Looking to get more serious about your Instagram strategy this year? Read on to find the newest updates and how the platform is set to evolve this year.
Briefly put, Instagram is taking its role as the social media platform for influencers seriously. The most recently launched features are a clear testament to that. But you don’t have to be an influencer to incorporate these new features into your strategy. You can leverage them even if you have a business account or a personal one.
1. Paid Partnerships Are Clearly Signaled
Disclosing paid partnerships has always been a hot topic. A few years back, promotional posts were only signaled by a hashtag (carefully hidden in a sea of other hashtags). Some of the popular influencers would add #ad #paidpartnership #sponsoredpost or something similar to their posts.
Of course, not everyone did that. Following the public backlash, Instagram introduced a feature that lets you easily signal paid partnerships. It is now the most convenient and transparent way to show the relationship with other brands or people mentioned in your post.
This is what it looks like:
While this feature is not exactly new, it was the first signal of Instagram’s focus on content creators. It set the tone for other features and updates like the ones below.
As it usually happens with Instagram features, you are strongly encouraged to use it. In other words: if you’ve got the paid partnership, mark it as such or expect your account to get into trouble.
2. The Collab Feature Can Mean Better Reach for Everyone
What if you simply create some content with a brand or another person without being paid for it? Then you can use the collab feature:
To use this feature, start posting your photo, video or reel as you normally would. When you get to the “Tag People” option, click on “Invite Collaborator”. As soon as your collaborator accepts, the content will be posted on both profiles.
This is a great way to reach new audiences and to increase your brand awareness. You may have already seen it used by content creators, but you can also use it for your business.
A bakery can collaborate with a producer of fresh juices, a furniture store can work with an architect, a social media SaaS can work with an SEO one, and so on.
3. Streamline Your Influencer Marketing with New Creator Tools
In case Instagram’s commitment to influencer marketing wasn’t obvious, you’ve got a host of new creator features to make it crystal clear. Last fall, Instagram began testing a dedicated DM (direct messages) folder for partnerships.
Also in tests: a preferred brands feature that allows content creators to put together a list of brands they would like to work with. If you are looking for new influencers to partner with, you can simply check out whose list you appear on and make your choice.
Finally, sponsored content can now be taken a step forward. If a content creator publishes a new post and tags you, you can re-post that content organically, without third-party apps. It’s a great way to keep your feed more authentic and to increase your brand awareness!
4. Shopping on Instagram Gets a Major Upgrade
Yes, it’s been a while since shopping first became available on Instagram. However, in recent months it got a major facelift and a lot of new options. You can pretty much sell on Instagram alone, without bothering with a website of your own (although you shouldn’t – never build your home on someone else’s land!).
Aside from tagging products and collections in your feed posts and adding shopping stickers to stories, you can now host live shopping events. Showcase your products in a live event with the option for viewers to buy them on the spot.
Launching a new product in 2022? You might want to check out Instagram’s Drop feature. Drop lets you tease product launches to your followers who have the option to get a notification as soon as the product becomes available. They get to be the first ones to shop your new collection and you get to make sales on more than one channel.
Instagram looks dead set on becoming a one-stop-shop for everything, from business partnerships to online shopping. Whether the new ambitious features and plans will crush under their own weight or not remains to be seen.
For the time being, using all these features can definitely improve your bottom line or, at the very least, keep your feed looking fresh and hip. Need help leveraging the new Instagram features? My team of social media marketers and I are just a click away. Let’s talk about your Instagram strategy for 2022!