Instagram has come a long way since June 2016. In under one year, we’ve seen major algorithm updates, the creation of business profiles, stories and now, collections. As social media marketing specialists, we work with a number of Australian businesses and the general consensus is that of confusion, now that Instagram is getting all tricked-out.
It’s no secret Instagram isn’t shy to “adopt” competitor features. Since being acquired by Facebook we’re seeing a very similar business profile system, complete with boosted post functions. It’s all but made Snapchat obsolete with the stories feature, and now it’s stomping on Pinterest’s territory with the collections feature.
So what are the actual benefits of all these new features to the business user? Let us review these features and explain the benefit to business, as social media marketing specialists:
To switch from a regular account to a business account is ridiculously simple and at this stage, we’re only seeing positives for the business user.
As Instagram explains:
“Business profiles are a free feature for accounts wanting to be recognized as a business on Instagram. With a business profile, businesses can choose how they want their customers to get in touch with them: call, text or email with a tap of the contact button as well as get directions. Business profiles also unlock access to insights and the ability to promote.”
This contact button is particularly handy for businesses, as it gives potential customers a one-step option for contact. Simply tap the “contact” button on the business’ profile and you’ll start the phone call in the Call app.
Some businesses are sceptical to switch to a business account as they fear their posts will become less visible (see: Facebook algorithm). However at this stage we’re not seeing any decrease in visibility due to switching (however this could change in the future if Instagram wants us to start paying for boosted posts).
There’s also the added feature of “insights” which provides full analytics on business posts. With this feature, business users can get to know what posts are getting the most engagement, and other insights to better understanding their audience.
The verdict: now is a great time for businesses to switch to an Instagram business account. With added features and currently no effect on post visibility, it’s a perfect fit for any business.
Instagram introduced stories back in August 2016 and by the end of 2016, had over 150 million users every day. Instagram stories are video or images which are posted separately to your feed, and disappear after 24 hours. You can add markups, stamps, use the Boomerang tool and even record live video to enhance your stories.
In essence, Instagram stories are considered totally separate to your regular Instagram feed. Some Instagram users engage with both stories and the regular feed, some just the feed, and others only the stories.
The point is, it’s another vehicle to showcase your brand – it allows you to be more “raw” and “behind-the-scenes” because of the transience of the content. The Live function is especially beneficial as it will actually notify high-engagers of your profile that you are live, therefore prompting users to log on directly to see you and your brand.
The verdict: your business should try leveraging both the standard Instagram feed, and stories to engage audiences. Different people consume content in different ways, so you need to get to learn how your target market wants to interact with your brand. If you notice a huge engagement on stories, that’s where you can then direct resources, however if you’re only getting a couple of views, be sure to funnel time and energy into a highly engaging profile.
NEW, NEW, NEW: Instagram Collections
You may-or-may-not know that you can “save” other people’s posts to your profile since December 2016. Any saved posts remain private (only you can see them). Now, as of this month, you can create different Boards – sorry – “Collections” to save these posts into. Just think Pinterest but… actually just think Pinterest. Because that’s exactly what it is.
Whilst this feature is so new there is yet to be any data released, we know that since December 2016, just over 46% of users have actually “saved” a post. For now, Collections remain private, however we’re speculating this won’t last long.
The verdict: don’t be afraid to jump on a new feature when it launches. Whilst Collections are still private, our prediction is that Instagram is trying to get users to categorise content and will eventually provide an option to make these boards public. If your business has already started using this feature, it will be ahead of the curve when new changes occur. So give it a go!
Source: The Next Web
Side note: Instagram Direct
Whilst this isn’t a huge feature, we thought it was worth noting that users can actually send you direct messages through Instagram. A lot of businesses don’t know this and potential client interactions can go cold if you don’t respond quickly. Make sure you check your Instagram Direct inbox to ensure you’re not losing any potential leads.
Source: Simple Help
If you’re thinking about getting your brand on Instagram, or need help building your brand presence and engagement, get in touch with Birdcage Marketing. We’re social media marketing specialists for micro, small & medium sized businesses, and would love to learn more about your brand.