Life on Instagram can be a bit like riding a rollercoaster. It moves fast, it’s ever-changing, and those changes can happen overnight with little or no warning!
We know that you’re busy marketing your business and services on Instagram and it can take time to get your head around every new feature.
That’s exactly why we’ve taken the pain out of that research with this quick guide on the latest new features.
We’ve even included some features that are due to be rolled out in the coming months, so you can always feel like you’re ahead of the curve and ready to take full advantage of these great new ways of marketing yourself on Instagram.
So, sit back, relax, and by the end of this article, you’ll be fully updated on the new features that matter the most to your business!
New Instagram Features (August 2020)
The month of August saw some huge changes in the land of Instagram. In the last year, there has definitely been a push towards video content and we’re seeing that more and more with each new Instagram feature.
You’ve probably heard of Instagram Reels by now unless you’ve been living under a rock with no internet connection!
Instagram launched their new Reels feature back in August and we can only guess that this is in response to the wild popularity of TikTok!
At a time when brands and businesses were wondering whether or not TikTok should form part of their marketing strategy, Instagram swooped in and gave us Reels!
Reels is similar to TikTok in that it allows you to share video content on Instagram with background music and special effects.
How to Use Instagram Reels
Reels is relatively easy to use.
Click into your Instagram Stories and from there, slide over to Reels on the right-hand side.
You can record from your video content from there or if you’d prefer, you can upload a pre-recorded video from your phone.
Reels makes it easy to chop and change, edit and alter each individual video clip which will merge into one video that can be up to 30 seconds long.
Initially Reels were only 15 seconds long but after some pressure from users, Instagram confirmed in September that Reels can now be up to 30 seconds long.
We expect to see Instagram extend the length of Reels even further to compete with the one-minute long videos we see over on TikTok.
Once you have made your Reel, you can share it to your feed, to the new Reels section of the Explore page, to your Instagram story or via Direct Message.
Your Reel will appear in the Reel section of your Instagram profile (similar to IGTV) and it will also appear in your Instagram grid if you share it to your feed.
Why Should You Be Using Reels?
Whether you are a business owner, social media marketer or an influencer, Reels are simply a must right now.
Many Instagram users experienced a significant drop in engagement once Reels was launched. It seemed that Instagram was favouring Reel content over traditional posts and carousels.
Therefore, Reels are the in thing on Instagram and it seems they are favoured by the algorithm.
There is no time like the present to get comfortable with Reels before everyone starts using them. This increases your chances of going viral and generating more visibility for your business.
Get experimenting with Reels and you and your brand will reap the benefits!
New Fonts for Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are experiencing a much-needed makeover lately.
Previously, font options were pretty limited. Now, you can really make your Stories pop with a whole host of new fonts!
There’s even a new option to have your letters flash across the screen.
This is a much-welcomed new addition to the Instagram family and it will make it easier for businesses and influencers to get a little more creative on stories, with more options of fonts that will align better with your branding.
There is a huge focus on Stories lately so make sure you are getting on there and utilising these great new features.
New Instagram Features in September 2020
The scroll never stops, especially with this new feature which was introduced in September. If you manage to scroll to the end of your feed, Instagram will now show you ‘Suggested Posts’ based on your interests and accounts you interact with.
This is similar to the Explore Tab and businesses will be eager to get their posts seen both in the Explore Tab and in Suggested Posts too.
Autogenerated Captions on IGTV videos
This is a really important update.
Well, a lot of time and effort is put into Stories, Lives and IGTV but did you know that most users watch videos ON MUTE?!
That’s why it’s key to always include captions on any video content you’re putting out and now, when you’re uploading IGTV videos, you’ll have the option to add autogenerated captions.
We’re sure that these auto-generated captions may not always get it right, but this new feature is a major time saver and also makes your content more accessible to deaf users.
So, now that we’ve covered the most important recent updates, let’s see what Instagram has got up its sleeve for us in the future!
Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct are Merging
As you may know, Facebook owns Instagram and, in a bid to streamline the two apps, Facebook Messenger will be merging with Instagram Direct soon.
At the moment, some users are receiving notifications that this will be happening shortly, so expect this to happen sooner rather than later.
This is excellent news for business owners, influencers, and social media marketers as you will now see ALL messages from both platforms in the one place.
Instagram Shopping Updates
The Instagram Shopping feature is an invaluable tool for business accounts. It is an excellent way to quickly showcase your products and make it easier for customers to purchase from you!
Looks like Instagram wants to make things even easier for business owners!
The newest feature is Instagram Checkout where customers can experience the full shopping experience on Instagram and purchase your products without leaving the App.
This new feature will be launched in America first, and we expect it to spread worldwide soon.
Another new feature for Instagram Shopping is that users can create Stories or start a Live Story and link products directly so customers can purchase them in real-time
This is such a great future feature for business owners and influencers alike and has the potential to draw huge attention (and sales!) to your Instagram Shop.
Instagram has not rolled this feature out fully just yet, so we’ll be keeping our eye on their updates to see when it launches!
Well there you have it – your round-up of the latest features Instagram has launched, along with future features you’ll be seeing everywhere soon.
Instagram is packed full of competition, so we want to make sure you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to the trends!
Stay tuned for future updates very soon!