Whenever an app updates on my phone, I search through every page on the app trying to find what features were updated, sometimes to no avail. It’s a never-ending cycle, especially when apps are constantly updating.

Over the past month, Instagram has been quietly rolling out some new features on their app. Everyone in our office is excited that users are now able to follow hashtags, but two other features had an even quieter entrance into the world.

Here are the 3 new-ish Instagram features that you might not have heard of yet:

Following Hashtags

In mid-December, Instagram announced that they are giving users the ability to follow hashtags, just like they follow other users. When you choose to follow a hashtag, results will be filtered throughout your normal feed. And just like following a user’s profile, you can also choose to unfollow the hashtag. As Instagram mentions in their media release announcing the update, following hashtags is a great way to follow your interests and passions.

Why is it important for your business?

From a business standpoint, it will be a great way to interact with users who have used your hashtag in their posts. By following your client’s hashtag, community interaction will be that much easier to manage.

Hidden Commenting

Just a week and a half after Instagram announced that users will now be able to follow hashtags, they silently rolled out another new feature. And unlike before, they didn’t even announce the update via a media release. Instagram has introduced a new commenting feature that doesn’t show up until you have been viewing a post for more than five seconds. If you’re checking your app now to see the comment section appears in five seconds, just make sure your phone and the app are both updated to the latest version. An “Add a comment…” box will appear under any photo that you pause at for more than five seconds when you’re scrolling through your feed.

Why is it important for your business?

This new feature subtly encourages users to engage with your content, especially if they find it interesting enough to remain on for more than 5 seconds. We can only hope that this will correlate with even higher engagement on the popular platform.

Recommended Posts

Keeping with December’s update rollout pattern, Instagram released an additional change to their platform just a week after hidden commenting appeared. The company didn’t release a formal notice of the app’s update but Instagram users will start seeing a new addition to their app. You’ll now be able to access recommended posts for you based on the activity of the accounts you follow. Not everyone has the update yet (including me) but soon enough, a “Recommended For You” thumbnail will appear above your feed where recommended content will populate.

Why is it important for your business?

This is another great perk for your business’s presence on Instagram. If a user likes content that is similar to the content that you are posting, there is an even greater chance that the user will be served your content under their recommended posts tab now.

So while Facebook’s latest announcement might not be in favor of a brand’s organic content, all three of these new Instagram features seem to encourage increased engagement. But if you’re not spending your extra hours of the day combing through an app to see if anything has changed, that’s what we’re here for. In an ever-evolving industry, it’s nice to have a digital marketing team on your side.

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