How to use Instagram (and join our crew!)

If you’ve ever fancied joining Instagram but felt like it might be too complicated, we’re here to tell you different: it’s easy to learn and we’d love to see you on there! 
Mike, a crew member from West Kirby RNLI, photographed by @davidedwardsphotographer while on duty over the recent bank holiday weekend

Photo: David Edwards

Mike, a crew member from West Kirby RNLI, photographed by @davidedwardsphotographer while on duty over the May bank holiday weekend

Instagram is a photo-sharing app available on your phone or tablet – and it’s a great way to stay in touch with the people and causes you care about. Although apps can be intimidating, we’re here to show you the ropes! And best of all, you’ll get to see and share beautiful photographs and join our RNLI community on Instagram.

Another of our Instagram posts: dawn at Tower Lifeboat Station on the Thames
Another of our Instagram posts: dawn at Tower Lifeboat Station on the Thames

Let’s get started!

How to use Instagram

1. Download the Instagram app

You can do this by searching for ‘Instagram’ in your device's app marketplace (for example, the App Store on Apple or the Google Play Store on Android). And then tap the download button (which will say ‘get’ or ‘install’). It's free to download and use. 

Getting Instagram is easy, just search Instagram on your app store
Getting Instagram is easy, just search Instagram on your app store 

2. Open the Instagram app

Just tap the Instagram icon (it’s a purple, orange and pink coloured camera) on your device’s home screen.

This is what the Instagram app looks like on your home screen
This is what the Instagram app looks like on your home screen

3. Create an account 

Once you open the app, you’ll be asked to create an account. You can log in with your Facebook account (if you have one) or sign up using your email address or phone number. Next, you’ll be asked to come up with a username and password. 

4. Find friends to follow

Instagram will give you an option to find friends to follow from your contact list, Facebook or Twitter account (if you have them) or by manual search. You can follow suggested users by selecting the ‘follow’ button next to their names. When you follow people, their posts will show up in your homepage. You can also search and follow hashtags, like #RNLI, which gives you access to over 136,000 images!

You can add new friends at any time, so don’t worry too much about finding everyone right now! If you’d like to follow us, just type in ‘RNLI’ and hit ‘follow’.

5. Get used to the icons

The five buttons you’ll see at the bottom of your Instagram
These are the five buttons you’ll see at the bottom of your Instagram

Let’s start at the bottom of your screen. You’ll see:

  • a ‘home’ button which shows posts from all the people you follow
  • a ‘search’ button which allows you to look for accounts and keywords (like ‘RNLI’ or ‘beach’) 
  • a ‘+’ button to post a picture, which your followers can see, like and comment on
  • a ‘heart’ button to see your recent activity (which will tell you when you have new followers or people liking or commenting on your photos)
  • an ‘account’ button which allows you to see your profile – here you can add a short bio about yourself and add a profile picture.

In the upper left hand-side of your screen, you’ll see a camera icon. Here you can add a ‘Story’ – a temporary post which can only be viewed by your followers for 24 hours.

6. Make your first post

Tap the + button to post a picture. It's located at the bottom centre of your page. From here, you can add existing photos from your camera roll or take a photo. Here you can add filters and edit your photo. Once you’re done, tap ‘next’. 

Here you can upload your photo and add filters

Photo: RNLI

Here you can upload your photo and add filters

Next, you can write a caption for your photo, tag people (such as friends or businesses on Instagram) or add a location if you’re somewhere picturesque! When you’re finished, tap ‘share’.

Write a caption, tag people or add a location to your Instagram post

Photo: RNLI

Write a caption, tag people or add a location to your Instagram post

And there you have it – your first Instagram post!

Our favourite accounts

Stuck for who to follow? Here are a few recommendations:

@natgeo

Love nature? And stunning photography? National Geographic’s account, which shares the work of their supremely talented photographers, is the one for you. We’re particularly taken by the photo of the orca corralling a school of herring. 

@hellyhansen

If you like action-packed shots, try following outdoor clothing brand Helly Hansen. They post so many action-packed shots of sailing, mountaineering and skiing, it’s impossible not to feel invigorated. And did you know, they supply our new lifeguard and all-weather lifeboat crew kit?

@markehix

Chef and RNLI supporter Mark Hix’s account never fails to tantalise our taste buds and inspire our next dinner. We particularly enjoy his cooking tutorials, from baked spider crab to luxurious shellfish pasta. 

@watchandshoot_lifeboats

Photographer Stephen Duncombe’s account is dedicated to photographing RNLI lifeboats in action. And if his brilliant photos weren’t enough, the account is peppered with fascinating facts about lifeboats.

You can also follow your local lifeboat station and lifeguard teams – just search for them in the search bar (see step 5). 

Our lifeguards at Padstow Beach
Our lifeguards at Padstow Beach

Join us

Want to see more? Follow us @RNLI for photos of our lifesavers, action-packed rescues and a unique look at our lifeboats and stations. We’ll see you there!

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