“In the past, people have looked at photos as a record of memory. The focus has been on the past tense. With Instagram, the focus is on the present tense.” – Kevin Systrom, Founder of Instagram
Instagram is a social network that enables users to edit and share photographs and videos with a network of followers. Launched in October 2010, the network acquired more than 1 million members within two months and the use and spread of the social media network has been on the rise ever since. Facebook acquired Instagram in September 2012 for USD$1 billion and now Instagram has approximately 500 million active users!
In recent years, Instagram has constantly been changing and improving it’s application to ensure higher user enjoyment, keep up with current social trends, and to provide users with opportunities for follower growth and awareness. We’ve put together a list of the latest Instagram features:
1. New Algorithm
In March 2016, Instagram developed a new algorithm which changed the way users would view Instagram posts in their feed. Rather than viewing posts in the order of when they were posted (most recent to oldest), users now view their posts ordered by the moments users care about the most, a user’s relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post. This controversial change received diverse responses from users especially from businesses who were worried that their posts wouldn’t be viewed as often. Not long after the new algorithm launch, Instagram released Instagram for Business in the hopes of addressing these concerns.
2. Instagram for Business
With an increase in the number of businesses using Instagram and an increase in the number of consumers interacting with them on the network, there was a push from the business community for Instagram to provide more. After conducting hundreds of interviews with businesses of various industries, Instagram identified 3 key needs for businesses; that businesses wanted to stand out (1), analyse insights (2), and seek new customers (3). Instagram promptly responded to the needs and wants of businesses by implementing three new features. Firstly, Instagram created ‘Business Profiles’ which is a free feature, allowing businesses to be recognised as a business on Instagram and providing them with a choice of how they want their customers to get in contact with them (via text, call, or email) with the tap of a ‘contact’ button. Secondly, Instagram developed ‘Insights’ which enables businesses to better understand the demographics and behaviour of their audience simply through the mobile application. Lastly, Instagram provided ‘Promote’ which allows businesses to benefit from well performing Instagram posts and turning them into boosted Instagram ads with customisable targeting options.
3. Instagram Stories
The newest Instagram feature, launched on 2nd August 2016, is ‘Instagram Stories’. This exciting new capability allows users to create photo or video stories (similar to that of Snapchat’s My Story feature) which disappear after 24 hours of posting. However, there are methods to save and download a user’s own Instagram Story. To enhance the enjoyment of the feature, Instagram has allowed users to edit the photo/s and video before posting by including additional text, filters, or drawing. First-mover businesses adopting the new feature have found it to assist in brand promotion and the generation of brand awareness. Users can also observe how many views their stories have obtained by tracking a view counter which also names the individuals who have viewed the user’s stories. As this is the first version of Instagram Stories, users can expect many more updates and features in the near future.
4. Influencer Marketing
Although not created by Instagram but a useful Instagram tool to know is a relatively new phenomenon; the emergence of Instagram influencers, which refer to users who have built a large following on Instagram. Their following may be sizeable and relevant enough for the user to charge other users for endorsement posts. More broadly, this term is known as Influencer Marketing and is being heralded as a breakthrough that creates new opportunities for marketers to better connect with consumers. Influencers themselves may be celebrities such as film or reality television stars, or specialists in a particular niche (such as food or fashion).
So, what are you waiting for? You and/or your business can quickly adopt the latest Instagram features and trends before everyone else does. For more information on how to discover social media success for you and your business, contact Social Media College today!