New Instagram features are being brought out so quickly you could miss it if you don’t keep up. Instagram remains the most popular social media channel for influencers and brands working with influencers. As a channel it is constantly changing and experimenting. Whether you’re a brand, an agency or an influencer, it is so important to keep on top of these updates and the best ways of using them to market yourself on this social platform.

Top tip: Keep your app on automatic updates so you are never late to the new Instagram features party. 

Does the Vamp platform only use Instagram?

The Vamp platform predominantly works on Instagram due to the popularity with influencers and brands. However, our model works across all social media channels. It is not limited to social channels either. The high quality content can be used for brand advertising assets anywhere.

What are the latest Instagram features?

We’re not even a month and a half into 2018 and Instagram has steam-rolled into the year with a number of exciting new features, updates and tests on the app.

1. Introducing… post scheduling

One of the latest Instagram features is post scheduling. The social media channel is now allowing certain business profiles to schedule posts on third party scheduling apps. This means that people won’t need to physically be on Instagram at the time of posting. They will be able to schedule a time for the post to go live and third party apps approved by Instagram will post it directly.

Previously, you could plan your Instagram activity ahead of time with the likes of HootSuite, Sprout Social and Planoly but it wouldn’t post to Instagram directly. You could opt to receive a notification to remind you to post but Instagram never allowed these planning apps to post straight into the app without human intervention.

 

Instagram features

This will help you to engage your international audiences for example by scheduling a post at 3am without you needing to lose out on a good night’s sleep.

Instagram says there are plans for the scheduling update to make its way to regular profiles by early 2019, though for now it is limited to business profiles only.

Top tip: even with the new scheduling feature, it’s not enough to simply schedule your post and forget all about it. The key to success as a brand and an influencer on Instagram is genuine community engagement. You need to be present whenever you post to answer your followers’ questions and reply to every single comment if possible. You’ve got to be careful not to lose the trust of your loyal, engaged following by relying too heavily on this feature. Equally, spamming them with too much content won’t work either.

2. Instagram Stories GIFs

Within a year of Instagram launching their Stories their daily active users went up to 300 million. Users report that they get more viewers on their Instagram stories than Snapchat stories which has resulted in many influencers shifting all of their efforts onto Instagram over Snapchat.

As of last month, one of the latest Instagram features allows you to add fun GIF stickers to photos and videos in your story to help capture your audience’s attention.

We have been working more and more with brands on converting influencer produced content into vertical videos for Instagram Stories ads. Many of our campaigns now involve an Instagram Stories element as well as a post to an influencer’s feed to double the impact of the message to the influencers’ followers.

Instagram features

3. Instagram Type

 

“Type” mode in Stories allows you to share even your most random thoughts with creative text styles and backgrounds – no photo or video required.

  • When you go into Instagram Stories you’ll see “Type” next to “Normal” under the record button.
  • Select “Type” and write whatever you like.
  • You can play around with different text styles, colours, highlights and sizes in the middle button at the top.
  • And emojis are welcome of course!

These new text styles are also available as a overlay on photos/videos in your Stories.

Remember, they’ll disappear after 24 hours like any usual Instagram Story.

Image from this source.

4. Screenshots

Gone are the days of the anonymous screenshots! Instagram will now alert you when somebody has taken a screenshot of a post in your Story.

You’ll be able to know exactly who is engaging more deeply with your content and how many people take screenshots of your content.

Taking screenshots is a great opportunity if you want to create content that your followers might want to share with someone else or read again later. Perhaps you included a recipe or a step by step guide in your Story which your followers might want to refer to after the time your Story ends after 24 hours. This might also help guide your decision making in which Stories to pin to your profile.

Screenshots are another reporting metric for brands utilising Instagram Stories as part of their influencer marketing campaigns too. Just as a comment on a post proves a longer level of engagement than a like, a screenshot of an Instagram Story proves a deeper engagement level than a view.

5. Business Discovery

This new feature allows users to view the profile info of other businesses. Mentions allows business profiles to view posts they’ve been tagged in.

These features are designed to make it easier for users to find their business and for businesses to connect with their audience.

6. Instagram carousel ads coming to Instagram Stories

Ads in Stories can now include up to three pieces of media (photo or video or text) instead of only being limited to one piece of content. This new addition to Instagram features is a natural step as it is something users can already do with the organic stories. Advertisers will be able to tell people a little bit more of a small story in their ads, rather than squeezing the message into one image or video.

They’ll have more of an opportunity to incorporate Instagram’s fun features like boomerang, text overlay and GIFs. Users will be able to interact with these ads the same way they would with a normal Instagram Story – pausing, swiping forward or backward.

The onus will be on the advertiser to come up with an engaging piece of content that doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb amongst all of the organic content as users will be more likely to tune out if its comes across as too hard a sell. It is predominantly a product placement not product endorsement channel. This is where Influencers and Content Creators step in.

For the difference between product placement and product endorsement – check out this article

Instagram is testing the new feature with a handful of advertisers like Gap, Coca-Cola and Paramount, before rolling them out to more users. You can see an example of this on Instagram’s Business blog here.

Video created for Instagram Stories ad for our campaign with NIVEA Sun.

What’s on the cards for Instagram updates?

Like any good business of the modern world, Instagram is constantly trialling and testing new features with its users.

Here are a few of their current tests which we may see being rolled out to general users:

  • Uploading photos/videos for vertical format: you’ll soon be able to upload your content without them being resized or cut
  • Shoppable posts: certain users are able to click on posts and be directed to a page to shop
  • Sharing posts to your story: allows users to share somebody else’s post to their Story
  • Thank you, come again!: allows some users to see who has visited their profile
  • Insta-video call: Instagram is looking into an option to video call with people using their messaging section

Read more about Instagram:

Instagram travel industry insights > 

Instagram beauty industry insights >

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Natalie Popow

Digital Content Editor | Natalie is a tea-loving Brit that moved to Oz in search of adventure and inspiration. She arrived early to the Vamp party and loves coming into work everyday. Content Creation, in her view, opens up game-changing opportunities for diverse creatives from all different backgrounds to shape a media that better represents the world. Her loves include: new book smell, old book smell and spoken word poetry.

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