It can be difficult to keep up with social platform updates. Especially when it feels like there’s a new update being pushed live each week. These updates come as no surprise, given the competitive nature of social media. However, the sheer number of new features might be overwhelming for marketers. We are here to help. Instagram, like most other current social media platforms, is packed with features and is continuously evolving to keep up with the social media landscape. Let’s take a look at the latest additions to the platform!
Instagram’s Key Features
Instagram Tagged Posts
Users can tag your Instagram profile and everything that you have been tagged in will appear under the tagged icon on your profile. The tagged icon is also a brilliant place for collecting user-generated content (UGC) and having the content here will also boost your social proof. As a result, make sure you encourage your customers to create user-generated content.
An Instagram filter is a feature within the social media platform that allows you to edit your photo with a single click by adding preset edits to the image that Instagram created for you. While Instagram filtering appears to be simple and enjoyable, it’s vital not to overdo it, especially for businesses that use their feed to convert followers into customers. Consider the three rules below to help keep your filter game in line with your business.
- Be consistent.
- Do not “over-filter” your photos.
- Ensure your Instagram filter choices stay “on brand.
Instagram has invested extensively in short-form and live stream video, from Reels to Stories to Live. Instagram has announced that its long-form video platform, IGTV, will be phased out in the near future. Since then, IGTV videos have been integrated with feed videos, and they now appear on a single tab in your Instagram profile. All accounts now have the ability to create longer feed videos of up to 60 minutes. That means you’ll have even more room to experiment with long-form video, as well as a dedicated tab. Long-form video may become even more worthwhile to invest resources in as tapping on videos will soon trigger full-screen viewing and scrolling. For more in-depth pieces of content, try experimenting with lengthier Reels and in-feed videos, to see how your audience reacts. Longer videos are great for providing even more value!
Gone are the days of missing out on opportunities due to a clogged inbox. Now, businesses and creators can easily identify and manage their collaboration messages in one place. The Direct Messages tab has a sub-folder called Partnership Messages. These communications bypass the request folder and are routed to the front of the queue, making it easier than ever to locate and manage branded content relationships.
Remember when Instagram Story links were only available to individuals with 10,000 or more followers? It’s now open to the public. A link sticker can be used to drive readers to your website, product pages, blog posts, and more, regardless of how many followers you have. Marketers who use the platform to boost traffic would benefit from this. Here’s how it works: when you’ve created an Instagram story, go to the sticker icon, and select the “Link” sticker. Enter the desired URL from here, and there you have it, you’ve got a link in your article.
Instagram has taken on the role of matchmaker. A new set of tools are being tested on the platform to help brands and creators connect. Let’s start with the creators: users can create a favoured brand list and add brands to it. When a brand is looking for creators to collaborate with, individuals that have the brand on their list will show up first in the search results. This makes it simpler for brands to locate creators who have already expressed an interest. Instagram claims that brands will be able to filter creators by follower count, age, gender, and location, which will enable them to “arrange shortlists to efficiently manage various campaigns.”
You’ve probably noticed this feature while scrolling through Instagram stories, but how does it work? Add Yours is a new Instagram story sticker. It’s really straightforward: someone creates a prompt and adds it to their story. Others can then add their own spin to the prompt. You can see everyone who has contributed to the thread by clicking on the sticker. If you make an Add Yours sticker with the suggestion “Outfit of the Day” for example, other users can respond with a photo or video of their own outfit. This feature gives the platform a new level of involvement. It is known to kickstart trends and difficulties due to its shareability. But it’s very effective for marketers in terms of starting discussions.
Instagram created a new social fundraising function in response to the economic impact of COVID-19. Users can set up fundraisers for their company or a cause that they care about. Instagram has experienced “a large wave of digital activism responding to the global conversation around racial justice” according to the company. This feature reflects a simple truth about today’s consumers: they are motivated by their beliefs. Consumers nowadays are seeking brands that actively make a statement on subjects that are important to them. It’s now easier than ever to organise fundraisers for such causes straight on Instagram. Keep in mind that all fundraisers are subjected to scrutiny. You’re ready to start raising money after you’ve been approved.
