Instagram continues to be one of the biggest platforms for small and micro business owners and is evolving all the time. No sooner do we feel we've nailed our strategy, we suddenly feel out of date!
If you're an Instagram user then you might like to take a look through these new or possibly little known features on Instagram to make life easier or help with your engagement levels.
Scheduling - you can now schedule posts 'in app' on your phone. Even for those of you who are super strategic and maybe using Meta Suite, this feature is useful for on the hoof posting. Let's imagine we have 5 minutes at lunchtime to create a post on our phone but don't want it to go out just yet. Set up your post on your phone once you've added your caption, hashtags & maybe geo located and tagged, go to 'Advanced Settings' at the bottom of the list and schedule the post following the easy steps. Note, you can't post to other platforms.
Multiple Links - you can now ad up to 5 direct links to your ideal landing spaces from your bio. Many of you might be already getting round the link restriction using something like Linktree or even a links page on your website, but this new feature may prove useful to focus your followers minds as you nudge them along the customer journey. Go to 'Edit Profile' and click 'Links' to add your top 5.
No more ads - this might be music to your ears. You can now set up your Instagram feed so that you don't see ads or suggested posts. Simply go to you app and click 'Instagram' at the top and click 'following' to just see the content from those you follow. Word of mild warning - for us micros, it can actually be useful to be pointed in the direction of another micro business or helpful service, so play with this feature to check out if you're feeling a little insular or cut off.
Get pinning - On Facebook, Twitter and so on, we've been able to 'pin' our most important content to the top of our pages or profiles. This is now available on Instagram and might be super useful to curate your customer journey or temporarily shine a post light on your latest news or launch. Simply go to any of your posts or reels (you can do both!) and click 'edit' at the top right of the content, then choose to 'pin' that content. The content will stay pinned until you unpin it.
Videos vs Reels - you may have noticed that when you've tried to post a video, Instagram insists you make it a Reel? This can be a little frustrating if you don't want to be bossed around. There is a way round. Go to create a post and click to add multiple media i.e. a 'carousel' and include your video as one option. You can then delete the other static posts to share just a plain video.
Timer on Reels - reels are Instagram's favourite content type and they're updating features all the time. From 15 seconds to a minute, you can now use a 'timer' feature if you take video from the Reel feature in your Instagram app. This can be really useful if you're going to say a piece to camera maybe or show off your making skills for example.
Longer stories - if we're trying to share a longer story e.g. we're nattering to our followers or sharing a longer video, it's been broken into 15 second slots. Stories can now be 60 seconds long so you can get the key message in, all in one go!
Map Search - we know that we're using hashtags as a way of users finding our content on Instagram as they use the 'search' function in the app. But did you know that users can search location too? Go to 'search' magnifying icon and type your key word and then you'll see 'places' included in the options alongside 'for you', 'accounts', 'reels' etc. All the more reason to geo tag your own posts if you're wanting to help people find you.
Let's collaborate - many a micro works together to co promote an event or special offer. Don't forget to do 'post collaborations' so that key content can be shared to yours and your collaborating accounts grid. Go to create your post and where you have the option to tag and geo tag your post, click 'tag' and then you'll see you can 'invite a collaborator' and also choose to tag another account or even a product.
Get professional - if your Instagram account is set up as a business account, you have access to the 'Professional Dashboard' which is really worth a look to see how you're performing. Simply head to your profile in app and click 'professional dashboard' to check out some key measurements from the last 30 days including reach (with a split between followers and non-followers) and a break down of stats for each piece of content.
I hope this How To Guide has been useful, but don't forget to head over to the Forum inside Member Hub and then to the 'How To Guide' category to start or join a conversation on this topic. Your additional knowledge or questions are always welcome!