While they might not always be obvious, there are tons of great Instagram features for small businesses that can help you grow online.
Whether you want to strengthen your community, build brand awareness, or even make e-commerce sales, there’s an Instagram feature to help you achieve your goals.
Ready to get started? Discover our top 8 Instagram features for small businesses in this blog post.
Why Use Instagram for Business?
Instagram is a powerful tool for any brand or business, especially following the platform’s recent moves into e-commerce.
Not only can brands build thriving communities on Instagram, they can now showcase their inventory in “Shops,” and process transactions directly within the app.
Essentially, Instagram is becoming the new, online home of shoppable inspiration.
And having a strong online presence can be a serious advantage for brands. As recent times have shown, businesses can’t always rely on in-person sales or events to operate, which makes Instagram a hugely valuable safety net to have.
Here are 8 Instagram features that are perfect for businesses looking to grow online:
Instagram Features for Small Businesses #1: Instagram Shopping
If your business relies on selling products, Instagram’s Shopping features could be perfect for you.
Instagram is continually unveiling innovative e-commerce features as they look to find new ways to support businesses on the app.
Now, businesses can now tag shoppable products in feed posts and Instagram Stories, as well as having an “Instagram Shop” discovery tab on their profile to showcase in stock products.
Instagram Shoppable Posts make it easier for people to shop featured items by viewing “tagged” products in posts, while Instagram Stories Product stickers are tappable stickers that can be used to make your stories content shoppable.
And now thanks to Instagram Checkout, customers can discover a product and complete the payment process without ever leaving the Instagram app.
Instagram’s shopping features essentially make the journey from discovering inspiration on the app to purchasing much more streamlined, which is great for any business looking to increase sales.
Instagram is also rolling out the functionality for influencers to drive sales through checkout on behalf of brands.
With Instagram’s Shopping for Creators feature, influencers and content creators can now add product tags from their brand partners to their Instagram posts and stories — creating a complete e-commerce marketplace.
NOTE: Instagram Checkout and Shopping for Creators is currently only available to eligible brands and influencers in the US. However, we’re expecting these features to be rolled out more widely in the near future. Stay tuned!
Want to learn more about Instagram Shopping? Get a full rundown of all Instagram’s e-commerce features, as well as how to gain access for your business, in our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping.
Instagram Features for Small Businesses #2: Link in Bio
Instagram’s link in bio is an amazing feature for brands looking to drive traffic from the app, and one that is often underutilized.
The link in your bio is super easy to find and promote, making it one of the most valuable traffic-drivers on your Instagram profile.
And the good news is, there are tools out there to help you get even more from your link in bio.
For example, Linkin.bio by Later allows you to turn your whole Instagram feed into a clickable landing page that updates with every new post you share.
That way, you can drive traffic to your site — in just a few clicks.
Ready to start driving more traffic and sales from your link in bio? Start using Linkin.bio by Later today — it’s free!
Instagram Features for Small Businesses #3: Instagram Live
Instagram Live is a great tool for businesses looking to build meaningful connections with their online community.
In recent months, Instagram Live usage has skyrocketed — with brands pivoting to lifestyle-orientated live broadcasts in lieu of in-person events.
By bringing people together in this way, businesses are strengthening their community and showing a much more human and authentic side to their brand.
For example, Revolve regularly hosts fitness workouts, Q&A sessions, and styling tutorials on their account — providing value to their audience beyond selling products.
And the Instagram Live trend is one that’s likely to stick around, with Instagram releasing several new features that are perfect for businesses on the platform:
Instagram Live Shopping
Soon, businesses will be able to share direct links to shoppable products during their Instagram Live broadcasts.
Product links will be shown at the bottom of the video stream, so people can easily tap to learn more or “Add to Bag.”
Tina Craig (@bagsnob) was one of the first to use the new Live feature promoting her latest product launches from her brand @ubeauty.
NOTE: This feature is currently only available to accounts with access to Instagram Checkout.
Instagram Live Badges
If your business is all about the service you provide, Instagram Live Badges could be a great new way to earn on Instagram.
The concept of “badges” plays off a popular feature within Twitch and TikTok, which allows followers to “tip” creators during live streams. And now this feature is coming to Instagram!
Instagram’s Jon Youshaei recently hosted a live session to demo exactly how the new feature will work:
The session showed how viewers can buy a badge during a broadcast and select from 3 levels of “hearts” — each with a different pricing tier.
Talking about why Instagram has developed this new feature, Youshaei explained: “Ultimately, you need to make money to be sustainable — so you can continue your passion and turn it into a profession.”
Viewers can buy one heart for $0.99, two for $1.99, or 3 for $4.99. It’s reported that initially, hosts will receive 100% of the revenue from Instagram Live badges sales.
Hosts can see how many hearts a viewer has purchased thanks to a visual icon in the chat stream, making it easy to see who is supporting them for a shout-out.
