Staying on top of social media updates can be challenging, especially as new features and tools for each platform are rolled out regularly. Social media is an ever-changing space and your social strategy should grow to reflect those changes.
The developers at Instagram have been busy this past year. With the introduction of numerous new features, we thought it would be a great time to highlight five underutilized Instagram features that could work for your brand.
On August 5th, Instagram launched Reels, its newest feature that allows users to create and share short, multi-clip videos with audio and effects. During the first few weeks, many Instagram users were excited to give Reels a try. While Reels can still be found throughout Instagram feeds, they haven’t taken off quite like Instagram Stories or their short-form video counterpart, TikTok.
If you haven’t tapped into Reels, now might be the time. As Instagram shared in their press release, “You can share reels with your followers on Feed, and, if you have a public account, make them available to the wider Instagram community through a new space in Explore. Reels in Explore offers anyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on a global stage.” Being able to reach a new audience through Explore as well as being able to share a new kind of content with your followers has huge potential for your brand.
Do some research and see what kind of Reels are resonating with Instagram users. Find your own voice within Reels and share content that is on-brand. Reels is a great opportunity to introduce yourself and your team members, share a behind-the-scenes look at your business, how-to videos, a before and after and useful tips and tricks.
Instagram Live Video
There are two key points that set Instagram Live apart from Instagram’s other video sharing features. Your followers get notifications once you go live, prompting them to check out your video and engage. Viewers can also comment on and react to your live video in real-time, making for a great opportunity to engage directly with those tuning in.
You can now also go live with another Instagram user. So whether you go live for 10-15 minutes by yourself to answer some frequently asked questions, plan an Instagram Live for 30 minutes where you share and cook a new recipe, or hop on Live with another brand or business owner to discuss industry trends, Instagram Live is another underutilized feature that could really work for your brand and help to build your community.
Protip: If you want your followers to be able to access your Instagram Live segment after it has ended, save your video to IGTV. Comments and viewer count will start over once it is saved to IGTV, but it’s a great place to refer followers back to if your Instagram Live contains useful or evergreen information.
Speaking of IGTV, this video sharing feature also makes our list of underutilized Instagram features. Before IGTV, all videos shared to Instagram feeds had to be under 60 seconds. With the introduction of IGTV, users can now share videos that are up to an hour. Recent studies show that 85% of businesses use video marketing as part of their strategy, and in even more compelling results, “88% of video marketers reported that video gives them a positive ROI”.
Just because IGTV videos can be up to an hour-long doesn’t mean that’s what you should aim for every time. Sharing 2-3 minute videos can be extremely beneficial for your brand when done right. We now rest our case for video marketing.
Shoppable Tags in Stories and Posts
Instagram’s shoppable tags allow businesses to integrate their online shop with their Instagram accounts so that products can be tagged within the posts and users can shop directly from the app. Instagram also launched shoppable tags within Instagram Stories so your products can be identified and purchased when a user taps on the tagged product. That means your eCommerce stores are no longer limited to “Swipe Up” to shop links, which require at least 10,000 followers.
With the ever-increasing popularity of Instagram Stories, shoppable tags could be a great way to drive sales directly through the app.
Last but not least, we’ve included push notifications in our round-up of underutilized Instagram features for a good reason. While we don’t think you necessarily need to set up push notifications for your business account, we do want your followers to receive push notifications from you. A study on push notifications found that “users who enabled push notifications engaged three times more than those who opted out.”
You can directly ask your followers to turn on notifications for your account. They will be notified when you publish new content, encouraging them to interact and engage with your profile. Help your followers by showing them how to turn their notifications on. Ask them to go to your profile, click the three dots at the top and simply select “Turn on Post Notifications.” When your followers enable push notifications for your profile, you are cultivating a loyal and trusted online community.
We would love to hear what some of your most-used or favorite Instagram features are for your brand on the app. If you aren’t sure if Instagram is right for your business or you just don’t know where to start on your digital marketing strategy, that’s what our team here at TargetMarket is here to help with. Contact us to set up your consultation and get started!