Instagram is by far my favorite social platform - for business and pleasure. I use it daily and find myself in an endless pit of strangers or brands feed's for hours. Oops!
This platform is rolling out so many new updates that I feel get lost in the mix over their bigger updates, so I want to call out a few aspects that are really changing the game for brands and small businesses, and giving us more tools to reach our fans and followers.
1. Post Notifications
A very small but significant item: For the 'brand obsessed' user, this feature rules. Basically, enable this feature by selecting 'Turn on Post Notifications' via the '...' at the top of the account page to never miss a post from your favorite accounts.
As a social media strategist, I use this to stay on top of brands and competing accounts that I follow and think small businesses can definitely capitalize on this to keep tabs on influencers and other companies they find themselves competing against. For brands, entice your followers to enable this feature to keep you top of mind. You'll definitely know if they do it, because they'll be the first ones to like/comment on allof your photos.
2. Instagram Direct
The messaging platform that was hardly used got a facelift. By selecting the arrow next to the comment button, you can send the photo to anyone you're following. This helps eliminate the @mentioning comments on celebs and random people's photos (to show that you're obviously stalking), but more importantly gives brands and businesses the opportunity to have users submit their own photos directly to you for contests or giveaways - or just to share photos!
3. Portrait and Landscape Photos
Instagram recently released the ability to post portrait and landscape photos without the white space. Gasp! This update makes a big difference for all the photographers out there. This tweet says it all. I think this shows Instagram's ability to see that users didn't want to always post their photos in a square format and that dreaded white space we had to put on the sides of photos was really ruining the aesthetic of our feeds. So now, you can post portrait and landscape like shown below, but in your profile, it will show as a square. I dig it.
Posting in either format also will make users do a double take when they realize your photo stands out a bit more than the 'square' photo they're used to seeing. This will only last for a bit, so capitalize on it while you can.
4. Curated Content on the Explore Page
Outside of the explore page being catered more to your likes and who your follow, they're also starting to curate photos of 'trending' places and events.
According to Women's Wear Daily, during NYFW Instagram "will introduce a special section called “The Best of Fashion Week Updated Daily.” Similar to Snapchat's Discover feature, users will be able to view all the photos posted during the event on Instagram's Explore page. This is a game changer and I can definitely see it carrying over to all major events all over the world.
Take time to explore this page, follow those who align with your brand, comment on potential collaborators photos an reach out to people (via Direct message ;)) to connect. Sometimes, it doesn't hurt to do a little leg work.
Have you used any of these updates and seen a difference in exposure or business growth? Let me know your thoughts!