This article will talk about all the Instagram features that are available to marketers. Instagram has grown to be one of the most popular social media platforms. It has a massive user base. As of April 2019, the platform reached over 1 billion active monthly users. This means that the platform’s user base has simply gotten too big for any brand to ignore. 44% of Instagram’s active users go to the platform to research and discover brands. This means that it is the place to be if you have a business. The great part is, you do not have to spend one cent to market your business on Instagram.
So, here is a complete list of Instagram features for marketers to use!
Instagram Features: Filters
Instagram’s photo filters are central to its success. Their ability to transform anyone into a professional photographer is what has drawn people to the platform in the first place. Each one of the 40 filters creates a distinct look and feel. So, you can decide which one best represents your brand. If you are marketing a business, you need your content to have consistency. This is in terms of brand image and style.
This way, your followers will be able to identify your content and get to know your signature look. One way of doing this is to manage your preferred filters by clicking the gear icon at the end of the filter list. If more than one person manages the account, this will make it easy to identify which filters you use regularly. In other words, it will ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Video marketing is no longer just for companies with big budgets. Currently, anyone with a decent camera and basic know-how is a video marketer. According to an eMarketer report, “Engagement numbers for videos posted to top media publisher accounts worldwide increased by 53% year over year in May, surpassing the 46% growth rate seen for photos over the same time frame.”
While video is effective for boosting engagement, it also gives you the ability to share more complex, in-depth content that cannot be conveyed in one image or a series of Stories. Video posts today allow businesses to create long-form, high production value videos of up to 1 minute long. This leads to lots of engagement. You can also schedule Instagram videos as with regular Instagram posts.
Instagram videos should convey your brand message or offer an introduction to your company’s culture. These are effective ways to build trust with your fans. Ensure you make the first few seconds of your video captivating. This will help you grab people’s interest before they click away. It’s also a great way to educate your audience about your business.
Instagram Features: Stories
The addition of Stories has been massive for Instagram. The feature, which was added in 2016, has become hugely successful. Its rise in popularity led to a huge rise in engagement without having to make massive investments in creative content. Stories, with all its features included, are gold. Stories appear as little circles at the top of your followers’ feed and disappear after 24 hours. For marketing purposes, Stories are particularly useful in showcasing products or releases, promotions, employees, workplace culture or team outing. A great way to encourage more people to follow you on Instagram is to offer Stories-only give away and promotions.
Instagram Stories are a brilliant feature, however, they disappear after 24 hours. Whilst the transience of Stories is what made them so popular, users expressed a desire to keep some of their best stories for later use. So Instagram created the Stories Highlights feature which allows you to save your best stories and keep them on your account for as long as you like. Instagram saves your Stories Highlights at the top of your profile page so your followers and anyone else who visits your Instagram is able to view them.
There are a variety of ways you can utilise this for marketing purposes. You can create stories with promotions, information about your business or that showcase specific products or events. Stories with quizzes are also effective for educating your followers about your brand and gather information about their preferences. Remember to save your best performing stories also, so that you can continue to drive people to view them and preferably take the action you want them to take.
Instagram Features: Stories Video
Video on Instagram Stories can be highly entertaining and is brilliant for building engagement, creating brand awareness and driving traffic to your website. Videos on Instagram Stories only last 15 seconds, so your clips need to be short and catchy. In 2018, Instagram introduced a workaround for the short Stories video by enabling video to run over into the next clip after 15 seconds. This opened the feature up for even more potential uses. Use it for fun and promotional content that reflects your brand’s tone and style. The pro tip here is if you want to get the most out of your Stories videos, think about creating branded stories that have the same colour, tone, style and format.
Instagram Live is next on the list of Instagram features for marketers. It has been part of the Stories feature since it came out. Initially received with some uncertainty about how to use this feature, businesses and marketers have taken to it with great creativity to generate hype around their products. Due to its transient nature, there is a sense of urgency amongst users to watch your live broadcast before it disappears. You can use this to your advantage. Offer promotions, discounts or giveaways during your live broadcast, however promote it with short clips or posts beforehand so that your followers are compelled to watch.
