INSTAGRAM'S LATEST UPDATES: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Social media is one of the most rapidly changing aspects of digital marketing: since its conception more than two decades ago, it has changed almost beyond recognition and is showing no signs of slowing down. To ensure your social media marketing is successful in the long term, it’s vital to stay up to date on all the latest changes, but with so many different platforms out there, it can be hard to keep on track.

Over the past few weeks, Instagram has released a number of large updates to the platform, including Reels and Instagram Shopping. But what are these new features and how can your business make the most of them? Keep reading to find out.

Reels

Video sharing app TikTok was downloaded almost 115 million times in March this year alone, and Reels are Instagram’s way of getting in on this action. Unlike IGTV, which allows users to share videos up to an hour in length, Reels can be either 15 seconds or 30 seconds long, making them ideal for targeting mobile users who are looking for short and snappy content.

When creating a Reel, you can use background music and all manner of effects and filters to make it as fun and eye-catching as possible, or you can choose to keep it plain and simple. These videos will then be available on your profile and in the general Reels feed, and you can share them to your stories as well. For businesses, Instagram Reels are ideal for how-to videos, new product launches and promoting seasonal offers.

Shopping

We all know the struggle of encouraging followers to click the link in our bio to go to our website and purchase a product or enquire about a service, but Instagram Shopping is here to help. This feature enables businesses to create a customisable storefront on the app, making it easier for your followers to access your products, and a wider audience to find your profile.

Once your shop has been set up, you will then be able to include shopping tags in your regular Instagram posts that link directly to an individual product page. These detailed pages include images, price details, and recommendations of similar products as well as a link to the corresponding page on your site, to help you get even more qualified leads.

While the Shopping function itself has been around for a while now, the recent update has made it much more prominent on the app, being accessible via the homepage, and provides a more intuitive and user-friendly experience for both businesses and their customers.

Keyword Search

Up until now, searches on Instagram have relied heavily on hashtags and location tags. The new keyword search function however, is designed to make it easier than ever for people to find your content and, in turn, help to increase your followers, engagement, and conversions.

Keyword search allows users to search for a specific word or topic and any post that has that word in the caption will be included in the results. While this could mean that there is more competition within that topic, it does mean that you will no longer have to worry about using as many hashtags as possible, with five different variations of the same phrase.

Guides

As the newest feature to be added to the platform, Instagram Guides are still in the process of being rolled out to all users, but will soon allow businesses and creators to produce longer-form content directly onto the app, such as blogs, news articles and how-to guides.

Instagram’s USP of being predominantly visual-based still stands however, with these Guides needing to be based around videos and images that have already been posted on the platform. The Guides are sorted into three different categories: products, places and posts. These are perfect for companies to promote specific product ranges, produce style guides and recommend services.

 

Ultimately, all of these updates have been designed to help keep users on Instagram for as long as possible, instead of using multiple different apps and websites. This is not only beneficial to the platform itself, but it will also help businesses to organise more of their content in one place, promote it to their existing follower base, and ultimately reach an even larger targeted audience.

For more information about how you can use Instagram and all of its features to benefit your specific business, contact us today to discuss our social media consultancy or full management services.

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