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MARKETING TIPS FROM THE PROS
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2020 Instagram Updates: A Recap for Small Businesses

Nov 11, 2020 Gina Bracamonte View all posts by
Gina Bracamonte

These last few months have presented tremendous trials and tribulations for businesses and individuals. As a result of those challenges we’ve seen a number of technological advancements designed to benefit brands and creators.

Companies are leveraging their platforms and technologies to offer unique and creative solutions to support small businesses and creators during these difficult times. Instagram is one of those brands. They’ve rolled out a number of new features and advanced functionality to help support their brand and creator ecosystem - and the features didn’t disappoint!

Here is a quick, down-and-dirty recap of Instagram’s most recent and impactful updates this year.

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels is the platform's newest upcoming feature, allowing users to post 12-second videos and publish it in a “story-like” format. There will also be a new Reels tab on your profile where the videos will be easy accessible and able to watch at any time! Watch out TikTok, Instagram Reels are coming for you.

Who Can Benefit: Any creators + brands producing unique video content

How To Use: Feature short, engaging + entertaining video clips to capture your audience's attention and create a quick but lasting brand impression

 

Instagram Shop

We love this new functionality! Instagram Shop for Creators is one of the coolest new features recently released. This new feature allows you to see where your favorite influencers get their clothes and accessories and then shop them - a dream come true for many consumers (and creators)!

Simply tap on a photo with the shop icon and be taken to the website where you can buy any of the items. In addition, Instagram’s explore page also has a “shop” tab where all brands are stored together, making it that much easier to break your bank a little bit.

Who Can Benefit: Any creators or influencers

How To Use: Tag products you’re in partnership with to earn commissions on your sales

 

Instagram Checkout

We are stoked for brands to access the newest feature launching July 9th - Instagram Checkout. One of the biggest barriers e-commerce brands face is a clunky, complicated or slow checkout process, losing a high percentage of prospective customers in the process.

With Instagram Checkout, brands can now showcase their products and users can complete the checkout and purchase process - without ever leaving the app! This is big news for brands that have yet to create or optimize their own websites. But be warned, managing your brand’s owned assets (like a website) is still a critical part of your strategy, as you don’t want to be at the complete liberty of third party platforms.

Who Can Benefit: Any brands with products or services to sell

How To Use: Create a post and tag your offering to allow viewers to click through to purchase

 

Instagram Guides

COVID-19 has created unique challenges and hardships for nearly every individual (and business) on the planet. At first, Instagram stepped up to provide resources and support by creating a new feature that relates directly to the well-being and mental health of a person. But now, this feature is available to all accounts, even if they don't deal with health-related matters! 

To access an Instagram Guide, visit the profile of the creator and select the new Guide icon from the feed tab. 

Guides can also be easily posted to stories, making your posts that much more shareable! 

Who Can Benefit: Literally everyone 

How To Use: To create a guide, go to your profile and select the "+" icon in the top right corner. Then tap "Guide" and choose your guide type to get started. 

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Green Screen and AR Instagram Story Filters

Jealous of those big brands' fancy stories? Well, with this new feature spicing up your Instagram stories just got a whole lot easier.

Instagram’s new green screen filter allows you to take a live photo and insert any background you want, taking you anywhere you want to be. We also now have the ability to add AR filters directly to pictures from your camera roll- how cool is that?!

Who Can Benefit: Any creators + brands creating stories or posts on Instagram

How To Use: Mix it up and add some fun & entertaining elements to your posts with these features (keep consistent with your brand so the new elements still align!)

 

Carousel Posts

One of the easiest ways to get a message across without a lengthy caption is utilizing carousel posts! This means by posting a variety of images that contain relevant information to the post. This can be most often used in "how-to" posts or by educating your followers more on your product and services! 

Who Can Benefit: Any creators + brands creating stories or posts on Instagram

How To Use: Create informational graphics and decide on which order you would like them to appear and simply post! 

Instagram Fundraisers

Host your own personal fundraiser! One of the coolest features on Instagram was just released and it's the ultimate way to help businesses fundraise money for an upcoming event, support staff due to cut-backs from COVID-19, or raise funds for a local business in need. Businesses can now set up a personal fundraiser on Instagram, which allows people anywhere and everywhere to donate and support. Simply set up your fundraiser and connect the payouts to your bank account and you can start to collect donations! 

Who Can Benefit: Small and local businesses 

How To Use:  Set up fundraiser : Edit profile > Add fundraiser >  Raise money ! 

Suggested Posts 

You may have already started to notice this, but Instagram launched a new feature called Suggested Posts! This is essentially the Explore page within your own feed. Now, your home feed is never-ending because after "you're all caught up", you can keep scrolling to see posts from accounts you don't follow but are still similar to your feed and things you're interested in. 

Who Can Benefit: Everyone!  

How To Use:  Just keep scrolling through your Instagram feed 

Keyword Search

Instagram's newest way of increasing post discoverability is by releasing a feature in November that allows a post to be searched simply by using "keywords". Your posts will no longer require hashtags to be found for relevant searches!

For example, if you type "healthy recipe" into the search bar, Instagram will curate several recommendations that contain that keyword. This just means that there's even more opportunity for your content to be discovered in a search, and that you don't have to include quite as many hashtags in each post.

Who Can Benefit: Everyone!  

How To Use:  Type in a keyword into the search bar. Yes, it's THAT easy! 

 

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We encourage you to strike while the iron is hot! Brands that can act quickly and strategically on new and exciting trends often realize the greatest returns.

We get it, new things (and change) can be overwhelming. Start slowly by hopping into your Instagram account and reading up on these new features and getting your hands dirty by testing some of them out!

 

This post was originally published on July 2, 2020 and has been updated periodically when Instagram releases new features.

 

Gina Bracamonte

About The Author

Gina Bracamonte

Gina lived in Arizona her whole life until she decided to move to Albany, New York for college. She played D1 soccer at the University of Albany for all four years, and graduated with a BA in Communications. She loves to learn from the people around her so she can expand her knowledge and skills. As Radiant's Social Media Assistant, she's fully immersed in all things social media - and loves it! In her free time, Gina loves to practice yoga and watch movies while eating popcorn!

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