Instagram – love it or loathe it, it’s the place to be, with 800 Million Active Users, and 60% of online adults aged between 18 and 29 using the platform every month. Like many other Social Media platforms, Instagram is constantly changing and updating, and has recently launched some new features that could be extremely useful to the one million plus business advertisers using the platform.
So what is this new functionality? Here’s a quick run down of five useful new Instagram features:
Video is still the marketing medium of choice for many Social Media marketers, with a third of online activity spent watching videos, and research suggesting that video content can generate 1200% more shares than text and images combined. So, if you aren’t using it already, make sure that Instagram Live Video forms an important part of your Social Media Marketing Strategy, and that your business embraces the new marketing opportunities that Instagram’s brand new ‘2 person Live videos’ can bring.
At the moment, the 2 Person Live Video feature is only available to iOS 11 users, though this functionality is on its way to Android too. To launch this new tool, open ‘stories’ and select the ‘live’ option along the bottom of the camera, pressing start to launch the live video. When you are ready for your guest to join you (as long as they also have the ‘2 person live’ feature), press the icon with two faces in the bottom right hand corner of your screen; their names should appear in a list entitled ‘Go live with…’, and to start your 2 person live, simply tap the ‘Go live with…’ button to bring the other person into your video. For viewers, a phone screen held vertically will be split in half, top to bottom, with you and your guest appearing one above the other. Any comments made by your viewers during the live video will scroll over the bottom image – the video of your guest – so if they have something important to display or demonstrate, it might be worth asking viewers to hold off on commenting until after the presentation has been made, or reconsidering how you demonstrate that particular product or service to your Instagram audience. When you want to end the video, just press the ‘x’ in the top right hand corner, et voila! You’ve completed your first 2 Person Live Video!
If you’ve been actively involved in your business’s social media marketing for a long time, you’ll understand the power of a question; asking your audience a question can have a significant and positive impact on the engagement (and therefore, visibility) that a particular post has, so the ‘polling’ features on Facebook and Twitter have proven particularly successful for a number of businesses. Autumn 2017 sees the roll-out of polls on Instagram too, accessed via the Instagram ‘Stories’ feature (if you aren’t familiar with it, it allows you to share multiple moments of your day via numerous photos and videos in a slideshow format). To create a poll, press the ‘sticker’ icon (the square with the face) at the top of the story screen and select the ‘poll’ sticker option. Once selected, the option to add text to your question and a ‘Yes/No’ poll box will appear on screen. Unfortunately, you are limited to 2 response options at the present time, but you have up to 26 characters to describe each option (if ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ won’t do!). When you have personalised your question and responses, click the tick in the top right hand corner of the screen and complete your story post. Despite the presence of improved statistical analysis on Instagram, the results of polls (as part of the ‘story’ function) expire within 24 hours of posting, so if you want to see how much engagement your poll generated, make sure you check the statistics prior to the story being removed.
If you sell physical products online, Shopify’s new integration with Instagram could be a handy new feature for you to make use of (once it is released fully, as it is still currently in testing) if you already use the service to sell products via Facebook. The new integration will enable businesses to tag products in Instagram images by linking them to products in your Facebook ‘catalogue’. Any posts that feature links to products in a Facebook shop will be identifiable by a small white shopping back located in the top right hand corner of the screen, and any customers who find your tagged products on Instagram can tap this link to view and buy a product without having to leave Instagram.
when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of your Social Media activity, there are lots of tools out there, but few provide the insight and detail that native statistics on Facebook, Twitter, etc. do. If you’re a fan of Facebook statistics, you’ll love the fact that you can now monitor Instagram engagement from the platform too! It’s now possible to keep an eye on the number of clicks and comments a post has, as well as manage the comments, without having to log separately into Instagram – this new feature really increases the convenience and usefulness of Facebook’s statistics.
Comments can make or break an Instagram post, and now you’ve got greater control over user comments to ensure that your business posts aren’t negatively impacted by abusive or Spammy content. Instagram have introduced greater control over who is allowed to comment on a post, as well as a profanity filter that now works in Portuguese, German, Arabic and French too. In addition to this, they’ve recently launched new ‘Threaded Comments’, where responses to a specific comment are staggered underneath the comment that they refer to, making it much easier to keep an eye on the progression of conversations so you don’t miss anything important
Instagram are constantly changing and updating their platform to add new functionality and ultimately keep users online and specifically using the platform for longer. To ensure that you stay up to date with the latest developments, keep an eye on our blog for more ‘top tips’ and handy tools in the future.
 Based on monthly active users – https://www.statista.com/statistics/253577/number-of-monthly-active-instagram-users/