Instagram recently announced what we all knew but maybe hoped wasn’t true: they will not be returning to their chronological timeline. Ahh, the horror! So we all have to get used to the fact that the algorithm is here to stay. And according to Instagram, influencers and bloggers should be happy about this because the algorithm actually helps accounts reach more people than they did with the chronological timeline. We do think there is room for debate on that. :)

In addition to Instagram announcing they’re sticking with their new algorithm, they’re also rolling out a bunch of new Instagram features which we’re really excited about! Since we help bloggers and influencers create sustainable businesses and get more partnerships, we’re always on the lookout for new tools to help you out and these new Instagram features will do just that.

We’re going to dive into all of Instagram’s recent features but first go over the staple Instagram features that every blogger and influencer should be using right now. And why is all of this important? So you can know how to best use Instagram as a tool to grow a highly engaged following, which in turn means more partnerships and clients for your business. Who doesn’t want that?!

All The Features Of Instagram You Should Already Be Using…

1. Let’s get down to business! Why you should consider having a business account.

If you don’t already have an Instagram Business account, you may want to consider making the switch. Business accounts are really beneficial for bloggers and influencers because they give you access to Instagram Insights which has all the analytics that are essential for perfecting your social strategy and pitching to brands.

Business accounts also have an Instagram feature that allows you to add a category to your account. This helps you become more searchable not only on Instagram’s explore page (keep reading for more on this) but also in any Instagram database. Social media planning tools like Sprout and SocialBakers have influencer databases that include category searches. Also, rumor on the street is Facebook will be rolling out their own influencer database very soon.

Another great thing about business profiles is that they make it easy for bloggers and influencers to properly disclose paid parterniships to comply with FTC regulations. If you don’t properly disclose your paid partnerships correctly, the FTC can slam you (and the brand you’re working for) with some hefty fines. Not to mention, it’s always best to be transparent with your followers about which content is a paid promotion, so they can also know what content is not.

Another bonus of a business profile is that you might get access to new Instagram features first. Instagram typically tests their new features out on small groups. Since many of the new features are geared toward creators and marketers, business profiles typically get to test the newest features first. We’ve noticed that some of our clients’ business accounts get new features before our personal accounts.

And one last thing on this – you’re probably wondering if business accounts are so important, why isn’t our Instagram account (@sidewalkerdaily) a business account? Well, since we’re not technically a blogger or influencer we never felt the need to switch. Also, we’re just a little concerned that one day Instagram will turn into Facebook where all business accounts have to pay to be seen. This is of course total speculation and if you’re a blogger or influencer the benefits of a business account may outweigh our paranoia. :)

2. It’s Story time! Beef up your account’s value with a strong Story audience.

If you aren’t using Instagram stories yet then you haven’t even begun to explore the powers of your influence. Instagram stories are a vital Instagram feature that brand partners are demanding more and more. Not only do they typically get more engagement than regular Instagram posts, but they allow you to really connect with your Instagram followers in real time. Another benefit to brands is all those Story view analytics are real views. Since bots can like and comment, brands know every Story view was an authentic engagement. 

When thinking of how to use Instagram features in your marketing strategy, you should consider campaigns rooted in stories rather than posts. Working with a brand on an Instagram Stories campaign allows you to curate more authentic, organic content. It also gives you more options to test your influence and drive traffic to the brand’s page.

You can tag accounts, add geotags, include hashtags and include swipe ups to websites. Depending on the brand’s needs you can craft a strategy that will serve the overall goals of the brand’s campaign and also resonate with your followers.