So many new Instagram features, so little time.
In the last month, Instagram has introduced 5 big new features like video chat, a brand new video channel, music and questions for Instagram Stories, and an updated explore page.
Wondering how you can use these new Instagram features for your business?
In the following post, we round up 5 of the biggest new Instagram features from this summer and how you can use them to grow your business:
#1: Instagram Launches IGTV for Long-Form Video Content
There’s a new social platform that’s about to shake up the way we watch and engage with long-form video content — say hello to IGTV!
Instagram’s very own video platform launched in June and is available on both the native Instagram app and the new standalone IGTV app. But the reason it stands out, compared to traditional TV experiences or YouTube, is that it’s only for vertical videos.
That means pretty much anyone can have a presence on IGTV — there’s no need for any fancy camera equipment or editing software. In its simplest form, an IGTV video can be shot, edited, and uploaded to IGTV all from your smartphone!
Videos can be 10 minutes for most accounts, and up to one hour for larger or verified accounts, which opens up a world of video opportunities.
When it comes to using IGTV for your business or brand, think of it as a super-charged version of Instagram Stories.
You can use IGTV to record some behind-the-scenes action from an event, upload a recorded webinar to share skills with your audience, showcase your products in an editorial-style video, or simply give your followers access to the faces behind your brand.
While you can continue to use Instagram Stories to build your business with more informal and spontaneous clips.
Want to learn more about IGTV? Check out our Ultimate Guide to IGTV for everything you need to know!
Or if you’re feeling ready to record and upload your first IGTV video, our guide to filming and editing vertical video can help you get started.
#2: You Can Now Video Call Your Followers from Instagram Direct
With the aim to bring people closer together, regardless of their location, Instagram recently launched group video chat.
While we knew a video chat function was in the pipeline since Facebook’s announcement at the F8 Conference in May this year, the feature officially went live in July 2018.
Now you can easily turn a DM into a live video call, with up to four friends at a time!
The only catch is that you can only call followers that you have an active Instagram Direct conversation with and vice-versa. So if you want to call someone from Instagram, you’ll need to send them a DM first!
While this feature is primarily for bringing friends together and building real-life relationships, we’re excited to see how brands will adopt the new video call function.
We think it has the potential to work for service-led businesses, like life coaches who want to call and check in with their clients easily. Or it could work as a more interactive version of chat support where a customer could video chat a member of the support team through Instagram.
#3: Add A Soundtrack to Your Instagram Stories with the new Instagram Music Sticker
The launch of the music sticker in Instagram Stories is yet another feature that lets you add more personality to your Instagram profile!
Available on Instagram Stories (for both videos and photos), you can now select from thousands of music tracks that fit the mood of your post with the new music sticker.
Thanks to Facebook’s recent partnership with record labels, you can choose your favorite tunes from artists like Bruno Mars, Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris, and Guns N’ Roses.
At the moment, the music sticker feature is available to Android and iOS users in only a certain number of countries — but that could change soon!
We’ve already spotted influencers adding music to their stories and to create a more cinematic or professional feel to their short video clips, similar to vlog-style videos.
But brands can take part too! If you have a music business (for example you might own a vinyl records store, teach piano lessons, or even provide costumes for musical theater!) you’d be silly not to jump on this bandwagon!
Being able to showcase and share your favorite music from other artists with your followers not only shows off your personality but also sets you up as an authority in your industry. By sharing your music preferences and knowledge, you might find your followers coming to you for more music advice and inspiration.
Even if you don’t run a music business, if there’s a beat you love, and want to share it with your followers, just tap that music sticker and start adding a soundtrack to your Instagram Stories!
Want to discover how to use Instagram Stories to grow your business? Watch our free Instagram Stories for Business course! Learn how to get more followers, drive more traffic to your website, and sell more of your products and services.
#4: Instagram Gives the Explore Page a New Look
If you recently updated your Instagram app, you might have noticed a few changes on the Explore page.
The new layout, which launched this month, was redesigned to help you discover more of what interests you. The new layout includes “Topic Channels” — you’ll see these across the top of the Explore page — along with a personalized “For You” topic channel, which has a mix of posts tailored to your interests.
You’ll also see topics based on the accounts and hashtags you most frequently engage with, and more general topic channels like art, sports, beauty, and fashion. There’s also a list of hashtags which will help you navigate to all the posts that have recently used that hashtag.
With this new feature, it’s more important than ever for brands and businesses to focus on their hashtag strategy.
Over 200 million people visit the Explore Page every day to discover new ideas and find inspiration, and if you’re not including the right hashtags in your posts, you could be missing out on getting discovered by more users!
#5: Answer People’s Questions in Instagram Stories with the New Question Sticker
Your Instagram Stories are about to get a whole lot more interactive (and personal!) with the launch of the question sticker.
While Instagram’s poll stickers and emoji sliders allow your followers to “vote” on a question you’ve asked, the question sticker opens up a whole new world of conversations via Instagram Stories.
When you add a question sticker to your Instagram story, your followers can submit questions for you to answer. That means your followers can tell you exactly what information they’d like to know!
For businesses, this is almost like a live Q&A with your followers and potential customers. You can find out what services they need or want, what part of your business or products they’re most interested in, or identify any pitfalls in your website copy that’s missing vital information your customers can’t find online.
If you haven’t tested out the new question sticker yet, now’s the time to put it to your audience and watch your community grow!
All of these new Instagram features can be really easily implemented into your marketing strategy to help you engage with your business community and build stronger relationships with your customers.
Plus, new Instagram features like question stickers and IGTV give you the opportunity to get creative and add more personality to your profile.
Now that you’re up to speed on all of the new Instagram features this month, all that’s left to do is to start road testing them!
Ready to get started? Start scheduling Instagram posts for free with Later!