With TikTok on its heels, Instagram is rapidly rolling out new features to benefit both brands and creators alike.
These upgrades come as no surprise — especially considering the competitive nature of social media. But for marketers, the volume of new features can be overwhelming.
Let’s look at these exciting upgrades and how to leverage them in your 2022 Instagram strategy.
1. Partnership Inbox
Gone are the days of missed opportunities because of a busy inbox. Now, brands and creators can quickly find and manage their communications in one location — partnership messages.
Partnership messages is a sub-folder in the Direct Messages tab. These messages skip the request folder and get priority placement — making it easier than ever to find and manage branded content partnerships.
2. Story Links
Remember when story links were an exclusive feature to those with 10,000+ Instagram followers? Here’s some good news — it’s now available to everyone.
No matter your follower count, you can use a link sticker to direct users to your website, product pages, blog posts, and more. This is a win for marketers who use the platform to increase traffic.
Here’s how it works — after creating an Instagram story, click on the sticker icon, then tap the “Link” sticker. From here, enter the desired URL and voilà — you have a link in your story.
3. Add Yours
You’ve likely seen this feature while browsing Instagram stories — but how does it work, exactly?
Add Yours is a new sticker for Instagram stories. It’s fairly simple — someone writes a prompt and shares it to their story. Then other users can respond to the prompt with their own spin. When you click on the sticker, you can view everyone who has contributed to the thread.
For example, if you create an Add Yours sticker with the prompt “Outfit of the Day,” other users can respond to it with a photo or video of their outfit.
This feature adds another layer of interactivity to the platform. Due to its shareability, it’s known to kickstart trends and challenges. But for marketers, it’s especially useful for sparking conversations and showcasing your brand’s creative side.
4. Find Creators
Instagram is officially playing matchmaker. The platform is testing a new suite of tools to help brands and creators connect.
Let’s start on the creator side — users can add brands to a preferred brand list. Then, when a brand searches for creators to partner with, those who have the brand in their list will appear at the top of search results. This makes it easier for brands to find creators who already show an interest.
Brands can also filter creators by follower count, age, gender, and location — which Instagram believes will help brands “organize shortlists to easily manage multiple campaigns.”
5. Story Auto-Captions
If you’re like me, you rarely watch Instagram stories with audio — which is why the new caption sticker is a game-changer.
This feature automatically converts what someone says in a video into text so that users can watch without sound. For some users, this feature is also available on Reels, its answer to TikTok.
Now, audiences can engage with your videos — with or without sound. This feature also takes a big step in making Instagram content more accessible.
6. Social Fundraising
In response to the effect of COVID-19 on the economy, Instagram launched a new social fundraising feature. Users can create fundraisers for their business or a cause that’s important to them. According to Instagram, it’s seen “a large wave of digital activism responding to the global conversation around racial justice.”
This feature aligns with a simple truth about today’s consumers: they’re belief-driven. These days, consumers are looking for brands that take a stand on the issues that matter to them. Now, it’s easier than ever to create fundraisers directly on Instagram that benefit such causes.
Keep in mind that all fundraisers go through a review process. Once approved, you’re ready to start raising money.
Instagram is testing a new feature that allows you to co-author content with a fellow Instagram user — meaning, whatever you post will appear on both of your profiles. You share likes, comments, and view counts on these posts.
For brands, the collabs feature opens up a new way to partner with influencers, boost brand awareness, and engage with another community in a meaningful way.
8. Calendar Tool
Here’s some exciting news if you have a business profile — Instagram is planning to double the data tracking period within Instagram Insights from 30 to 60 days.
Social media marketers can finally ditch the third-party apps that provide a longer tracking period. Instead, this information will be readily available within Insights. This is a great example of Instagram listening to feedback from users who have been requesting such an upgrade for months.
Instagram launched Subscriptions just this year – a feature that allows creators to charge a monthly subscription fee in return for exclusive content and benefits.
Here’s how it works — creators set a monthly subscription price of their choice, and a “subscribe” button will appear on their profile. They can offer a range of benefits to subscribers — like exclusive livestreams and Stories.
It’s part of a greater effort to help creators make a living on its platform – thus staying active on it. This also enables creators to develop deeper connections with their followers.
This new feature comes shortly-after Twitter recently announced a similar subscription model — Twitter Blue — and we suspect more social media platforms will follow.
10. Visual Replies on Reels
Instagram recently announced a new way to respond to comments on Reels — with another Reel.
If you create short-form videos on Instagram Reels, you can now make visual replies to comments, which is similar to TikTok’s reply function. It’s a highly engaging and interactive way to engage with both followers and leads, and vice-versa.
Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. However, the platform isn’t just growing – it’s also evolving. It only makes sense that your social media marketing strategy also evolves to leverage these new features.
Original article by Erin Rodrigue can be found here