If you feel like riding the Instagram wave like a pro requires all your focus, you’re not alone. Instagram is a unique social landscape where constant change and fluidity are the natural state, perhaps even more so than with other social networks. It’s a platform especially keen on staying ahead of the game, which is certainly one of the reasons behind its 1 billion monthly active accounts and a steady growth curve. The platform thrives in the evolving social media universe because of its innovative and adaptive nature.
And if you want to keep up and get the most out of it, you’ll need to catch on to all the trends and updates that the platform keeps churning out. That’s why we’ve rounded up the most important Instagram updates you need to know – so let’s dive right in.
The Question sticker
By rolling out the Question sticker for Instagram Stories, the platform has not only made the experience more interactive, but it has presented a golden opportunity for marketers to get closer to their audience. With this feature, you can run Q&A sessions that will be both engaging for the user and informative for your marketing strategy. You can ask your followers what they would like to see more of, what you can improve about your brand, and even include them in making certain decisions. Or, you can run a session where they ask you questions and you answer through Stories, which would encourage a real sense of community.
This summer, IGTV made one of the biggest booms we’ve seen in the social media sphere for a while. Rolling out its own channel for long-form video content was a big and bold move on Instagram’s part. This is definitely the biggest update of the year, and although everything grows old too quickly on social media, Instagram TV is still that big update that you can embrace to get ahead of the curve. Posing a potential threat to YouTube even, IGTV has huge marketing potential, and reputable digital marketing agencies suggest it is going to be an integral part of video marketing strategy. The earlier you adopt it, test it, and put it to use to increase audience engagement, the further ahead of your competition you’re getting.
The “Explore” feed has been refurbished to provide a more personalized user experience and actually enhance Instagram’s search engine potential. You’ve noticed that your “Explore” feed now offers categories at the top, organized by topics (for example – humour, entertainment, fashion, art, food, etc.) The categories are based on user preferences and activity, so for the average Insta user, this means a better experience with more relevant content. For marketers, it’s an opportunity to get found more easily and widen your reach. The channels actually have the most relevant hashtags suggested underneath – that’s what you need to get in on.
Big. News. Amazing news! Instagram rolled out shoppable Stories in June – and it’s a concept that works for everyone. It enhances the online shopping experience for the mainly Millennial Instagram audience, who already uses Stories to engage with brands, check out their products, and stay updated. As for marketers, the conversion potential of the platform they put so much effort into has just greatly increased. The feature is available to only a few brands right now, but Instagram plans to expand it in the future.
Sharing posts to Stories
This June, Instagram introduced the feature which allows you to share feed posts to your Stories, rather than having to take screenshots. You just tap on the arrow icon underneath a post and select “Add post to your Story” and then you can customize it if you want. The most important thing about this feature is that it links straight to the mentioned posts, so users don’t have to exit Stories and manually search for it. This way, brands can grab attention and announce their new posts, drive traffic to their older posts, or show their appreciation for followers and other brands by sharing their content.
Lo and behold, the latest trend – #InstaGiftGuide, this holiday season, Instagram has combined six popular trends from 2018 with products from 34 brands that would make great gifts. And thus, the shopping season was propelled to a whole new level. From getting an idea to finding the gift and actually buying it, people can now base their entire shopping experience on the platform. That’s all it is for now, but this is a concept to keep an eye on – and certainly great inspiration for your own marketing campaign.
If you want to thrive on Instagram, you need to be like Instagram – adaptive, inventive, and ever-evolving. Not every update is going to be incredibly meaningful for your strategy, but we’re pretty sure the ones we’ve singled out here in this article are worthy of your time. Then, there’s also the ever-changing Instagram algorithm whose subtle nuances you want to keep your eye on. We’ve got you covered for the time being. To stay on top of everything, we warmly suggest you follow platforms such as Buffer and Hootsuite for reliable Instagram news, as well as some social media marketing podcasts. Stay in the know, sail the Instagram waters, and don’t be afraid to tackle whatever novelty Instagram throws next.