If you’ve been on the internet in the past ten years, there’s a good chance you’ve interacted with the social media platform Instagram. With its global reach, popularity between multiple age groups, and a multitude of creative ways to showcase your profile; Instagram has become one of the most wide-reaching platforms that brands can use to market themselves to the world.
However, if you have been a long-time user, or if you are a brand new user, there are likely many features of Instagram that you may not be using to their full potential. In this new year, the company has brought in, as well as brought back, many inventive features that are sure to make a splash with individual users and brands alike.
Below you will discover five features that will allow your brand to reach its true, full potential on Instagram in 2022.
Reels are not a new feature for Instagram this year, however, you may not realize just how important they can be for reaching a larger audience. With TikTok now surpassing Instagram in popularity for this new generation, it might seem as though reels and TikToks are the same things. Both are videos that can be anywhere from fifteen seconds to three minutes long, with a public comment section and the option for a user to like the video. Although the format for Instagram’s reels is similar to TikTok’s feed, the audience reach is vastly different.
For brands, Instagram’s option of creating reels is a much better way to ensure that more people see and interact with the content you post. On TikTok, people are consuming content, or making their own. For the most part, TikTok users are going to be less inclined to view and interact with ads because that is not the reason that they opened the app. Whereas on Instagram, users are more desensitized to being advertised to and they can even seek out specific brands on the platform that they’d like to follow and learn more about. Although this is also an option on TikTok, it is much more likely that a reel will reach a wider audience than a TikTok made by a brand. In terms of engagement, we have seen much more success from a reel than from the exact same video posted on TikTok.
The Shopping Tab
Once again, the shopping tab is not a new feature for 2022, however, it is a new feature that Instagram released this past year that you might not have taken advantage of yet. Brands, companies, and small businesses alike, are now able to allow users to shop directly in the Instagram app. For more mature consumers this can be helpful because rather than clicking on a link in your bio that reroutes them, the shopping tab is a much easier way to shop directly on the platform they are already on. To more mature users this is a much less confusing and convoluted way to support your business, and by making full use of the shopping tab you will likely reach more users who are inclined to buy from you, as well as simply allowing your brand to be on the shopping tab where it will invariably reach a different audience than simply those who are already following your account.
Playback is a brand new feature that Instagram has rolled out for 2022. It allows users to relive their Instagram stories from the past twelve months. This simple feature could be helpful to you simply for the time that you will save in not having to create a new story from scratch. Say you want to post an item that you advertised in the past as a current sale item, rather than making a new announcement for your consumers, it will be much easier to edit the story that you already created and then post that to your audience. Another way to use this feature is to post the top ten highlights from your stories in the past year. This will be especially helpful for any users who have only recently started following you, as they will be able to see stories that they likely missed out on.
Reels Visual Replies
This new feature is one that might seem inconsequential at first, but might actually streamline the comment process between a creator and their followers. Reels visual replies allow a user to reply to a comment on their own reel with another reel that lasts up to 60 seconds. You may be wondering what the difference is between simply responding to a comment and creating another reel altogether to reply to a user. Although there isn’t much of a difference, creating a reel reply, not only offers the opportunity to answer questions or comments in a more interesting way but also allows for you to develop a more personal connection between you and your followers.
Rather than crafting a generic reply to a comment, you are creating a personal reel addressing a single user’s query. This will make them feel as though they are actually being heard by you, and will in turn build the relationship that they have with your brand.
Profile embedding is different from the other features we’ve discussed so far, in that it is not something that is used on the actual Instagram app. Instead, it is a new feature that allows users to embed their whole profile, with a snapshot of their most recent posts, on other platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, or your brand’s own website. This will not only take the user to your Instagram profile, but it also allows them to see your most recent posts so that they can get a taste of the type of content you’ll be posting and the actual products you sell. In creating a visual aid to draw in users from other platforms, this new feature will expose your brand to a wider audience, while also giving the user a way to understand before they reach your profile, what your brand is all about.
Instagram is a great tool to use to grow your brand in this coming year, and with these new features, it is creating a much stronger connection between you and your followers. We hope that you will make the most of their new features, and if you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out to our team at Lillian James Creative, we’d be happy to help you on the road to Instagram success.