Brands have seen a bigger follower growth in the past year on Instagram than any other social network. It’s no surprise the app is going to hold more precedence for many businesses. It’s hard to keep up to date with Instagram’s latest features, especially if you’re a business who wants to talk full advantage of what the platform can offer. In the past two years, the app has introduced roughly eighteen new features. Not all these features were created with brands in mind, although, these three features can help you increase brand awareness, engage followers and boost sales!

 

1 – BUSINESS PROFILE

Facebook did it, Pinterest did it; it was only a matter of time before Instagram introduced business profiles! If you haven’t already made the switch, these profiles, designed for accounts who want to be recognised as a business, come with 3 main features. These features will help boost your credentials as well as give you a new opportunity to engage and learn about your followers – more knowledge equals better targeting, which equals more sales (theoretically). Instagram understood businesses using the app wanted to stand out, get insights and find new customers. You can’t deny that they’ve listened. Firstly, every business profile will have a ‘contact button’ feature. It’s pretty self explanatory, if you want customers to get in touch with you via phone, add your number. If you prefer to be contacted via email, add an email. You get the idea. Before this feature, the only way followers could engage with businesses was by following a link on your profile. The days of having to end your posts with ‘link in bio’ are over, and now customers can instantly get in touch.

These accounts also unlock access to the ‘insights’ and ‘promote’ features. The insights tool allows you to finally get analytics on impressions, reach, and engagement on particular posts. Arguably more important, this feature sub-section will give you valuable insights on follower behaviour. Here you can find out gender, age range, and even the hours they are most active. With this information, you can see which posts are working, what you need to be posting more of, and what time to send the posts out. With ‘promote’ you can easily get this relevant content out to the right people.

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2 – STORIES

A huge update you’ll have heard about recently is the Instagram stories feature. Although, that doesn’t mean you know how you can use it to your business’s advantage! A recent report suggests Instagram stories might have more potential for e commerce than snapchat (if you use both networks you will know why that comparison has been made). Over the past year 22% of shoppers have regularly used instagram to browse products. Will the chance to take your customers behind the scenes, promote products or run contests up this figure further? Chances are, if you have both Snapchat and Instagram, you’ll have more followers on the latter. This means, with Insta-stories, you’ll automatically be able to get your content out to more users, in particular, more new users. First and foremost, Stories give you the chance of getting out new, exciting content in a completely different way than your carefully considered feed posts. Brands like J.Crew, Mercedes and Starbucks have already jumped on the latest feature, and are using stories to promote new products, offer a behind-the-scenes glance and get followers involved in a way never seen before.

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3 – ALGORITHM

Not everyone was thrilled with Instagram’s algorithm update but you should be! The algorithm essentially prioritises accounts that followers engage with the most. If your followers are frequently interacting with your page, they are more likely to see your content. The algorithm itself comes at a time where Instagram has more than 500 million users, 300 million of which use the app everyday. For users, it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep up with all this content. On average, people miss around 70% of their feeds. By rearranging the feed, Instagram has prioritised the moments users care about (interacted with) the most. Don’t feel hard done by if you’re new to Instagram, all posts will still appear on your followers feeds, just lower in the pecking order.

The content you post will already be optimised from using the ‘insights’ feature of your business account. But, there are ways you can take your content strategy one step further (boosting your likelihood of user engagement).

Visually appealing content should be your number one priority. 93% of consumers consider visual appeal before purchasing, and 40% of people respond better to visual content than plain text. A picture does speak a thousand words, afterall.

Strong captions can make all the difference. Using specific keywords can help boost your search-ability. Using mentions can generate up to 56% more engagement. Be engaging, ask your users questions, get them to interact with your post, be creative! Oh, and let’s not forget hashtags!

Interact with other users! Scratch their back and they might scratch yours.

So, there you have it. 3 Instagram features you can use to grow your business, promote products and boost sales. Think there’s a useful feature I’ve missed in this article? Let me know, I’m all ears!