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Instagram 2018: Updates, Tips and Tricks For Businesses

As of 2018 Instagram the mobile sharing social platform amassed up to 800 million monthly active users. 

With the population in the United States of America being roughly 324 million in 2017, this means that the number of users on Instagram is more than double the population of people in the U.S.A. Wow.

Though it may be hard to visualise, the numbers are there, and in 2018 getting likes and followers for your business on Instagram has never been easier. 


What updates do I need to know for 2018?

Instagram's latest updates brings in more dynamic ways for users and businesses to interact and connect with each other. 

The philosophy here seems to be a renewed emphasis for businesses to be on point with their branding game, as well as to produce and manage the quality of their content… Not just the promotional ones. 

Without any further ado, here are the recent updates on Instagram you may need to know for 2018:

  • Ability to Follow Hashtags:

The ability to follow hashtags is a big game changer for branding. 

What this update does is that instead of searching up the business and following those specific businesses, users can now follow certain hashtags for example: #flowers.

The hashtags they've followed will now appear on their feed. 

For branding on Instagram, it means there is a greater emphasis to define your brand image and reputation on these hashtags. 

A company like Coca-Cola might start their Instagram campaign capitalising on the hashtag #fun. Being able to follow hashtags can also encourage your followers to use your brand hashtag for user generated content.


  • Rights Manager Enabled:

Like Facebook, Instagram allows you to protect your video content. 

According to Instagram, when this feature is enabled it 'will begin to monitor and block actions in Feed, Explore and in Live, but not in stories for both private and public Instagram accounts'.

What this means for your business is no longer do you have to worry or waste time and money in finding and filing copyright claims on users who steal your video content.

Because Instagram does this all for you automatically, you'd have better workflow on Instagram and be anxiety free when it comes to posting videos. 

For more details on how it works, check out Facebook's post


  • You can archive your Instagram stories and highlight them too!

Instagram Stories is a way to connect directly to your followers with events that have happened for 24 hours.

On Instagram Stories, businesses may advertise through this channel, attaching links to images and videos for their followers to click. 

With the new updates, in 2018 you can archive your stories for more than 24 hours and if you choose to, you can save it! These stories can also be posted cross platform to Facebook as well. 

Instagram highlights is an add-on to this. Stories that usually disappear after a certain period of time can now be highlighted permanently on your profile page until you remove them. 

Think of these like mini trailers for your business, who you are, what you do, how you do them. Using these highlights really enhances the user experience on your profile and makes them feel more connected to your brand.

For more info on story highlights check out this post



Tips and Tricks around Instagram


Now that we have the updates out of the way, let us take the time to give you all some tips and tricks in and about Instagram to help you gain more of a following and likes on your posts.


1. Engaging your Community

Instagram has an abundance of tools to help get your brand noticed. However, if that is as far as it goes, not much will come from it. 

Engaging your followers and encouraging user generated content through little gestures in your posts goes a long way. 

Some ideas may be: asking questions on posts, a photo contest, video contest etc. It doesn't stop there, you should be active and take time to establish a dialogue with them, interacting with them through replying to comments and provide offerings etc. 

An example here by an art page 'surelysimpleblog' has great content and engages her audience with small gestures and giveaway. 


2. Aesthetic and Your Brand Story 

Your profile page is like the front cover of the book in which Instagram users will judge you. 

As a result, it is important to establish and remain consistent with the aesthetics of your posts. 

Be as original and as creative as you can, but the most important thing is to remain consistent. It may seem unfair, but like I said at the start of this article, 800 million active users

Saying there is a lot of competition is an understatement, so to get people to like your photos and then follow you, you should have a branding story people can relate to and or enjoy.

Give them a reason to stay, but also a reason to keep coming back. 

Check out 'Vans' Instagram page, you can see the aesthetic is nice and consistent as well as the brand story being about self-expression through shoes.

3. Connect Your Accounts


Did you know? – Facebook owns Instagram. 

Yes, the whole platform. 

What this means for businesses is that it is important to (if you haven't already done so) connect your Facebook account to your Instagram account. 

The benefits of this move are that your posts cross over and so do your followers. 

Posts from Instagram can be posted onto Facebook simultaneously, potentially leading your Instagram followers to your Facebook page and vice versa.

For more info on account conversion check out this post. 

4. Promoting Posts


Like Facebook, boosting your promotional posts on Instagram helps you extend your reach and be more targeted with your posts. 

The business manager tools on Instagram helps businesses manage their promotional posts to target the right people for their posts.

Some boosted posts may encourage likes, follows, leads to your Facebook page, encourage sales or even encourage you to send an inquiry.

For more info on Promotional Posting click here. 

5. Instagram Insights


Finally, drum roll please… Analytics!

Even if you aren't good with numbers and graphs, Instagram's analytics provides businesses with actionable insight through their user-friendly reports. 

It highlights what posts are doing well, in addition to information on what kind of people are following you.

Knowing the stats on the demographic, behaviors and response of your audience, you can cater posts to be more relevant that engages the audience with your content.

For more info on Instagram Insights click here.

Conclusion

With all these new updates and tools for users and businesses to play around with, 2018 will be an exciting time.

We hope this has helped give you insight into Instagram updates as well as tips and tricks you need to know for your 2018 social media marketing strategy. 

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Monday, 17 December 2018