TOP 10 INSTAGRAM FEATURES FOR BLOGGERS AND INFLUENCERS
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.
3. Live-n it up! Connect with followers via Instagram Live.
For many of you, Instagram Live is one awesome Instagram feature you’re probably not using as much as you should be. Many of you live a nomadic life and are constantly on the move. This can make it hard to find time to go live on Instagram but you need to make it happen! Why? In a world of filters, photoshop and FaceTune, Instagram Live gives audiences an authentic, unbiased experience.
It also allows you to speak in real time with your followers. For several months now, Instagram has allowed you to bring your followers in on your live. This is one of the only ways besides meeting in person that you can speak to your followers face to face. And Instagram Lives tend to end up towards the front position of your followers’ Story row, which is another added benefit!
New & Noteworthy Instagram Features You Need to Start Using
4. Say hello to Instagram TV!
YouTube better watch out because Instagram TV is changing the game! Since everything on Instagram seems to turn into the next “it” thing we suggest all you YouTubers out there start converting your content to be Insta friendly as soon as possible. And if you have videos on your blog or website that you could upload on Instagram TV, why would you not? The more opportunities you have to get new “eyeballs” on your pages the better!
And if you’re not fully immersed in the world of video just yet you need to get on it ASAP. Video is not only a hot industry trend but a way for you to stand out and position yourself in this market.
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5. New post, who this? Say bye to screenshots!
One of Instagram’s newest features is the ability to share posts to Instagram stories with the click of a button. We know many of you love screenshotting your posts and scribbling “New Post” in a coordinating color but we’re here to tell you to stop the screenshots and take advantage of Instagram’s new feature (and don’t worry, you can still scribble away)!
Not only will this Instagram feature save your camera roll from an obnoxious amount of screenshots, it will also help you get more eyes on your posts. Your followers can now view your post in one easy click – which shortens the click path. And if you don’t know much about click paths just yet, let us tell you that they are extremely important.
Digital marketers have been studying click paths for years now and have come to the conclusion that the shorter the click path, the higher the conversion. Essentially, this means that the less clicks your followers have to take to get to your post, the more likely they are to view the post.
6. Channel surfing: Instagram’s new Explore Page.
Instagram insiders have been hearing about a revamped explore page for a while now but it wasn’t until recently that the world got to see what the new explore page would look like. Now, recommended content will be filtered into channels based on interests such as “travel” “photography” or “beauty.”
As a blogger or influencer, you need to be conscious of which category your content and profile fit into and make sure you’re using the appropriate one. And if you haven’t figured out your niche just yet, we suggest you do that before doing anything else. :)
Word on the street is artificial intelligence will power the new explore page and classify all of the content. So now might be a good time to brush up on your SEO knowledge so you can try to outsmart it (which is what we always try to do). While it won’t work exactly like a search engine, it will adapt similar principles which are important to understand.
Additionally, hashtags are going to be more important than ever. The new explore page will be designed to connect people to popular hashtags that match the channel they’re exploring. Not only can this feature help you find which hashtags are popular within certain channels, using the popular hashtags of a certain channel can help you get your content featured on that channel which translates into more potential followers and fans!
7. Say “bye, bye, bye” to the haters.
Let’s be real, Instagram can sometimes be a not so sunny and rainbow filled place. Just a few negative comments can be discouraging, especially when you’re working so hard. Instagram offers a new “bullying filter” which allows you to block out all of the hate. It basically monitors comments and hides any offensive ones. So if you’re the type who prefers to turn a blind eye to any negativity, you can switch this feature on.
Another thing to think about is if you’re catching a lot of negative attention on your page, this can hurt your ability to work with brands. While turning this bullying feature on can help with shielding them from all that, if you are getting a lot of negative engagement you should probably dive deeper into the issue and find out why.
And if you’re using Instagram for your business it might mean you need to keep this Instagram feature off at times. Brands often want to see consumers’ opinions – both good and bad – to help them improve their product or service.
When working with a brand, it’s best to disclose if you have this filter turned on so they know in advance. And they may even ask you to turn it off when you post for them or they may also want to wear their hater blocking shades too. Either way, be transparent and upfront so the reporting you do afterwards is accurate.
8. Branded story filters.
Instagram recently announced they’ll be offering brands and influencers the ability to create custom AR filters for stories! While you might not be able to do it yourself, it’s a great thing to mention when talking to brands. It shows you’re up on the new industry trends and a good way to have them earn your respect!
9. Be an Insta DJ.
We’re sure you’re as obsessed with Spotify as we are and if not, you’re seriously missing out on the best way to listen to all your favorite new songs without having to break the bank and buy them all! And if you’re a music connoisseur and love sharing new tracks you find then you’ll be able to do so super easily with Spotify’s new Instagram Stories integration!
Music is such a great way to express a mood or feeling and can also just be a good break between the pictures of you sunbathing on the beaches of Jamaica or videos of you cliff diving in Hawaii!
10. Monetize your influence with the Shopping feature.
If you follow any cool clothing brands on Insta then we’re sure you’ve seen the Shopping feature in action. The Shopping feature allows followers to buy products featured in your post. Soooo why is this cool if you’re an influencer or blogger (and have a business account)? Because if you’re selling products on your website, it’s a great way to promote them and leverage your influence!
But before you get too excited there is of course some fine print – you will have to have a business account and also be selling physical products on a website. And just FYI – the Shopping feature is only available in countries approved by Instagram and there are some other criteria you have to meet to get approved but it may be worth it to investigate so you can capitalize on your influence!
A lot of being a travelpreneur is not just creating beautiful content but being able to utilize the social platforms available to you to grow your business and influence. It’s also about staying up with the trends and adopting new things as they come out so you’re ahead of the curve. As the industry continues to grow and expand, a lot of being able to make it will come down to who can adapt to change and be the early adopters of all the new Instagram features that pop up. The ultimate goal really is to keep your engagement up and if you can do that, your Instagram account (and business) will flourish!