You are going to want to read this, even if you don’t use Instagram. It can be used for seeing how your website looks and behaves on a mobile device that you don’t have. If you do use Instagram, this is going to save you a ton of time and frustration!

Despite it’s popularity with younger generations, Instagram is a very limiting social media platform, especially for business. It does not allow you to share or schedule posts, and you can’t add links to a post (except for paid ads or stories if you have a business account with over 10,000 followers). While other social media platforms all work on a laptop, Instagram does not. You must use a cell phone to post anything, which is both cumbersome and annoying. But there is a solution! In today’s article I’m going to show you exactly how you can post to Instagram from your laptop.

Now some of you might be asking, why would you even want to do that? Instagram was designed as a phone app – the idea being that you would take a picture with your phone, then share it instantly to the social media network. But there are at least three very good reasons why your cell phone is not the best tool for the job.

There are at least three very good reasons why your cell phone is not the best tool for posting on Instagram: DSLR photos, editing, and typing. Click To Tweet

For many of us, we want to take professional level photos using a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera with high quality zoom lenses and optics. Once you take the photo, you have to edit them using a program like PhotoShop or PaintShopPro, upload them to the cloud, then download them to your phone before uploading them to Instagram. Or email them to yourself and retrieve your email on your phone. Either way, what a hassle! If you want to edit the photo, the tools for doing so are much better on a laptop. Creating a meme is hard enough, much less an infographic! And finally, once you upload the image to Instagram, typing in a description on a cellphone is not much fun if you have more to say than a short sentence or want to paste in something you’ve already written.

So, here is how you do it!

1. First you need to be using either Google Chrome or Firefox as your browser. Go to Instagram.com and login to your account. Note: If you are using Safari, you can go to Safari > Preferences > Advanced. Check the box at the very bottom that says, “Show Develop menu in menu bar.”

2. Open up the “Inspect Element” mode. In Chrome, you do this by entering Cntl-Shift-I. In Firefox, you can right click on the screen and select “Inspect element”. (Note: Chrome opens the code window on the right, Firefox on the bottom). Ignore all of the code you see. The only thing you are looking for is an icon that looks like a phone and tablet.

Click on that icon.

 

3. This should immediately change the screen to represent the mobile view. You will want to adjust the “responsive” tab to be similar to your phone, and the “zoom” tab to be fit-to-window. At this point you can close the inspection code window if you want, and it should leave your screen in mobile view.


 4. You should now see what the screen would look like on your cellphone, including the usual + sign for adding a new image. If you do not see the plus sign, simply refresh your screen (F5 on a PC keyboard, or the refresh icon on your browser ↻). You can now add an image from your laptop just by browsing to the file like you would any other program. Scroll by using the wheel on your mouse, and of course you will be able to use your full size keyboard for entering descriptions and copying/pasting a list of hashtags.

As a side benefit, you can do a screen capture (shift-PrtSc) and share other’s posts by saving the image and following these steps to post from your laptop – the original poster is not given automatic credit, but your screen capture can certainly include the text and you can tag them in your post.

Screen capture to re-post

Another option for posting to Instagram from your laptop is Hootsuite, which also allows you to schedule posts (within the limits that Instagram imposes of course), but this requires a paid subscription.

Now, if Instagram would just allow clickable links within posts instead of a single link in your bio! (There is not a good work-around for that yet, but best practice is to have your bio link go to a page with a list of links you might want someone to click on – there are apps that do this, mimicking the look of Instagram, but you can easily set this up yourself on your own website which is better for branding). You can also add a shortened link as non-clickable text in the description. Some people recommend having multiple Instagram accounts, and mentioning the second account in the description (you can link to another account, just not a URL).  Of course, now that you can edit your photos and upload them from your laptop, you can add text to your images that identifies a webpage. The link may not be clickable, but it is pretty clear what the call to action is. For example:

If you like the information in this article, you should really consider signing up for WebStores University, where you will learn all kinds of great ways to take charge of your website. Feel free to share your thoughts about this article in the Facebook comments below.

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