Continuing the "What's New" series, today we set our eyes on Instagram. Although not at huge as Facebook and YouTube, Instagram passed the 1 billion users milestone in the summer of 2018. Since then a lot has happened on the platform. Algorithm changes, new features, new Head of the company, you name it. But today we want to focus on the updates that have just happened and you should know about, as well as Instagram trends for 2019 you can't afford to miss.
Stories Engagement Counts
So far most of us thought it's the publications you post on your feed that matter in terms of engagement and beating the algorithm. Well, that's no longer the case. Instagram has built separate analytic metrics for the engagement of Instagram Stories, which the algorithm takes into account when it ranks you on the Explore page and shows off your content. But how do you get people engaged with your Stories, you'd ask. Use the stickers! The Questions, the meter bar, the poll. You now have a new sticker - countdown, which has been received with quite a lot of enthusiasm with both Instagram advertisers and users.
Being Authentic is the New Cool
Gone are the times when you needed to be picture perfect for Instagram. The more natural and authentic your publications are, the more successful you will be. This, of course, applies more to social influencers and people building personal brands. For product based businesses, good quality, well lit and arranged photos are still essential.
The Time of the Nano-Influencers
Who? What? Ok, let me explain. Nano influencers are Instagrammers who have as little as 1000 followers. They are currently raising their influence on consumers because they seem more easily approachable, more relatable and more authentic. I'm currently 350 followers short of 1k, so if you aren't following me on Instagram yet, please help me become a nano influencer.
Video Scheduling through Third Parties
One of the biggest pains for social media managers and busy entrepreneurs was the fact that video scheduling was not available through a third party apps. Now that's a memory of the past and everyone is pretty excited. Scheduling saves time and allows you to plan your content strategy well.
Instagram Claims Shadowbanning Does Not Exist
Instagram have come up with an announcement regarding the so-called shadowban. They decline that it's an actual thing and what many accounts experienced was rather a glitch of the system. I am still not convinced that's the case, because one of my accounts suffered the "glitch" in October 2018, apparently after Instagram claimed they've fixed the issue. More importantly, that same "glitch" is still happening to others who used prohibited automation, adopted spammy behaviour or used banned hashtags.
Multiple Accounts Sharing Option
In the beginning of 2019, Instagram graced us with a brand new feature on the platform. The ability to publish the same post on multiple accounts you managed at the same time. This is very helpful if you have more than one account for your business and some of the content is good enough to go on both. Currently, only iOS users can benefit from the feature, but it should soon be available on the Android devices too. If you decide to use that option, however, you won't be able to share that post on other social media platforms before you hit the publish button. Of course, you can still share your publication afterwards by using the three dots on the top of the post and choose where you want it to be shared.
Q&A Sticker to Live Videos
Stickers are quite a big thing on Instagram in 2019. Some brands have used them to increase their brand recognition and consumer loyalty. The great news is, you can now use the Questions sticker on your live videos on Instagram. It's a brilliant idea as it makes the session so much more engaging and the real time communication between you and the viewers more exciting.
Alt Text on your Images
I discovered this today as I was writing the blog post and it got me thrilled. I'll explain why. Alt text is one of the things that helps your website's optimisation and therefore ranking higher on the search engines. All your web images should have all text to be easily discovered by Google Images, for example. Instagram introducing this feature will help some accounts get discovered easier on Google too, rather than just relying on hashtags and the Explore page. You can add alt text from advanced settings just before you publish a post and then choose write alt text. Here's a tip - your alt text should describe the image so well that someone who couldn't see it would be able to imagine it. Also, to get discovered via alt text, think about using keywords.
Watch Out for...
Insta Shopping App?
It's a real possibility that Instagram may release a stand alone Instagram Shopping app. This will be totally awesome for most retailers and a direct mobile competition for Etsy, in my humble opinion.
Stickers Appearing in Story Ads?
I already mentioned how popular stickers are becoming on Instagram. So popular, that we may soon see them appearing even in paid Insta Story ads. I'm excited about this coming because it would change the whole experience and interaction between the advertiser and the consumer. Not to mention, it would give a lot more first-hand detailed data on the audience.
Instagram Analytics are Getting Smarter?
Being part of the Facebook's family, this future trend isn't really surprising me. Facebook has an amazing database of consumer profiles, demographics, behaviours and interests. Instagram has also been able to tap into it for the creation of ads. But guess what, Zuck is all about the data and it's analysis. Furthermore, Facebook's former VP of Product is now Head of Instagram. We can only expect that Insta will become more and more like Facebook in the future. The most interesting part of Instagram analytics getting smarter is that soon we may be able to track ROI directly from a post. That would be an incredible asset to content performance measurement and future content planning.
Facebook's Lasso on Insta and IGTV?
Instagram and its child app IGTV have successfully won over SnapChat and perhaps taken some of the influence of YouTube. But there's a new huge competitor for the young user audience - TikTok. To fight the competition, Facebook released the Lasso app, which has lip-syncing and video editing features. It won't be much of a surprise if these soon appear on Instagram Stories or IGTV.
Excited about the new changes on Instagram? I surely am. I'll be extremely thrilled if you share with me your concerns or issues you experience on the platform or just have questions you can seem to find the answers for. Use the comment box below or just connect with me on any social media you feel most comfortable using.