Did you miss the latest Instagram changes? Wondering which new updates are important to marketers?
In this article, we explore changes from Instagram that matter for marketers.
This article was co-created by Natasha Pierre, Jerry Potter, and Lisa D. Jenkins. For more about Natasha, scroll to Other Notes From This Episode at the end of this article.
#1: Instagram Content Tools
Multi-Collaborator Instagram Collabs
Previously, Instagram Collabs allowed two accounts to create collaborative feed posts or reels that published to both accounts’ feeds. As of June 30, 2023, Collabs can be created among four accounts.
Our Take: The most obvious use case for Collabs is co-creating content with another brand or person so both of you reach new people via the audiences of both accounts. A less obvious but just as valuable use case involves Collabs between accounts owned by the same person or business. Many founders have a personal account and a company account, and many brands have a general account as well as specialized department accounts for “men,” “women,” “home,” and so on. This new multi-collaborator feature allows these users to cross-promote a product, service, or sale across their Instagram ecosystem.
Subscriptions Roll Out Globally
Instagram subscriptions were piloted in the United States to allow creators to monetize their content by letting them place exclusive Instagram content behind a paywall. On July 24, the platform announced that it’s expanding subscription access to creators in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom over the coming months.
Our Take: While you may not identify as a creator because you use Instagram to market a brand and its products or services, subscriptions do have a place in your strategy. Here are a couple of ideas for content you can place behind a paywall:
- Exclusive stories featuring Q&As: As a way to encourage people to pay for your stories, you can create a Highlight album that allows only subscribers to see the actual content. Your followers will be able to see that the Highlight album exists.
- Exclusive deals: Share promotion codes, sales, and limited-time offers that are only available to subscribers. This will work for boutiques, restaurants, regional tourism accounts, and other businesses.
#2: Instagram Reels Templates
Instagram released Reels templates to make it easier for people to create reels. To find those templates, however, you had to scroll through multiple reels until you found one using a template you liked. Now you can simply open the template browser to find templates in three categories: Recommended, Trending, and Saved Templates or Audio.
To find the template browser, open the Reels tab and tap on the camera, then Templates at the bottom of the screen.
Soon, text and transitions used in the original reel will also be automatically added to your reel. You’ll be able to edit preloaded elements, as well as adjust the number and timing of clips in your reel.
#3: Instagram Direct Messaging
To fight spammy Direct Messages, people you don’t follow are limited to sending you a single DM and the format of that message is restricted to only text.
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Our Take: This update will add a marginal bit of spam relief for many accounts but it also puts a new level of responsibility on the shoulders of community managers for brands. They’ll have to carefully consider which requests to accept so they don’t accidentally deny requests from genuine customers and community members with valid reasons for sending a private message.
#4: Instagram Threads
Threads launched early in July and several marketers, creators, and brands have since joined the new platform.
Our Take: Because Threads is new, it presents a valuable opportunity for discoverability with new audiences and a new way to reconnect with Instagram followers who may not see your content in their Instagram feed. For example, Natasha Pierre is using Threads to great advantage by sharing more content such as personal interests and hot takes about business, in addition to carefully selected business education tips.
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#5: Instagram Stories Product Tags
Instagram is currently testing a feature that seems to be aimed at improving in-app commerce—automatically placing product tags in stories for items that are detected by AI.
Our Take: Similar to product tagging in feed posts, tags in Stories is potentially more valuable because Stories is typically where your most trusting and warmest leads are. If your business is using an Instagram Shop, the journey from discovery to purchase will be shorter because customers can shop without exiting the app. As much promise as that use holds, imagine the ripple effect of automatic product tags in creators’ and customers’ content that mentions your products in their stories.
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