Instagram Live is also effective for generating leads. You can ask your followers to submit their questions about whatever topic you will be discussing during the live broadcast beforehand. Use the “Ask me anything” sticker in Instagram Stories to easily gather questions. You can then answer them live. Your followers will love you for mentioning them and the real-time interaction is brilliant for your brand exposure.
Instagram Features: AR Filters
The next on the Instagram features list is “Augmented reality” or AR. It is a technology that superimposes virtual effects that are generated by a computer onto real images and video when using a camera. On Instagram, these AR filters are known as face filters. They are cute overlays you can apply to your photos and videos via Instagram Stories. Facebook (owner of Instagram) recently started partnering with strategic brands to create unique, interactive camera experiences, including face filters and world effects, for their followers on Instagram.
Where Instagram previously controlled all AR filters, select brands can now develop their own custom AR filters for Instagram Stories. One of the first businesses to create custom AR filters for Instagram was Kylie Jenner’s ‘Kylie Cosmetics’. When you select the Kylie Cosmetics AR filter in Instagram Stories, you can “try on” different lipsticks from Kylie’s Lip Kits to see which shade you like before purchasing it.
This is a prime example of how a business can use custom AR filters to market their brand. It is both fun and helpful whilst not being overly promotional. To add, users will only be able to access your filter if they follow your brand on Instagram or visit your profile to try it out. As Instagram allows more third parties to create their own custom AR filters, brands have a brilliant new tool at their disposal for advertising and promoting themselves on Instagram.
One of the most exciting additions to Instagram’s features is Instagram TV. It was launched as Instagram’s first standalone video platform. IGTV is an entire channel for businesses to grow their following and increase their engagement. Prior to uploading your IGTV video to your feed, you must create an IGTV channel. This is easy enough and you just create the channel with your current Instagram account. IGTV video will now be in the grid of your Instagram profile, with the IGTV icon in the right-hand corner.
You can do a huge amount with IGTV. In terms of marketing, it is effective for promoting products. In addition, it is effective for creating how to product tutorials and for sharing news. Think of the type of video you would like to see on YouTube. Your videos can be about anything and you do not have to worry about professionally shooting them. Instagram also offers analytics for your IGTV video. It also measures views, likes and comments, as well as your audience retention rate. Audience retention rate means how many people watched your video all the way to the end.
These metrics prove crucial when strategising how to make use of IGTV. For example, if you witness your viewers drop off after 10 minutes, you can take that as a sign that creating videos that are longer than 10 minutes is a waste of time and resources.
Stickers and Quizzes
The final thing on the list of Instagram features is Instagram Stories. They are becoming increasingly more polished and elaborate by the day as it introduces new functions. One of the most popular used Stories tools is stickers. From emoji sliders, to polls and GIFs, these added extras can help you interact with your followers. In addition, they can help you increase engagement. For example, hashtag stickers have the potential to reach thousands of Instagram users in your region. In addition, they can reach users in your industry that have similar interests.
They can also help reiterate a brand message. Location stickers can let people know where your business is. Question stickers are effective for galvanising your followers. They can help you get some insight into the things they are most interested in. The latest addition to stickers is quiz stickers. When a user interacts with one of your Stories, it sends a signal to Instagram’s algorithm.
This signal is then utilised to rank your Stories higher in the user’s story carousel. The more engagement you get, the higher your Stories will rank. Quizzes get your followers to not just view your content. They get them to interact with it. Therefore, they help you reach a greater percentage of followers. Quiz stickers can also be used to help your audience get to know and your business.
Asking questions specifically related to your business can educate your followers and help you discover who your biggest fans are. All these features individually have great potential for marketing. However, it is effective to use a combination of all of them. This will yield the best results for your business or brand.
You are all set now, you have the complete list of Instagram features for marketers in your palms. Make sure you put this guide to good use and watch your Instagram game be transformed. Best of luck and once you have mastered that, you can take on any new Instagram features coming.