The thing that makes Instagram so engaging is the constant flow of photos — of your cousin’s chihuahua or the purple mountain majesties — that show up on your timeline whenever you open the app.
But how do you find all of that great content in the first place? There are several easy ways.
Getting started: find your Instagram friends
When you start your account, Instagram encourages you to connect with people you already know. For example, if you set up Instagram using your Facebook login, the app automatically suggests Facebook friends for you to follow.
At any time, however, you can upload your phone contacts to Instagram. From the main screen of the app, click on the profile button in the lower-right corner, then the three-bar button in the upper-right corner. From the menu that pops up, choose “Discover People.”
When you allow Instagram to access your contacts, the app finds anyone on your list who has an Instagram account. Simply go through the suggestions and hit “Follow” for anyone whose updates you’d like to see. If you’re not sure about someone, click on their avatar to look over their photos first.
As you follow and interact with more people, this feature will suggest other accounts that you might like (for instance, people who are friends of your friends).
Using the Instagram Explore feature
The Explore feature is a screen of images and videos that Instagram chooses based on factors such as overall popularity, your own location, and things you’ve previously liked. If you’re looking for accounts to follow and would rather not give Instagram access to your contacts, this is a good alternative.
It’s easy to do. From the home screen of the Instagram app, click on the magnifying glass icon on the bottom row. From there, you can find plenty of new accounts to follow.
If you tap on the search bar at the top of the Explore page, you can either type in specific accounts to follow or look through the three tabs that appear under the search bar for more ideas.
The person icon suggests accounts you might like, including celebrities such as LeBron James, or things relevant to your location, like nearby news outlets or concert venues.
The hashtag (#) icon allows you to search for topics you want to see. Many Instagram users include hashtags in their posts to make them easier to find (for example, by tagging a picture of their Saturday-morning waffles and eggs with #brunch).
You can search for and follow hashtags just like accounts. When you search, Instagram suggests related hashtags to help you find even more of what you’re looking for. For example, if a birdwatcher from Texas searches for #birdsoftexas, more than 16,000 posts appear. But the suggested hashtags have even more reach, including #best_birds_of_ig (862,000) and #birdphotography (3.9 million). Often, a couple of simple searches will lead you to the best hashtags to follow for your interests.
Finally, the map pin icon allows you to search by location, which is enabled by Instagram’s GPS tagging feature. The default is for posts close to your current location, but you can also enter search terms to find landmarks, vacation spots, or even favorite restaurants or state parks.
Keep finding great new Instagram accounts and hashtags
As you use the app, your favorite accounts will likely attract interesting comments from other users and include lots of relevant hashtags you might want to follow. Keep browsing, and you’re sure to find plenty of fresh content for your Instagram timeline.
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