There you are, feeling good about all of the hard work you’ve put into your brand’s Instagram presence. You finally have consistent uploads across Stories, Reels, Posts, and maybe even IGTV. Then, BAM! – Instagram released another new feature.
You think, “Yikes! Another feature I need to utilize to stay relevant!” Don’t stress, we’ve all been there. Instagram and other social media platforms like to add more features and tools to keep their users (and your followers) engaged on their apps. It can be daunting to keep up with updates to these platforms, but we’re here to help.
With 90% of Instagram users following at least one business, the demand for making your Instagram page stand out is high. Staying relevant and on top of the newest features is vital to increasing engagement, followers, and sales. Keep in mind that 77.7% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 44, with the most notable age range being between 25 and 34 at 31.8%. With that knowledge, you can assume the majority of your followers are tech-savvy and are keeping up with the latest app updates.
As the young social media guru on our team, I update our social platforms and have created a cohesive presence across social media and our platform. You can do this too with the use of Instagram’s new features. I will go over the four newer features that Instagram has unveiled recently along with ideas of how you can use them. Read until the end for some insight into other features that are on the horizon for Instagram.
1. Chronological Feeds
Chronological feeds are an exciting update for Instagram users. Now IGers can view posts in order of most recent posts to less recent ones. This gives users more control over what they see in their feed. And it means that all of your business’s posts can be seen rather than just those picked by an algorithm.
If your followers are in the Following or Favorite Feed (see below), then their feed will be in chronological order.
If you’re worried that your brand’s posts will become buried quickly, make sure that you post consistently and often.
While every business will find a slightly different day/time combination that works best for them, according to Sprout Social, the overall best times and days to post to Instagram are from 10 to 11 am Tuesdays through Thursdays.
2. Product Tagging for All
In April 2022, Instagram released Product Tagging for all users in the United States in the following statement:
Today, we’re expanding the ability to add product tags in Feed posts to everyone in the U.S. Creators and brands have been sharing how they use and style their favorite products on Instagram and inspiring their communities. Now we’re giving access to everyone to inspire those closest to them by enabling product tagging in posts. From supporting brands you love to helping your friends and family discover new products they may like, sharing products on Instagram just got easier.Instagram Blog
What does this mean for your brand? Now any user in the United States can tag products and brands. [insert oohs and ahhs] Exciting right? Your everyday customers can tag your products in their posts to showcase to their friends.
Wondering how you can benefit from this news? Create a hashtag contest and ask followers to tag the products they are using/wearing in their posts. This will allow you to gather valuable user-generated content (UGC) to share on social media, websites, emails, etc.
NOTE: To enter a hashtag contest, the post description must also include the contest hashtag.
3. Hashtags to Support Social Movements and Nonprofits
Another new Instagram feature is making it simple for users to support social causes through hashtags* such as #blacklivesmatter, #climateactivism, and #womensrights. Users simply search for a social movement hashtag and are given the option to follow or support it. If the user clicks the “Support” button, Instagram offers users the ability to easily spread the word with their friends or create a fundraiser for a nonprofit of their choice (currently only available to nonprofits and users in the United States).
The best way for your brand to utilize this feature, especially if you are a nonprofit organization, is to create a hashtag contest. While we recommend using personalized hashtags to stand out from the crowd, you can require followers to attach multiple hashtags to their posts to be entered.
For example, you can add the #climateactivism hashtag along with a unique hashtag so you don’t receive unnecessary entries to your giveaway. By creating a hashtag contest that uses a social movement hashtag, your nonprofit has a greater opportunity to increase traction and followers, with the potential for raising more money in donations.
Alternatively, you can simply inform your followers of this unique feature through social media posts (don’t hesitate to cross-post on different platforms!). When followers look up the hashtag you highlighted and see the option to support the movement by creating a fundraiser, they can choose your nonprofit to fundraise for.
If you are not a nonprofit organization, then you can easily partner up with an organization that aligns with your brand values. For example, a sustainable fashion brand might team up with a climate change nonprofit. Then, every entry into your hashtag contest can equate to a monetary donation (e.g. every entry is worth $5 donated to your chosen organization).
*At the time of this article, the list of hashtags is not available.
4. Instagram Guides
Last, but certainly not least, are Instagram Guides which were released in May 2020 and available for use by everyone in November 2020. While not a new feature in 2022, Guides are still a newer and underutilized feature. Guides allow you to refresh older content without having to do much work. There are three different types of Guides you can create: places, products, and posts.
How can you benefit from using Guides?
Guides can be viewed as a mini-blog; a collection of Posts, Reels, and Stories with information your followers will find useful. When a user clicks on a post within the guide, they are taken to your original post, or if it is a product guide, they are navigated to your shop. (Read: Guides increase traffic to older, but insightful posts.)
It is very easy to create Guides if you are in eCommerce, travel, or wellness, but it can be a bit more complicated if you are an agency or financial institution.
Here’s where you can get creative. Reach out to brands you and your employees love. If you are an agency, consider posting spotlight guides on brands you work with. Involving other companies in different industries will share your brand with different users, thus expanding your reach.
Collaboration across companies is not just limited to brands without physical products. Work for a sports team and want to showcase the team’s favorite dining options in town? Create a good eats guide. Want to share valuable information your company learned from other creators? Utilize the post guide.
Below you will a few guides I have found super creative and/or helpful.
Example of a Post Guide:
What’s on the Horizon:
Instagram released the news in early May that they are testing full-screen videos in the Home feed. This means videos will continue to be at the forefront of Instagram and their parent company Meta. So, if your brand has not gotten on board the Reels bandwagon, it is time to start! According to Instagram, 91% of active users will watch videos weekly on the app. Be on the lookout for more video-related updates as Instagram works to compete with TikTok.
Social media platforms are ever-evolving and keeping up with their latest tools and trends can help your brand increase engagement and ultimately profit. Specifically, Instagram has been around for 10+ years and is staying competitive with other platforms thanks to its feature updates. To stay on top of new social media features, subscribe to our blog.