Social media is always evolving, and this couldn’t be any more true for Instagram. The popular photo-sharing platform has been rolling out updates every quarter, giving users – and businesses – new and better ways to interact with the app. This is great news for content creators everywhere—when used properly, new Instagram features mean new ways of engaging your audience.
So let’s get reacquainted with everything IG has to offer. Here are four of Instagram’s latest features (available to all users) and how they can be used for branding. Who knows—one of these might just be the missing piece to blowing up your brand on the ‘Gram.
Protect Your Comments
The comments section of public Instagram posts can get pretty messy. That’s why Instagram introduced Comment Controls last year: to minimize spam and block out offensive and divisive replies.
This year, the comment filter got an upgrade — expanding it to instantly filter out toxic comments that contain “attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health.” All this is enabled by default; if you want to display all your comments, good and bad, all you have to do is head to your settings and disable the filter.
Not only does this help you steer the conversations on your comments section back to your brand, this also lets you create a friendlier, safer place for communication between you and your followers.
Join Instagram TV
If YouTube and Instagram had a baby, IGTV would be it. You’re no longer constrained to the one-minute clip limit of Instagram. You can now create and post videos up to an hour in length, as well as group them under your very own channel. This also means your audience no longer has to sift through your IG page to watch all your videos or visit another site altogether. They can do it all on your channel page.
One way to maximize this feature is to create webisodes your audience can follow. Or why not try making more engaging and detailed versions of the popular snackable videos you have on your feed? If you’re hankering for more tips, check out this useful guide on how to use IGTV to build your brand.
Soundtrack Your Stories
Telling an engaging Story just got more exciting! Like any memorable TV or movie scene, your Instagram Story can now come with its very own soundtrack.
Add music to your IG Story in the same way you’re able to add stickers, poll questions, and gifs. Just tap on the music icon to open a library of songs to browse by mood, genre, popularity—or you can just search for the specific song you want.
With IG Stories hitting over 400 million daily users, it’s become even more important to make sure what you post stands out. Being able to add music to your Stories on the fly is one fantastic opportunity to create content that’s even more engaging and watchable.
Don’t limit yourself to adding music, though. While you’re at it, you’ve definitely got a lot to gain from playing up your visuals, too. Apps like Instasize let you jazz up your photos with artsy typographies so you can turn your IG story into one really worth sharing. You can also get creative by transforming your clips into awesome bite-sized videos with these simple video editing tips.
Reach More People
Last but not least, Instagram is finally testing Recommended Posts on users’ feeds.
When this feature finally rolls out, your followers will be able to use Instagram to explore new content that is relevant and interesting to them.
With the likelihood of reaching an even wider audience, it’s all the more important to have a well-curated feed that encourages page visitors to become followers. But content curation is more than just choosing and taking interesting photos to share. Why not try applying the same filter to your photos and videos? This is a quick and easy trick to keeping your content within a uniform aesthetic that’s both eye-popping and true to your brand.
And there you have it. These four Instagram updates amplify the possibility of turning a casual viewer into a curious (then loyal) follower. But to get to this point, it’s absolutely crucial to have a visually striking feed. So stay on top of your brand’s Instagram game and keep checking for updates on Recommended Posts and other new Instagram features.
About the Author:
Natasha Ponomaroff is the Senior Marketing Director of Instasize – a content creation toolkit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile. A weekly contributor on the site’s blog, Natasha tracks social media trends and updates the millions of “creatives” who are currently using Instasize to curate awesome online content. When she isn’t writing up the latest trend, Natasha is overseeing a team of 10 over at the Instasize HQ – ensuring that the marketing content on the apps various social platforms is ready to go.