Four new features on Instagram you need to know about (and six tips you should consider!)
With major changes hitting Facebook’s News Feed soon, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Facebook-owned Instagram is getting some snappy updates as well. Whereas the Facebook changes may have induced anxiety is some social media managers, these Instagram updates are more tactical in nature. By incorporating the following updates into your Instagram plan, you’ll start seeing positive results sooner rather than later.
Putting the “social” in social media
Instagram can give your followers an intimate look into your brand – whether that’s your life, your business, or your product. Naturally, this means you’ll want to build a strong relationship with your followers, and one of the best ways to escalate this connection is by engaging with social influencers.
Collaborating with social influencers is like a really good TV crossover episode. Arguably, “Grey’s Anatomy” had a little extra oomph during the “Private Practice” days, and “Arrow” improves every time Barry Allen speeds into town. This is the same sensation your followers will get when a social influencer pops up on your channel or some of your own insiders see their favorite Instagrammers using your products.
Start connecting with social influencers in your city and industry today. Checking out local blogs (like your local theCityMoms blog), or even just following hashtags (like #VisitIndy) could provide great insights into the people making a splash around town. (We’ll revisit following hashtags below.)
Make the switch
If you haven’t already, now is the time to switch your Instagram account from a personal account to a “Business Profile” to gain access to analytics, scheduling, and paid advertising options. Just like the tools you already use on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see best times to post along with most successful content, the same is true through Instagram business profiles. Are you looking to promote posts or know who is looking at your content? Use demographics such as age range, gender, and cities to your advantage.
This is particularly important with the new algorithm Instagram is using. Instagram now gives priority to business profiles over personal profiles, plain and simple. Will your account show up more on the explore page? Yes. Will you be able to see if your posts are reaching more than just your current follower base? Yes. With so many advantages it’s negligent to not make the switch and start generating successful results for your brand.
Follow the leader
Since the creation of the hashtag, users have been able to search, piggyback, and explore others who use the same phrases on their photos and videos. This has been a great way to connect with like-minded influencers and brands while also building up your profile. Instagram’s new feature allows you to now follow hashtags so they show up in your timeline, even if you don’t follow the account that used the hashtag in its caption.
Instagram recognizes when business profiles follow hashtags and ranks them higher – increasing your likelihood of popping up on the explore page. These hashtags can be as simple as the name of your brand or cities or regions where your target audience resides. For example, as an Indianapolis Instagrammer, good hashtags to start following would be #DowntownIndy, #LoveIndy, or #VisitIndy, and for those on the sporty side, #GoColts and #GoPacers.
Spontaneity is king
If you’re not already using Instagram stories, now is the time to dive in. Instagram just launched new fonts and a searchable gif library to enhance every story, and Instagram supports live broadcasting, too. As we know from Facebook, live video where users can interact in real time with your account significantly increases your views. Instagram is the perfect medium to experiment with this.
If you prefer Snapchat over Instagram for your spontaneous content, it’s time to rethink that strategy. While Snapchat offers clever filters, Instagram has more than four times as many daily active users than Snapchat. With a larger audience pool and Instagram’s efforts to continuously launch new features, if you’re going to invest your time into one real-time story-sharing app, you should invest in Instagram.
In addition to the top four updates above, here are six more tweaks you should start incorporating into your posts immediately:
- Use no more than five hashtags per posted photo.
- Include the hashtags in your caption, not as an additional comment.
- Do not edit captions within 24 hours of posting – yes, even if you make a typo.
- Tag accounts in the actual photo rather than using the account’s handle in a caption.
- Use geo-locations for specific areas/restaurants/businesses – this is great for stories, too.
- Respond to comments within an hour.
- We know “response” can mean two different things on Instagram. Is it just a like? Or do you need to write a response to every comment? We’re still not clear on that just yet. It’s safe to say that you should acknowledge every comment. Some will be replies, some will be likes. The important thing is that you respond.