Social Media

Instagram web: how to use Instagram from your computer?

Whether it’s through wall posts, Stories or the new Instagram TV , Instagram has made a name for itself in the daily life of marketers.

If you usually work from the computer, it may be more useful to use Instagram web , but you may not be very clear how to do it or if you can do the same things as from the mobile version. Therefore, in this article we explain the secrets of Instagram web.

Instagram web and app: similarities and differences

When Instagram launched in October 2010, it only had a mobile version. It was a social network that was designed to portray your daily life, apply different filters to photos and upload them, so surely its creators thought that it did not make much sense to create a web version.

This changed in November 2012, when the instagram.com domain was launched and anyone was allowed to view user feeds from the computer. However, this version had many limitations: you couldn’t use the search bar or view a feed of posts from multiple users.

Little by little, the web version was enriched with new functionalities, but it has always been kept in the background with respect to the application. Today, this is what you can and cannot do with Instagram web.

What can be done on Instagram web

  • Log in with your regular Instagram user account and see your news feed, Stories and notifications.
  • Interact with the publications and Stories of other users.
  • Pause the videos . This functionality is only present in the web version; on the mobile, when we touch on a video, the only thing we can do is activate or stop the sound.
  • Send direct messages (from early 2020).
  • See live broadcasts . For a long time, this feature was exclusive to the mobile version of Instagram. But since last month, Instagram web users can already see the direct ones from their computer. In fact, many users prefer this option, since logically the videos can be seen with a larger size and also the comments appear on one side of the video, instead of overlapping.
  • If you are very overwhelmed, you need to disconnect and want to unsubscribe your account for a season, but without deleting it, this can be done from the web version. You will temporarily deactivate your account and it will be activated automatically when you log in again with your access and password.
  • Publish videos from 1 minute to 60 minutes on Instagram TV , allowing the first minute of the video to be published in your feed automatically.

What can not be done on Instagram web

  • Publish photos and videos (up to 1 minute) in the feed or stories directly . If you do Instagram marketing, surely you would love to be able to manage this network directly from your computer. But in principle, the functionality of uploading publications is limited to the mobile version.
  • Use Instagram Shopping . Instagram web is not compatible with Shopping, so images with tagged products appear without these tags.
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Without the option to publish photos and videos, it seems that marketers have no choice but to use the mobile to upload content … but wait! There is a shortcut to use full-featured Instagram web . In the next section we explain it to you.

How to use Instagram web from your computer

Login and browse

If what you want is simply to consult a public Instagram profile in your browser, just enter the URL of that profile, for example, https://www.instagram.com/jaimealtozano/

But in order to use the other functions of your account, logically the first step is to log in . To do this, enter your username and password at www.instagram.com

Once you do, you will come across the Instagram feed you already know, but in an expanded version. The information is displayed in two columns, with a toolbar at the top.

The main column on the left is the site where your feed posts are displayed . You can scroll to see what’s new, click to see several photos in a gallery, watch videos (with the pause function we mentioned before), like a post or add your comments. Basically you can see everything you could see in the mobile app.

You can use the Browse button to browse the most popular posts of the moment or the heart icon to see your notifications.

In the right column you will find the Stories section . If you click on a user’s profile, you will see their Story. Instagram automatically plays the next Story, but you can also click on the right side of one Story to switch to the next. As you can see, the functionality is very similar to the version of the application.

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To view an Instagram Live video, simply click on the “Live” tag next to the story in question.

Send direct messages

As we mentioned before, for a few months Instagram web also allows you to use the direct messages version, although with some limitations:

  • What you can do : create new groups, send stickers and share photos from your computer.
  • What you can’t do : send ephemeral messages or GIFs.

To use direct messages from Instagram web , follow these steps :

  • Open Instagram web in your browser and click the direct messages button.
  • You will see an interface with two panels. You can click on a conversation to start sending messages there or press the New Message button to create a thread or group from scratch.
  • In the pop-up window that appears, type the name of the account or person you want to send the message to. If you want to create a group, select multiple users. Then click “Next” to start the conversation.
  • You can also click the direct message icon from any post to send it to a conversation (just like in the mobile app).

Post videos to Instagram TV

If you have incorporated Instagram TV into your marketing strategy, you should know that you can publish your IGTV videos directly from the web .

This functionality allows you to upload much longer videos than is usual on Instagram, up to 60 minutes long. The option to upload them directly from Instagram web avoids having to send large files to mobiles. Let’s see how it is done step by step:

  • Login to www.instagram.com as explained before.
  • Click on the Instagram TV option.
  • Click the “upload” button.
  • Click on the “+” icon and choose the video you want to upload from your computer. You can also drag and drop the file.
  • Add an appropriate title and description for your video content. Remember that you can share a preview of the video in your feed and your Instagram profile, or on your brand’s Facebook page.
  • Click “Publish” and … voila!
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TRICK: Post photos and Stories on Instagram web

Finally, we are going to see the definitive trick that allows you to use Instagram web with all the functionalities of the mobile application, including publishing photos and videos .

The basis is very simple: it is about “convincing” Instagram that you are actually browsing from a mobile phone. To do this, you have to change what is known as the user agent or “user agent” of your browser. It sounds complicated, but in reality it will only take a few clicks. This option is available in all major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari. For detailed instructions, I recommend you search for “change user agent” + the name of the browser you are using .

Once you have changed the user agent, the tab you are in (in this case, the Instagram one) will change to the mobile design. If this doesn’t happen, refresh the page to see the changes.

If you prefer a more permanent solution so that you are not continually updating the user agent, another option is to install the Vivaldi browser (from the creators of Opera), which has a version called “Web Panels” that allows displaying the mobile version of a site from the Web.

In either case, you will have managed to open the mobile version of Instagram in your web browser , so you already have access to the option to publish photos and videos. Just click on the “+” icon at the bottom. A window will open to choose photos and videos from your computer. Then, you can edit it with the same options as in the mobile version, write captions, add locations and tag users.

If you want to post a Story , click on the camera icon at the top left of the screen. Choose your photo and personalize it, but keep in mind that you cannot add augmented reality effects. When you’re done, click “Add to my story” and … voila! You already have everything you need to do Instagram marketing from your computer.

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