Most people don’t watch Instagram stories with audio very often, which is why the new caption sticker is such a game-changer. This feature converts what is said in a video into text so that people can watch it without sound. This feature is also accessible on Reels, the company’s response to TikTok, for some users. Audiences can now interact with your videos, whether or not they have sound. This feature also contributes significantly to the accessibility of Instagram content.
Instagram is now testing a new feature that allows you to co-author content with another Instagram user, which means that whatever you post will display on both of your accounts. On these posts, you can share likes, comments, and view counts. For brands, the collabs tool provides a new method to collaborate with influencers, raise brand recognition, and meaningfully engage with another community.
If you have an Instagram Business Account, there’s some good news: Instagram is intending to increase the data tracking time in Instagram Insights from 30 to 60 days. Third-party apps that enable a longer tracking period can finally be ditched by social media marketers. Instead, insights will make this information publicly available. This is an excellent example of Instagram paying attention to user input that has been seeking such an upgrade for months.
This year, Instagram introduced Subscriptions, a service that allows producers to charge a monthly fee in exchange for exclusive content and privileges. The way it works is that creators choose a monthly subscription price and a “subscribe” button appears on their profile. They can provide subscribers with a variety of incentives, such as exclusive live streams and stories. It’s part of a larger attempt to help creators make a living and stay active on the platform. This also allows producers to form stronger bonds with their audiences. This new feature arrives on the heels of Twitter’s announcement of a similar subscription model, Twitter Blue, and we expect more social media platforms to follow suit.
Visual Replies on Reels
Instagram has revealed a new way to respond to Reel comments – with another Reel. You can now generate visual replies to comments on Instagram Reels if you upload short-form films, similar to TikTok’s reply option. It’s a fun and interactive approach to interact with followers and leads, and vice versa.
Instagram is known to be a place where you can easily get trustworthy information and inspiration from your favourite accounts. That’s why they have launched Guides, a new way to get suggestions, advice, and other material from your favourite Instagram creators, public figures, organisations, and publishers. When you browse Instagram Guides, you’ll find posts and videos handpicked by the creator, along with helpful tips and guidance. You may access the original Instagram post by tapping on the image or video if you want to learn more about a certain post. You can make your own Instagram Guide using one of the three formats below:
• Places: Recommend places in and around your city (fantastic for tourism and hospitality businesses).
• Products: Recommend some of your favourite products (from your store or others). Products must be available on Instagram Shopping.
• Posts: Recommend posts you have created or saved.
You can then add your own captions and commentary to show your audience your brand persona, voice, and tone.
Instagram Stories Highlights
Highlights is a section on your Instagram profile where you can show off more of who you are by sharing stories you’ve previously posted. Instagram Stories have become an important part of how you express yourself, but there previously wasn’t an option to keep them up for longer than 24 hours. By grouping stories you’ve shared into highlights and featuring them on your profile, you can now more thoroughly express your identity. Stories Highlights display in a new section beneath your bio on your profile and you can have as many as you wish. From the best moments of your life to meeting the team, the interests and activities that matter most to you, or even product demos, have a place right on your profile.
If you run a business that relies on product sales, Instagram’s Shopping features can be ideal for you. Instagram is constantly introducing new e-commerce capabilities in an effort to support businesses on the platform. Businesses can now include shoppable product tags in feed posts and Instagram Stories, as well as have an “Instagram Shop” discovery page on their profile to highlight in-stock products.
With Instagram Shopping, you can create an interactive, visual shopping experience that develops connections and showcases your products to the world using real-time and pre-made content. Everything begins with you and your shop – your storefront on Instagram.
Your shop: People may browse products and explore collections in your shop, which is where you sell and share your brand story.