NOTE: Instagram is still rolling out Instagram Live shopping and badges, so if you don’t have access yet — sit tight! They should be coming your way soon.
Instagram Features for Small Businesses #4: Gift Cards and Food Orders
In a direct response to COVID-19, Instagram has rolled out 2 new features for small businesses: Gift Cards and Food Orders.
Gift Cards are a new way for businesses to sell redeemable vouchers on the app, available via a profile button or a new Instagram Stories sticker.
While Food Orders provide a new way for businesses in the hospitality sector to drive awareness of their food delivery services.
The new profile button and Instagram Stories sticker can be used to place orders through Caviar, ChowNow, deliver.com, UberEats, GrubHub, Seamless, Postmates, Doordash, and more.
Instagram Features for Small Businesses #5: IGTV
IGTV is an incredible channel for showcasing products, interviews, and tutorials — the kind of content that really resonates with audiences and can help build long-term relationships.
And although IGTV is still new territory for many, the brands who have embraced this channel have seen huge success.
For example, SilkFred shares quick styling tutorials on IGTV, all shot on mobile.
These quick videos are fantastic for showing SilkFred products in action, while also showing the faces behind the brand.
Plus, IGTV video descriptions can contain clickable links — making it really easy for viewers to discover and shop the products featured in your videos!
ICYMI: Instagram is gradually rolling out IGTV Ads so creators and publishers can monetize their video content. Find out more here!
Instagram Features for Small Businesses #6: Poll, Slider, Question, Quiz, and Countdown Stickers
Instagram Stories are a great way to encourage engagement and collect customer feedback for your business — especially if you tap into the many Instagram Stories stickers on offer.
From quick polls to fun quizzes, stickers provide an easy way for your followers to interact with your brand, and they can be a great way to understand what your audience wants.
Here are just a few of the Instagram Stories stickers that are great for business:
#1: Poll Stickers
Poll stickers are one of the quickest and easiest stickers for your followers to get involved in, making them a great option for an instant engagement boost.
Polls are a fantastic way to drive more audience interactions, and often the most simple ones work best.
For example, brands regularly share polls to ask which color product they like best. These may seem like basic points of conversation, but this is an extremely effective way to create a more personal connection.
#2: Slider Stickers
Emoji slider stickers are another easy engagement opportunity for stories, and can be surprisingly versatile thanks to the huge amount of emojis on offer.
Not only are they great for getting a quick sentiment reaction, but they can also be used more creatively too.
Lush Cosmetics regularly use poll and emoji slider stickers to allow their audience to indicate what skin type they have, or what type of content they want to see next.
This creative solution is great for making viewers feel personally involved, which is an effective way to build a loyal and engaged community.
#3: Question Stickers
Question stickers have been hugely popular since their release last year — and for good reason, as they’re awesome for encouraging interactions and gathering feedback.
You can easily reply to any submissions directly via DM, or in a new Instagram story like @asos below:
Sharing responses publicly in this way can be an effective strategy for generating hype — especially if you receive comments endorsing your brand or products. Plus, it’s a great way to show you’re actively listening to your audience.
#4: Quiz Stickers
If you’re looking for a quick and fun way to encourage more clicks from your audience, Quiz stickers are where it’s at.
They can also be a fun and light-hearted way to communicate your brand story, or details about a new product launch. For example, you could share a quiz about your company mission, or the year your business was founded.
#5: Countdown Stickers
The Countdown sticker does exactly what it says on the tin, which makes it an awesome tool for building hype around an upcoming product launch or event.
TIP: Encourage your followers to tap and set a reminder for when your countdown ends to make this sticker even more valuable for your brand!
Save time and get more views on stories by planning, optimizing, and scheduling Instagram Stories right from your desktop.
Instagram Features for Small Businesses #7: Pinned Comments
Pinned comments is one of Instagram’s newest features, and it’s an awesome way to set the tone for your brand and community on the platform.
For example, you can choose to pin positive comments that endorse your products, or ones that champion your brand values.
Plus, by curating your comments in this way (Instagram currently allows up to 3 pinned comments on any post) you can divert attention away from trolls or spam bot comments — which can harm your brand perception.
Instagram Features for Small Businesses #8: Instagram Stories Highlights
As we’ve already covered, Instagram Stories are a valuable tool for business — and Instagram Stories Highlights are the best way to extend their 24-hour shelf life.
With this in mind, it’s a good idea to prioritize the Instagram Stories Highlights that drive the most conversions for your brand.
For example, KOTN has a sale highlight right at the start of their reel:
Your highlights are also a great opportunity to strengthen your visual branding on Instagram, as you can create Instagram Stories Highlights covers that support your aesthetic.
To summarize, Instagram is full of tools and features to help your business grow.
And as the platform continues to evolve, we expect to see more and more features to help businesses thrive online.
There’s never been a better time to get started!
Ready to kickstart your brand’s Instagram strategy? Start planning and scheduling your Instagram posts in advance with Later — for free!