Hi and welcome back to Insta-Friday! I hope you enjoyed last week’s post. I had a few people ask why they should bother with IG and I just wanted to say that the purpose of my post was just to share knowledge. That’s just who I am, when I find something I love, I want to share it, but if you have no desire to dive into a new social media format, that’s perfectly fine too. This week, I want to cover a few features and tips for IG that I wish I had known about when I first started using it.
If you start to follow lots of people on IG, you may start to see that people will re-post or share a post that someone else in their feed has posted. Lots of people do giveaways and one of the criteria for entry (or to get a second entry) in the drawing, you are asked to repost or share the original post about the giveaway. In the old days, bloggers would ask that you comment and repost on your blog about the giveaway, this is the same idea. I always thought that the only way to do that was to take a screenshot of the post and load it as an image to my feed to repost it. Well, that was NOT fun because as awesome as my Galaxy phones are (I’ve had an S2 and S4), in order to take a screen shot you have to have the perfect coordination of pressing the home button and the power button and it’s not overly easy (although you’ll get a lot of practice on IG if you decide you want to share screenshots). I eventually found an actual APP that allows me to immediate go to the feed of a person I’m following and hit a button and it will share the image and the text they originally posted to my feed! It’s called the Repost App (check Google Play or the Apple store to get it). It’s absolutely free and it works really well. You enter your Instagram information when you first join and then it can open your IG feed so you can repost anything you see in the feed.
A note here, of the almost 1000 people I follow, generally a good 10 or 20 will post the SAME giveaway (because we all LOVE free fabric and stuff) so I always try to go and find the ORIGINAL post about a giveaway so that the correct hash tag comes through and credit is given to the original post. Also, try not to get sucked into the giveaway world and only post giveaways. I always check the feeds of the people who follow me and if the majority of what they are posting is giveaways, I won’t follow them back. I want to follow people who share their stories on IG and are not just using it to try to win free stuff.
No Crop App
I think it was back around the time I was at Quilt Market in October and I had JUST gotten my new (to me) S4 that I realized that the camera on my phone was funky. Two things were happening, first, when I took a picture from within IG (using the camera function) the picture would look bright when I took it but when it went into the editor part of IG, the picture automatically darkened. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with that! The second thing was that when I took a picture with my regular old camera app on the phone and tried to import it into IG, I had to crop the picture to the SQUARE format that IG uses, thus losing a lot of the awesomeness of the picture! (The iPhone has an option within the camera to take a square picture, which I think is so clever.) Somehow, and it might have been something someone mentioned to me at Quilt Market, I found out about the No Crop App. This app has several great features, but mostly it allows you to take a picture and then pull it into the square format before directly posting to IG! That allows you to crop it and fill in some space around or zoom in on the picture which are features that IG doesn’t have. This app also has the option to add text or cute “stickers” like smiley faces with heart eyes or cute call outs. I also love that some of the background fillers look like quilts to me, so I will fill in white space with a “quilt” pattern. I almost always take pictures within the No Crop app now instead of using the camera and I really never use the camera option in IG. If you like the filters that IG has, you can apply those after you pull the picture over from No Crop App.
One more app that I find useful is called Instanote. Sometimes, I just want to post something to ask a question of my IG friends and I don’t have a picture to go along with it, or I want the text to be center stage. The Instanote app allows you to select a background and then use the text option to add text to the image and, of course, post directly to Instagram. This is great for asking questions and I use it on occasion. I usually try to use a picture as the background for more impact but if I don’t have one that applies to the question, I’ll just use Instanote.
Direct Messaging in IG
The final thing I want to talk about is the Direct Messaging (DM) option in IG. I’ve only seen this option available on my phone through the app, so I don’t think it’s available on the web version. The DM option is a way for people to send each other private messages. Similar to the the messaging option in Facebook. It’s sort of like getting an e-mail within IG. This is great if you won a giveaway and someone wants you to send them your address but you don’t want it to be public. The catch is that you have to attach an image to your message, usually not a problem but it is a requirement. I recently offered a giveaway to celebrate 700 followers and asked the winners to DM me their address. I thought it very clever that one of the winners had an image with their address on it as the DM image. It was easy to find and reference later when I was prepping the package to send out. To access the direct message box, you need to tap on the Home icon, then find the icon that looks like an old fashioned inbox letter tray, on my phone it’s in the top right of the screen. You’ll see any messages that have come through and have the option to create and send a message. You can also send one message to more than one person if you’d like. The TRICKY thing about DM is that the notification on IG is sort of sporadic. There isn’t much in the way of a visual notification that there is a message, so if you’re expecting something from someone, you might check that to see if you had something come in.
I hope that this glut of information has provided you with some helpful tools to make using IG even more fun and easy! I do appreciate your comments and feedback, even if you are still wondering why you should bother with IG. I promise I won’t take it personally if you don’t join in the IG craze.
On a final note:
I just realized that 99% of the listings in my Etsy shop are going to expire in TWO DAYS!! That means, they fall off and I do NOT plan to re-list them on Etsy. (I’ll talk more about #thegreatfabricdestash in next week’s Insta-Friday post) So if you are looking for some fabric that only $5 per yard and is fun and bright and maybe even completely random, it would be so awesome if you’d go look at my shop. There is a link in the sidebar or you can click in the gallery below. I will of course combine shipping and refund any over charge. Just TWO days left to get some awesome deals on pretty 100% cotton fabrics that will be great for backings, even for charity quilts! The honest truth is that I want to use any money I make selling that fabric to load my Starbucks app so I can keep buying coffee in the morning! It’s like my little treat to myself and hopefully this fabric will be a little treat to you too!