This year, Instagram has introduced 5 major updates like video chat, a brand new video channel, music and questions for Instagram Stories, and an updated explore page. Wondering how you can use these new Instagram features for your business?
In the following post, we round up 5 of the biggest new Instagram features from this summer and how you can use them to grow your business:
#1: IGTV for Long-Form Video Content
We’ve spoken about Instagram’s new feature to take on video big-time- the IGTV.
Instagram’s very own video platform launched in June and is available on both the native Instagram app and the new standalone IGTV app. But the reason it stands out, compared to traditional TV experiences or YouTube, is that it’s only for vertical videos.
Videos can be 10 minutes for most accounts, and up to one hour for larger or verified accounts, which opens up a world of video opportunities. You can use IGTV to record some behind-the-scenes action from an event, upload a recorded webinar to share skills with your audience, showcase your products in an editorial-style video, or simply give your followers access to the faces behind your brand.
#2: Shoppable Tags Extended to Stories
Shoppable tags are an excellent feature that allows qualified business profiles to tag products in their images and videos, which makes purchasing a quick and easy task for customers. According to Instagram press, these tags have now been extended to Stories, which now has an estimated 300 million daily users.
When users see a stoppable tag in a Story, they’ll see a shopping bag icon, an image of the product, and a “See details” note. When clicked, this will take them to the product page, which will include price and description.
Right now this feature is still in testing and only available to a few select, big-name brands, so we don’t have a ton of info on it or a tutorial just yet. Still, this offers huge potential to businesses, and is hopefully going to be accessible soon, so stay alert.
#3: Video Call Followers from Instagram Direct
With the aim to bring people closer together, regardless of their location, Instagram recently launched group video chat.
The only catch is that you can only call followers that you have an active Instagram Direct conversation with and vice-versa. So if you want to call someone from Instagram, you’ll need to send them a DM first!
While this feature is primarily for bringing friends together and building real-life relationships, brands can potentially adopt the new video call function to improve services. For example, life coaches can call and check in with their clients easily. Or it could work as a more interactive version of chat support where a customer could video chat a member of the support team through Instagram.
#4: Instagram Music Sticker
The launch of the music sticker in Instagram Stories is yet another feature that lets you add more personality to your Instagram profile.
Available on Instagram Stories (for both videos and photos), you can now select from thousands of music tracks that fit the mood of your post with the new music sticker. Thanks to Facebook’s recent partnership with record labels, you can choose your favorite tunes from artists like Bruno Mars, Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris, and Guns N’ Roses.
At the moment, the music sticker feature is available to Android and iOS users in only a certain number of countries — but that could change soon!
Brands and influencer can take in this feature equally well! If you have a music business (for example you might own a vinyl records store, teach piano lessons, or even provide costumes for musical theater!) you’d be silly not to jump on this bandwagon! Even if you don’t run a music business, if there’s a beat you love and want to share it with your followers, just tap that music sticker and start adding a soundtrack to your Instagram Stories!
#5: New & Improved Explore Page
The new layout, which launched this month, was redesigned to help you discover more of what interests you. The new layout includes “Topic Channels” — you’ll see these across the top of the Explore page — along with a personalized “For You” topic channel, which has a mix of posts tailored to your interests.
You’ll also see topics based on the accounts and hashtags you most frequently engage with, and more general topic channels like art, sports, beauty, and fashion. There’s also a list of hashtags which will help you navigate to all the posts that have recently used that hashtag. With this new feature, it’s more important than ever for brands and businesses to focus on their hashtag strategy.
Over 200 million people visit the Explore Page every day to discover new ideas and find inspiration, and if you’re not including the right hashtags in your posts, you could be missing out on getting discovered by more users!
#6: New Question Sticker
Your Instagram Stories are about to get a whole lot more interactive with the launch of the question sticker.
While Instagram’s poll stickers and emoji sliders allow your followers to “vote” on a question you’ve asked, the question sticker opens up a whole new world of conversations via Instagram Stories.
For businesses, this is almost like a live Q&A with your followers and potential customers. You can find out what services they need or want, what part of your business or products they’re most interested in, or identify any pitfalls in your website copy that’s missing vital information your customers can’t find online.
All of these new Instagram features can be really easily implemented into your marketing strategy to help you engage with your business community and build stronger relationships with your customers.
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