Collections: Collections allows you to personalise your store by grouping products into categories like new arrivals, gifts, seasonal trends and more.
Product detail pages (PDP): PDPs contain all relevant information about items in your product catalogue, including pricing and descriptions. They also pull in Instagram content tagged with the products and direct them to your website to finish a transaction.
Checkout on Instagram: Instead of sending consumers to your website from PDPs, Checkout on Instagram allows them to make purchases directly in the app. Checkout is currently available to eligible US business and creator accounts (although, it won’t be long before the feature is rolled out here in the UK).
Instagram Reels is a new method to create and discover short, amusing videos on the social media platform. Reels allow you to create fun videos that you can share with your friends or anyone on Instagram. With audio effects and new creative tools, you can record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos. You may share reels with your followers on your Feed, ad if you have a public account, you can also make them available to the rest of the Instagram community via a new space in Explore. Reels in Explore offers anyone to become an Instagram creator and reach new audiences on a global scale. On the left side of your screen, you’ll find a selection of creative editing tools to aid in the creation of your reels, including:
• Audio: Use the Instagram music library to find a song. You can also utilise your own original audio by making a reel out of it. Your audio will be attributed to you when you post a reel with original audio, and if you have a public account, users can construct reels with your audio by selecting “Use Audio” from your reel.
• AR Effects: To record several clips with different effects, choose from the many effects in the effect gallery, which were made by Instagram and creators all over the world.
• Timer and Countdown: Set the timer to record any of your clips without touching them. After pressing record, you’ll get a 3-2-1 countdown before recording for the duration you choose.
• Align: Before recording your next clip, line up elements from the prior one to help create smooth transitions for moments like outfit changes or adding new friends into your reel.
• Speed: Choose whether to speed up or slow down a segment of the video or audio you’ve chosen. This can assist you in keeping a steady beat or creating slow-motion videos.
Since its launch, Instagram Live has been a part of the Stories function. Initially met with some scepticism about how to exploit this feature, businesses and marketers have taken to it with great creativity to generate buzz around their products. Users feel a sense of urgency to view your live broadcast before it disappears because of its ephemeral nature. You can take advantage of this. Offer promotions, discounts, or giveaways during your live broadcast, but market it beforehand with short clips or posts to entice your followers to watch. Instagram Live is also a fantastic way to generate leads. You can ask your followers to submit questions ahead of time regarding any topic you’ll be talking about during the live broadcast. To simply collect questions, use the “Ask me anything” sticker on Instagram Stories. You can then respond to them in real-time. Your followers will appreciate you mentioning them, and the real-time interaction will increase brand awareness.
Instagram Carousel Posts
A post featuring multiple photos or videos that can be viewed by swiping or clicking left is known as an Instagram carousel. As a single post on the feed, up to ten photos or videos can be published and shared. Each image in your carousel can have a caption, alt-mage text, a geotag, and account and product tags, just like any other Instagram post. People can also like, comment, and share your carousel post. Instagram carousel posts are one of the most adaptable tools for achieving your Instagram goals. You can increase engagement, reach new audiences, and even drive product sales with the right strategy.
With accurate targeting and actionable analytics, you can advertise your business and reach out to your next customers with Instagram Ads. With a single tap, you may boost your posts and instantly turn them into an ad. Encourage new ideas and decide who is most important to your business, and then reach out to them using flexible targeting options. Set a budget that works for you as the cost to advertise is up to you. Choose a budget that meets your business objectives and change it as and when it’s needed. You can also keep tabs on your ad’s performance with insights, which will enable you to learn what works and enhance your ad performance over time. With simple and adaptable tools to help you achieve your objectives, you may turn any post into an ad by boosting it, or you can utilise Ads Manager for more advanced multi-platform campaigns.
Tip: Take advantage of curated formats to create attractive Instagram ads to achieve your goals.
Want to learn more about Instagram marketing? Here’s some additional reading: