The New Instagram Features Your Brand Needs To Know About
Find out about the new Instagram features your brand needs to know about. With updates to the platform rolled out last month, there are new opportunities.
Instagram has been VERY busy of late. The social media platform has introduced some exciting new features, many of which can and should be implemented and/or monitored by your brand as soon as possible.
Most of these changes have been designed to help businesses during COVID-19; they may seem small, but each new feature plays a special role in attracting your brand’s desired consumer, simplifying the sales process, improving online safety, and highlighting relevant information to each individual Instagram user.
These great platform updates include:
1. The introduction of ‘Guides’
This week, Instagram launched a new feature called Guides to support wellbeing and positive mental health on its platform. The current climate is very taxing on mental health and anxieties are being greatly exacerbated, so this update could not have come at a better time. Our (Hello Social's) very own client, Headspace Australia was one of the first accounts in Australia to showcase it!
The mini-website features in its own tab on users’ profiles (pictured above). It aggregates a range of Instagram content that contains expert tips, resources, and ways to maintain a healthy headspace, all in the one easy-to-use section.
Guides content can be shared to both Instagram Stories and in direct messages to other platform users, and it will even start appearing in the Explore tab in the coming days. For now, this feature is limited to the wellness/mental health sector, but it will most likely be made available to a range of businesses and topics in the not-so-distant future.
2. The release of a ‘Support Small Business’ Sticker
You have probably seen it a used a few times by now, but Instagram's new ‘Support Small Business’ sticker is a really fantastic way of helping people discover and support small businesses during COVID-19. Users can show their love for businesses by mentioning its name directly via the sticker in their Instagram Stories (pictured above). Why is this so great?
Firstly, it gives a user’s followers a preview of the small business they have just promoted, and secondly, the shout-out will be added to a shared Instagram Story (pictured above) so everybody can see which businesses those they follow are supporting.
This means businesses are able to increase their reach, target new customers, and improve their brand awareness. It’s also a free and easy way to showcase your support for other small businesses in your industry, especially those in need of a little boost during this time. If they return the favour, it’s a win-win.
3. The launch of ‘Shops’
In an announcement a few short days ago, Instagram introduced Shops. “Shops is an immersive, full screen storefront that enables businesses to build their brand story and drive product discovery — all in a native shopping experience” (Instagram Business Team, 2020).
This innovative shopping experience was launched to help struggling businesses shift their business models to the online space; they are free, and very easy to implement.
Why does your business need this? For one, it provides another opportunity for consumers to browse and buy the items they love, just as they would on your website. They never even have to leave the app (super convenient and very user friendly). Secondly, Shops can be found not only via your business’ profile, but in other users’ feeds (including the Discover section) and in Stories too.
Of all the great features that have been released by Instagram, this is one of the most beneficial to your brand. Implement it sooner rather than later, as eyes are still very much glued to screens as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
4. The ability to delete comments in bulk
Many of Instagram’s new features are aimed at making the platform a more positive place for its users. The company is currently in the process of rolling out the ability to delete comments in bulk (pictured above) and block multiple accounts at once. Users will be able to remove hurtful, abusive commentary more efficiently to help maintain a positive environment.
This update won’t just help brands or influencers with large followings, but anyone in need of assistance against cyberbullying. This is the kind of moderation tool users need to protect themselves and a step in the right direction for the betterment of both the platform, and the users themselves.
Only some of these features will be applicable to your brand, but implementing the ones that are relevant will be critical to your strategy moving forward. From helping small businesses thrive, to tackling online bullying, Instagram has really stepped it up and is offering its users more now than ever before.