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Phase 3

Phase 3 is an integrated marketing services company which provides solutions across the print and marketing spectrum. We were founded in Atlanta, GA in 2001 and have served corporate and enterprise clients across the country for over 20 years.

Four New Instagram Features Every Marketer Should Know

By Phase 3
June 17, 2022

Instagram has rolled out several features to better connect brands to customers. Phase 3 can help you identify the ones that will generate awareness and engagement.

Did you know that 1 in 2 people visit Instagram to discover new brands? And 2 in 3 people have reported that the network helps build impactful experiences with brands? If your brand is not active on Instagram, it should be.

 

The world of social media is constantly changing and Instagram is no exception. They can feel the heat from the competition so the platform has been introducing new features and capabilities almost monthly. Your brand can be the beneficiary of that competition by utilizing these new functionalities to build awareness and loyalty on Instagram. Read on to learn more about some of the newer Instagram features available to you.

 

New Messaging Features

Instagram has been promising easier ways to connect on the platform since 2021. At the end of March 2022, they finally made good on their promises. The highlights are:

  •  See who’s online: You can see who’s free to chat at the top of your inbox.
  • Reply without going to your Inbox: You can now reply to a message while scrolling through your feed.
  • Share to friends: When you tap and hold the share button on a post, you can quickly reshare posts to your closest followers without going to the usual share list.
  • Send messages after hours: By adding @silent to a message, you can now send messages without notification.
  • Create a poll with friends: If you have an insider group or other VIPs, you can now create a poll in a group chat to solicit feedback.
  • Play, pause, and re-play music: Integrations with Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify have made it super easy to share a 30-second preview of a song with followers in the chat window.

 

Instagram Guides

Instagram Guides are a set of curated posts that tell a story. Each post is a chapter in the story. Your followers can scroll through the chapters, read and experience the content, and click for more information or to make a purchase. Guides can be built from new content or older posts, which is a great way to repurpose your evergreen content. There are three types of Instagram guides.

  •  Place: These guides highlight locations. You can search places through Instagram's library, or find locations you've tagged. When you choose a place, you can pick an image to feature in your Guide. These make great city or restaurant guides or travel recommendation stories. 
  • Product: Use a product guide when introducing new products or promoting existing products. This guide is perfect for seasonal product roundups or gift guides. Product guides will also be seen in your Shopping tab.
  • Posts: These guides are a roundup of past posts. If you have a critical mass of posts on a certain issue, group, customers, or staff, you can build a post guide to tell the complete story.

Instagram Guides aren’t shared on your followers' feeds, so give them an extra boost by posting the guide to your stories as well. Guides are also an excellent way to share User Generated Content (UGC) so create a guide with tagged follower posts that highlight your products or services. You can even build a micro-influencer campaign through a guide.

Not all brands have discovered Instagram Guides, so you can stand out among your competitors by leveraging this functionality.

 

Enhanced Stories Features

Every marketer loves Instagram Stories for their brand engagement, but there were definitely features we wished they offered. Now some of our wishes have come true. They are:

  •  Story Links Are Here! Everyone can now post links in stories. A link sticker will direct followers to any URL you desire including your website or a specific product page. This is a huge benefit to brands focusing on building awareness and digital sales.
  • Add Yours. This is a stories sticker that prompts a conversation. Add a question to your story and invite followers to respond. The entire conversation can be viewed through the sticker. This feature creates a layer of engagement through stories that can be extremely valuable to brands.
  • Auto-captions: In terms of inclusivity and accessibility, the new stories caption sticker is a huge benefit for brands to showcase. Your followers can now watch stories with or without sound. This feature can also be used in Reels.

 

Subscriptions

It was a given that the popular subscription model would show up on social media. This new feature rolled out to selected users in January. You can deepen your relationships with followers and grow your income by giving a select group of customers unique content within the same platform they were already engaging with you for a monthly fee. Subscriptions range from $0.99 to $99.99 per month.

 

With a subscription, your followers can experience three different sets of content. These are:

  •  Subscriber Lives – host an exclusive live appearance to just your subscribers
  • Subscriber Stories – these stories have a purple ring to signify this content is only available to subscribers.
  • Subscriber Badges – subscribers receive a purple badge for their profile so you will recognize them when engaging in DMs and comments.

 

An added bonus for brands is that your subscriber list can be used on other social channels. You can extend your engagement across platforms, increase digital awareness of your brand, and build loyalty among all of your customers, not just Instagram followers. It is likely that this feature will also be available on Facebook but there is no known timetable for that yet.

 

Instagram is working hard to support its users with new features and functions that offer a benefit to both brands and followers and more innovations are coming. It may feel challenging to keep up. That's where Phase 3 can help.

 

Phase 3 social media experts can help you devise a strategic social media plan that enhances your brand and creates relationships between your brand and your buyers. We'll create content that is fully aligned with your brand voice and your buyer personas and publish it in the channel where your customers are. We then measure our progress with success metrics that reveal a clear path forward. 

 

Let's get started. Contact us today.