Instagram features to use in your social strategy

Instagram has grown rapidly over the last few years. If it’s not part of your social strategy, it needs to be. Whether you market B2B or B2C, nearly 500 million users are on it. The possibilities are endless with the constant updates implemented for users and businesses. It’s impossible to catch all of them unless you’re on social media 24/7 (which I doubt you are because, well, you have a life).

Let’s talk about some of the features you should be incorporating into your business’s social media strategy moving forward.

If you want to stand out and get noticed on Instagram, it’s going to take a lot more than a simple post to engage with your audience. The good news is Instagram’s features are super easy and fun to use! Back in 2017, Instagram adopted Snapchat’s story feature, making it an even more appealing app for users. Now, Instastories are one of the most used features across all social platforms. 

Since then, a lot of dedicated Snapchat users migrated to Instagram because of it. Instagram even one-upped Snapchat by adding fun options like GIFS, location, tagging, and shopping, to name a few. We stan Instagram for this!

Below are some features we use with our clients that are worth your time. So, let’s get to it!

Instagram Story (aka, Instastory)

Have you noticed businesses and people you follow post more to their Instastory than a regular post? The great thing about Instastory is it gives your audience a look into your business’s world from all angles. You can post a Story, hit the “Live” button to live stream an announcement, and run ads on your Story. Whether it’s learning more about the individuals that make up your team, or showing off products or services, it’s a great feature to stay relevant and keep your followers engaged.

How to use Instastory: Make sure your Instagram App is the most up-to-date version. Open the camera in the top left-hand section of your newsfeed. Next, capture a photo or video, add text, and share it to ”Your Story.” POOF! You’ve posted your first Instastory. A pink-purple ring will appear around your profile picture once it posts successfully.

Countdown sticker

This is one of my favorite features! It’s such a great feature for a product launch. Brands are able to get creative in clever ways. The Countdown sticker is available in your Instagram Story deck, near GIFs and Polls. It’s super easy to use. Once you add the sticker to a Story, customize it with a title (i.e. “New store launch” or “Mid-season sale”) and set your end date and time. The best part? Your followers can share it on their Story, or tap to set a reminder on their calendar and receive an alert! 

Here are a few examples of how your business can use the Countdown sticker:

  • Promote upcoming sales and specials
  • Announce new store openings
  • Remind followers about holiday sales, such as Christmas
  • Contest previews
  • Celebrate your company’s anniversary

What other content marketing strategies are trending?

Find out in our blog on social media trends for 2020.

Instagram Ads

You probably already have Facebook ads set up for your business page (and if you don’t, you need to!), so why not Instagram?! Most social media users prefer Instagram, so Instagram Ads are proven to be effective and provide you with an ROI. Did you know, one-third of most-viewed Stories come from businesses? Also, one in five Stories results in a private message from a viewer.  

Here’s how you can stand out with Instagram Ads:

  • Turn your top-performing organic content into a Story Ad. This is probably one of the easiest ways to guarantee the success of an ad. If it’s performing well organically, it’ll perform even better redesigned as an ad.
  • Always include a call-to-action. Be specific about what outcome you want from your ad. Is it brand awareness? Is it traffic to your website? Is it selling particular products? Whatever it is, make your call-to-action clear and concise.
  • Create several ad types. You have options when it comes to ads, so do some A-B testing to see what resonates with your followers, and adjust accordingly. Instagram says it best, “The advantage of these vertical full-screen formats is a more immersive and intense visual experience.” Give the people what they want: more visual ads!

Create Close Friends lists

This feature makes your followers feel important and special. Lists are perfect for targeting a specific audience within your followers. A Close Friends list will allow you to share your Story with a defined group of people by adding and removing users from this list whenever you want. Pretty cool, huh? 

Don’t worry; users don’t get a notification when they are added or removed so they won’t find out either way! Friends lists are a great tool for businesses trying to target a certain audience.

How to create a Close Friends list: First, go to the menu bar on your profile and tap “Close Friends.” Next to the usernames you want to add to the list, tap “Add.” Click “Done” when you’re done. I told you these features are simple! This may seem tedious, but can be extremely effective for certain content. 

Here are examples of how your business can benefit from a Close Friends list:

  • Exclusive content to VIP members. If you want to give individual followers early access to new products, this my friends, is the way to do it! 
  • Localization is another example of franchises or Big Box stores that have multiple offices or store locations. This feature offers geo-targeting audiences in your following to share specific content to certain locations. This is great because those who aren’t in that area aren’t bothered by content that doesn’t pertain to them.

I know, I know, I just added a ton more work to your laundry list of social media daily To-Dos, but trying some of these helpful features will help you understand Instagram and your followers more.

Happy Instagramming! Have questions? Reach out to us! 

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