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How Updating Your Instagram Means Updating Your Business

How Updating Your Instagram Means Updating Your Business
February 14, 2018 Keziah

Instagram is not slowing down any time soon. When it comes to updates, the app is constantly aiming to improve user experience while working alongside businesses to appeal to avid shoppers.

Unsure if Instagram’s relationship with business accounts makes significant impact? Well, according to the Motely Fool it’s estimated that Instagram brought in a cool $4 billion of revenue in 2017 (http://bit.ly/2EYbFcF).

Double Tap that fact.

The past few months have delivered some serious shifts in the Gram universe. Let’s take a look  at the whats, whens, and why these updates could help your account as a business.

 

What: Following Hashtags

When: Rolled out January 2018

Why: Just as you follow people, now you can follow specific hashtags. This is a huge deal for both branded accounts and user experience. Without having to search for and find related posts through accounts, users can pick a hashtag related to particular content – also allowing a path for accounts to gain exposure. Accounts can also pick up on quality User Generated Content that they may not have found otherwise by keeping tabs on these hashtags.

What: Story Gifs

When: Rolled out January 2018

Why: With a recent update to SnapChat that has most users not happy, changes and additions to the Instagram side are welcome. With already a few interactive features like Polling and attachments like moving GIFs, Instagram is definitely trying to keep the fun alive and fresh. Predictably, more people will start turning to the photo app to post their 24 hour tales, and in turn will be checking others’ more often. According to Instagram, over 300 million people now check in and view IG stories daily (http://bit.ly/2HcguA1). So, if your business is not already utilizing the story feature – take this as your sign to start.

 

What: Recommended Posts

When: Rolled out January 2018

Why: To clarify, these are different from ads that pop into your feed; ads are sponsored to promote the brand. Recommended posts are thrown in based off of what you presumably enjoy seeing, according to your pre-existing follows and likes. As a user, a big chunk of your feed now includes posts from pages you’re not actually following and companies you may have not actually have interest in, all jumbled up according to some weird algorithm order that we still don’t quite understand. One of the most confusing changes to date that Instagram has done is taking away the chronologically ordered feed, cause for unnecessary confusion and scrolling. That being said, this expands the reach of exposure for brands they may not otherwise get, and could potentially gain a strong new following from it.

What: Story Highlights and Archives

When: Rolled out December 2017

Why: As AdEspresso puts it: “2017 was the year of Instagram Stories.” From its introduction to array of graphics, the impact of IG stories continues to grow. Now, your best and favorite stories can be added into your own personal highlight reel – available to view at any time from your page. You can break these out into different themes (ex. ‘New Pup!” or “Best Friends”) and click to add posts directly from stories, saving them to Highlights. This is a great way for brands to hold onto quality content for more than just 24 hours for followers to see; not to mention, they’re easy to delete at any point.

Forget to add a post from your story to highlights after the 24 hour window? No problem. In December, Instagram also rolled out the sneaky Archive ability. All of your stories will automatically be archived after 24 hours in a private page only accessed by you. From here, you can select past stories to get included in your Highlights. And if you’re not a fan of this feature – you can choose for saved Story posts go to your camera roll, as opposed to Archive. But having access to past content indefinitely, in one place, without having to compromise your phone’s storage? Sounds like a win-win-win.

What: Live Requests

When: Rolled out December 2017

Why: Yet again, we saw another addition to the IG story development. On top of being able to go live – meaning followers can tune in and leave comments while you’re posting a story in real time – and being able to invite other active users to join in, the users can now request to join in. A useful example for this would be during a Q&A stream, encouraging users to join and ask their question(s) while live.

 

What: Sponsored Post Format for Influencers

When: Rolled out November 2017

Why: Forget the #ad hashtags buried in the bottom of a caption. In an effort by Instagram to keep general transparency along with facilitating relationships between influencers and brands, this posts include a subtle – yet noticeable – mention in the location tag. Followers are thus instantly aware that of the type of post it is, along with the partnership that’s promoting it. This is encouraging for Influencers to work openly with brands and vice versa, ultimately bringing the two more seamlessly together.

 

What: Shopify Integration

When: Rolled out *officially* October 2017 (Still in the process as not everyone has the capability yet)

Why: Instagram appeals to its shoppers; Shopify-based business expand their market. It’s a match made in heaven. Far less “Click the link in bio to shop!” captions needed. Instead, business pages can tag products (as long as these products are linked with a Facebook catalog) in photos just how they would tag people, prompting followers to click on products they’re curious about and carry on directly to purchase the piece. Just. Like. That.

(Note: We dove more into this feature specifically in a previous post, which you can read more about here).

 

What: Story Polls

When: Rolled out October 2017

Why: This was a great plus for the interactive side of Instagram. Accounts have the opportunity to include fun participation for followers, while also gaining insight on preferences for move forward initiatives.

 

What: Gallery Format Options

When: Rolled out September 2017

Why: We all know one of the favorite updates IG saw last year was the addition of the Gallery. Be gone, corny collages! Now all ten pictures or videos from that weekend trip to Vegas can be included, individually, in a single post instead of getting cut off in one weird grid picture. Not long after, the slightly tweaked feature let you pick photos and videos with multiple formats (as opposed to the same square) opening the range of content you want to post without having to reframe it through a third party app.

 

What: Comment Replies

When: Rolled out September 2017

Why: Larger scale pages and brands collect thousands upon thousands of comments on posts. Which, sure, are mostly friends tagging friends or one-liners not really expecting a response. But for followers that ask questions or initiate engagement, the ability to just hit ‘reply’ to a comment and create an individualized thread – as opposed to just fluffing one more comment to sea of other comments – was a much needed simplifier for active accounts.

 

Final Thoughts:

The point here is to stay ahead of the IG curve; read up on features that are currently in testing so you can start thinking of how to use them to better your business. Be prepared to try them once they become available. Find out what works better, what doesn’t work as well. Instagram is a platform built around active users – it’s an app that is always trying to step up its game to keep up with this modern audience. And each time it does, your business should be ready to capture the opportunity.

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