Instagram isn’t all about entertainment. Instagram Ads is a feature offered to businesses big or small to run their advertising campaigns on the app. 

Instagram for Marketing and Instagram as entertainment makes it the best of both worlds. 

Time to Move On

Instagram is not an entire stranger now, I hope you got a brief idea of what the app is about. As we go further, here is a list of things that you would learn from this blog.

  1. How to get the app
  2. Setting up your profile 
  3. Making new friends and messaging on the go
  4. How the search works
  5. Uploading photos and videos 
  6. Instagram for Business 

How to Get the App

  • This one is a bit of a no-brainer. But here we go, Instagram can be used from Android iOS and even your desktop. 
  • Android users can download the app from the Play Store whereas iOS users can use the App Store for the same. 
  • Desktop users need not download an app, they can enjoy this forum by simply typing “www.instagram.com”. However, you cannot upload photos or videos while accessing IG from the web. Nonetheless, you can go through the content and message your pals. 

I’m assuming you all have opened the app on your phone, the next step is to set up your profile.

Setting up your Profile

  • Once you’ve downloaded the app, go ahead and click on the Instagram icon and wait for the app to open.
  • You will be presented with a few options – ‘Login with Facebook’ or ‘Sign up with Email or Phone. You can choose your desired pick here and proceed further. 

Note: Logging in with Facebook will make it easier to find your friends since the apps get linked together. 

  • The next move from here is setting your Profile Picture, Username, and Password. 
  • You can also add a brief description of yourself under the option ‘bio’ or even add a link on your profile that will redirect users to your website. The link feature is widely used by business profiles for marketing on Instagram.

It is recommended to have a recognizable profile picture and username to be easily identified among the users. 

Making New Friends and Messaging on the Go

Once you’re signed up and ready to go, there’s a myriad of things that you can do on Instagram. The main highlights however are the opportunities you are given to meet new people and inculcate new interests. 

There are so many content creators and influencers on Instagram from whom you can learn a great deal from. All you have to do is click on the sign that looks like a magnifying glass and type in anything that interests you. 

For example, if you’re into music, typing “#acoustics” will give you suggestions for some good music. 

You can also type in a person’s name and find him/her on IG if they’re registered users. Once you’ve found them, send them a follow request. You can interact with them and their posts soon after they accept your follow request

Messaging on the other hand is simple, click on ‘Facebook’s Messenger symbol’ on the top right corner. Enter a name in the ‘Search Box’, choose from the options displayed, and message away. 

How the Search Works

Remember we spoke about how the content on Instagram is uniquely tailored to appeal to your interests through algorithms? It all starts with the variety of your searches obtained from your search box’s searching pattern.

This way, Instagram understands what you truly are passionate about and brings it in front of your eyes. 

I’m sure we’re a little more familiar with the app than before. Let’s move to the bigger things now. 

Uploading Photos and Videos

According to your moods and necessities, Instagram offers you a variety of platforms where you can post your photos and videos. 

Let’s quickly look at the different types of post formats that are on Instagram along with recommended specifications for IG. 

Posting in News-Feed

This is sort of the most used posting method. Photos you upload here will be visible on your follower’s news feed as they’re scrolling down through the app. 

The photos you post here will be displayed on your profile, so you can post images that make your feed look aesthetic.

To upload a photo/video:-

  • Click on the ‘+’ sign and choose from “Gallery”, “Photo”, “Video”.
  • Choose the file you want to upload.
  • Add a suitable filter and edit the brightness and contrast of the same.
  • Click on Next
  • You can share the images on other networks by clicking on the options given below.
  • Tag people, Add Location and hit the post button.

If you wish to post more than one video or photo, you can use the Carousel feature by clicking on the “Select Multiple ” option given 

Recommended Format Specifications:-

  • Minimum aspect ratio: 400×500.
  • Maximum aspect ratio: 191×100.
  • The time limit for video – 60 seconds.

Instagram Stories

IG stories are one of the most interactive features available. These stories disappear within 24 hours and can be of both photos and videos. Users can use polls, and opinions to get into interactions. The use of stickers and filters such as “boomerang” can further make your stories look appealing. 

To upload a Story on Instagram:-

  • Click on the blue ‘+’ icon on your profile picture in your newsfeed.
  • Choose ‘Story’ from the slider menu.
  • Swipe through the filters, and tap the circle to capture an image or long-press the same to record a video. 
  • Click on “Send” and “Your Story ”.

Recommended Format Specifications:-

  • Image ratios: 9:16 and 16:9 to 4:5.
  • The time limit for a video on IG stories – 15 seconds per card.


Most Social Media Influencers and Celebrities get in touch with their followers through this feature. You can ask questions to these celebrities to which they’d reply 

  • To start a Live video, follow the same procedure as you did for IG stories, and in the slide-down bar, choose “Live”. 

There are no recommended specifications for IG Live since it’s entirely dependent on your phone’s front-facing camera.


IGTV is a feature that allows you to upload longer videos (Up to 15 minutes) since videos on the News Feed are limited to 60 seconds. You can showcase it for your short film’/explainer video and whatnot. 

Recommended Specs:-

  • Vertical Aspect Ratio – 9:16
  • Horizontal Aspect Ratio – 16:9
  1. IG Reels Reels on Instagram is the Long Lost brother of TikTok. They are short video clips filled with creativity to appeal to your senses. You can add suitable music beats to highlight the mood.
  • To upload an IG reel, follow the same procedure as you did for IG stories and Live, and in the slide-down bar, choose “Reels”. 
  • Recommended Aspect Ratio – 9:16 (1080*1920) 

Instagram For Business

Whatever you read above this paragraph is sheerly a guide for common people who are just looking to pass their time leisurely  But there’s more to Instagram. 

Have you noticed companies and brands put their products up for promotion and sales? That is what we called Advertising on Instagram.

For an effective marketing campaign, companies spend thousands of dollars to try and nail the perfect campaign. Instagram Marketing has flipped those odds for you. Regardless of the kind of business you are in, Instagram has packages that would boost your product/service like never before. 

Businesses on Instagram are blessed with a sophisticated load of features that cater to their campaign objectives, locate the right target audience, divide data according to age, location, gender, buying behavior, and other such key demographics that made IG Ads stand out from the rest. 

Unlike Traditional Marketing, Advertising on Instagram saves a lot of money and gives the advertiser tools for analytics and insights to review their post’s performance. 

You can also check your Instagram post Insights with Instagram. Wanna categorize your posts? Use Hashtags on Instagram.

Instagram on the whole has many such amazing features that are surprisingly user-friendly and supports the holistic development of a business and raises the satisfaction levels of its normal users.

Ending on a High

I hope our journey through this article so far has helped you get acquainted with the very basics of Instagram. Even rocket science is simple enough once you get the hang of it, so keep trying new things and find your success in them. 

Good day!