INSTAGRAM’S LATEST Updates demystified
Yawn Marketing – No Boring Answers
Instagram has launched a bunch of new features this month. With constant social media updates, it can be difficult to know which are worth adopting into your social media strategy.
Instagram tends to favour accounts who use their new features by boosting their reach and positioning them more generously within the algorithm, so it’s recommended to try out any which you think could genuinely benefit your business or online presence.
Today, we’re exploring the 3 most recent Instagram features and their benefits for your business.
If you’re familiar with TikTok, Reels have the same concept. With a (suspiciously) similar format, Reels are Instagram’s answer to the recent popularity of short, entertaining video content.
Users can create and post videos of up to 30 seconds in length. These clips are then shown to users, within the ‘Reels’ tab, who the algorithm thinks will enjoy their content and are boosted when they receive engagement.
What are the benefits?
Similar to stories, Reels are a great way to show your face to your audience and personalise your brand. In the space of 30 seconds, you could introduce a team member, explain a product, or share some expert knowledge – instantly making your brand more approachable to your followers.
If you’re worried about affecting the aesthetic of your grid, you can choose to hide the video from there and just keep it in your own ‘Reels’ tab on your profile. Alternatively, you can upload a cover photo from your images, so you could make one that complements your feed style.
Facebook has updated their shop feature across Facebook and Instagram. Previously, the shop was just a collection of products from your catalogue that had been tagged in posts. Now, the shop can be customised with brand colours and selected hero images. Businesses can also curate products from their catalogue into ‘collections’ which sit within a tab of their profile.
Additionally, Facebook has updated the functionality to allow for in-app payments. This update means that users can now see a product in a post, click on it, and complete the purchase without leaving the app.
What are the benefits?
First and foremost, customisation of the shop is very exciting. Until now, businesses had no input on what their automatic shop looked like; aside from adding and removing individual products, there was little more you could do. Using your brand colours for buttons may seem like a small bonus, but it really helps with elevating the customer experience.
The ability to build ‘collections’ is another great addition. Instead of an endless stream of products, you can group products into relevant categories, in the same way that you would on your website, i.e. Cushions, or Christmas Jumpers. Not only does this improve the customer experience, but it allows businesses to change or rotate the order of collections depending on promotions or popularity.
Lastly, the in-app payment functionality is a big change. Currently, a lot of businesses are still choosing to send users to their websites to checkout, but once this feature has been properly developed and tested, we’re sure it will become incredibly popular. We know that users don’t like to leave applications and we equally know that the applications don’t like us sending users away to visit our websites, so in-app payment is sure to become commonplace in future.
Guides are the latest addition to Instagram’s content types and are essentially mini blog posts. Any account (businesses and personal accounts) can create three types of guide: Places, Posts, and Products – these are collections of locations, Instagram posts, or Facebook shop products that you can accompany with your own commentary.
What are the benefits?
Consider guides to be mini blog posts on Instagram; you can share more substantial information or knowledge with your followers than you can via a standard post. Each type of guide has its own purpose and could benefit a different type of business:
Places: This is where you can choose locations that are registered on Instagram (i.e. your local café) and organise them in one post. You can select a photo that has been shared at each location to feature in your guide. Places guides are perfect for travel guides, restaurant recommendations, and promoting local businesses.
Products: This is where you can organise a list of products from Facebook shops (yours and those belonging to other businesses). Products guides are ideal for gift guides, lists of favourites, or catalogues of your own items.
Posts: This is where you can organise multiple Instagram posts into one list. If you post certain things that all belong to a certain subject field, you can group them all together so that your followers can find them easily, for example: ‘Social Media Tips’. We recommend using this feature to organise your own posts, but you could also create guides of your favourite posts, products, or tips from other accounts that you think could benefit your followers.
Social Media platforms are constantly evolving and bringing out new functionality. Don’t feel obliged to try out every new feature if it’s not going to benefit your business. However, considering Instagram tends to boost accounts that use their new features, it’s often a good idea to try them out, even if they don’t become a permanent part of your social media strategy.
Author: Grace Appleby