What You Should Be Paying Attention To On Instagram In 2019

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Flex Media
18th February 2019

With nearly 400 million users, Instagram has become an important social platform you need to be on if you aren’t already. The possibilities seem 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), so let’s talk about the features you should be incorporating, or at the very least trying, into your business’s social media strategy in 2019.

If you want to stand out and get noticed on Instagram, it’s going to take a lot more than a simple post to keep your audience’s attention. 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. A lot of dedicated Snapchat users migrated to Instagram because of it. Instagram even stepped it up a notch by adding fun options like GIFS, location, tagging and shopping to name a few.

Here are what features are worth your time and how to use them. So, let’s get to it!

Instagram story (aka, Instastory)
This is a feature that has been around for roughly two years, yet a lot of businesses still aren’t using it. The great thing about Instastory is it gives your audience a look into your business’s world from all angles. 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: First make sure your Instagram App is the most up-to-date version. Second, open the camera in the top left-hand section of your newsfeed. Third, capture a photo or video, add text and share to ”Your Story.” Wah lah! You’ve posted your first Instastory. Your profile picture will have a pink-ish color around it, which is how you’ll know it posted.

Countdown sticker
This is great for a product launch! This is a recent update and it’s been used by brands in tons of creative and clever ways. The Countdown sticker is available in your Instagram Story deck, near GIFs and Polls. It’s 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 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.

Instagram Ads
You’re probably already have ads set up on your Facebook page (and if you don’t, you should!), so why not Instagram? With Instagram being a preferred social platforms for most social media users, Instagram Ads are proven to be effective and provide you with a ROI. In fact, one- third of most viewed Stories come from businesses. Even further, one in five Stories results in a private message from a viewer.  Here are ways you can stand out with Instagram Ads:

Recreate top-performing organic content as a Story Ads. Plain and simple. If it’s performing well organically, it’ll perform even better redesigned as an ad.

Always include a call-to-action. Get very specific about what outcome you want from your ad. Brand awareness? Traffic to your website? Specific products? Whatever it is, make your call-to-action clear and concise.

Create several ad types. Between video and photos ads, you have options. So use them and do some A-B testing to see what resonates with your followers. 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
Lists are perfect for targeting a specific audience within your followers. Close Friends list will allow you to share your Story with a specific group of people by adding and removing users from this list whenever you want. Users aren’t notified when they are added or removed, so no worry about them finding out! This is a great tool for businesses trying to target a specific audience.

How to create a Close Friends list: Go to the menu bar on your profile and tap “Close Friends.” Then tap “Add” next to the usernames you want to add to the list. Click “Done” when you’ve completed your list. This may seem tedious, but can be extremely effective for certain content. Here are examples of how your business can benefit from Close Friends list:

-Exclusive content to VIP members. For example, if you want to give certain followers early access to new products.

-Localization is another example for franchise or Big Box stores who have multiple offices or store locations. You can geo-target 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 not only understand Instagram a more, but also your audience and followers.

Happy Instagramming! Have questions? Reach out to me! And subscribe to our newsletter for more marketing tips and tricks. 

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