New Instagram Updates and Features That You Need To Know

Have You Heard? New Instagram Features Are Here to Up Your 2020 Marketing Game! 

Making the best use of every new social media feature can bring added influence to your marketing campaigns.

And Instagram does not escape from this, being the most popular socmed platform next to Facebook and Twitter (and TikTok and Snapchat and…ahem, more).

While the existing Instagram interface looks awesome already, Team Mark Zuckerberg probably figures that new features and functions will help keep this picture-friendly platform fresh and growing

The Ever Growing Users

According to Tech Crunch, the new Instagram features unveiled this year show the platform’s heightened interest in SEO and marketing. The latest Instagram update delivers some of the best features seen in other social media platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok.

Started as a social media platform for photo sharing, Instagram now enjoys more than 1 billion users, according to Statista. More than 56 percent of Instagram users are female in the United States and more than 50 percent of ages 34 to 18.

Don’t underestimate the power of Instagram – it could be your next most important platform for business.

So what does these numbers mean to digital marketers or businesses?

LEADS. SALES. And eventually…MONEY. 

Question is, how do you target those key audiences on Instagram? Especially when the whole world is still recovering from the Covid-19 uncertainties, what can you do to reach out to this huge pool of potential prospects?

This is where our saviour, Instagram, proudly steps in, flashing its new enhancements. You don’t have to use Instagram like an influencer, but as long as you understand these features enough to make the most out of them, that’s already a great start!

New Instagram Updates and Features That Vows The Users

To sharpen your Instagram skills, we’ve detailed each new feature Instagram has rolled out during the past year and how it can help your marketing campaigns influence more people in key demographics for your business or organization. 

NOTE: At time of writing, not all of the new Instagram updates and features are made available in Malaysia. However, you can definitely access these shiny features already if you are located in the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.

Instagram Keyword Search 

Hold up…don’t we have this already? Nope. In the past, a search on Instagram would deliver only content that included hashtags and usernames, including the words searched. 
Now an Instagram Keyword Search will turn up content, including those words whether they’re in a hashtag or not. You can access this new feature Instagram if your region has been introduced to this search function update.

Key FeatureInstagram Keyword Searches will now deliver a wider array of content, functioning like a search engine on its own. From dogs and cats to plants, recipes or world news, you can easily look for videos or pictures related to your search terms immediately instead of staring at a list of weird hashtags and account names.
How to UseUsers of this new Instagram update can just type in the words after tapping the search icon. It feels like Googling!
How it Helps the Current IndustryMarketers will love this feature because it increases the chances of their content reaching their target audience, when done right with relevant visuals and accurate hashtag usage.
keywordresearch instagram
The updated search feature on Instagram allows you to input keywords and delivers search results just like your standard search engines.

The Emergence of Instagram Guides 

A completely new Instagram feature, Instagram Guides provide marketers an article-length format to recommend places, products, and more. These Instagram Guides can be shared in users’ profiles and stories, giving them a chance to go viral, a marketer’s dream! 

Key FeatureThis Instagram feature gives marketers a tool to provide more information across Instagram. Think food reviews, shop recommendations, how-to articles, quick tips, product videos and more — the world is your oyster when it comes to content creation! The best thing is that Guides can also be shared to your profile, giving them a life of their own. Perfect for influencers!
How to UseInstagram Guides are available in the tab section of the main profile page and is accessible on desktop and app versions of the platform. Click on the plus sign (either on the top left or top right of your profile) to reach the Guides for posts, products, and places. 
How it Helps the Current IndustryThis new Instagram feature opens the once-photocentric platform to longer posts and articles. Even better, marketers can share these Guides to their business accounts, letting everyone who follows them see their latest promotions and product reviews. Imagine a mini promotional blogging site within Instagram itself!
Step by step guide on how to activate Instagram Guides. Source: embedsocial

Watch Together Feature 

Part of the Instagram new update to messaging, Watch Together lets users and their friends tune into IGTV, Reels, TV shows, movies and videos in real-time over video chat. If you are familiar with Facebook Watch, Watch Together is probably a similar idea, albeit a slightly different way to use the feature.

Can’t watch shows together with your loved one, friends and family due to the movement restrictions imposed? Watch Together is another alternative to sharing screens on webcam tools like Skype, Google Meet or Zoom.

Key FeatureUsers can watch trending IGTV, Reels and more together in real-time and chat about it. It’s like a group movie night or cinema outing, except in virtual mode. Everyone can go ooh and aah together and exchange feedback as they watch a movie or a video post via Instagram now! 
How to UseTo start a Watch Together gathering, start a video chat in Instagram, tap the media icon, and choose the “TV & Movies” tab. For TV Shows, you can select from the content available, which is rather limited in our opinion, since you don’t have the option to choose your own shows out of the selection (unless you upload the videos). You can also choose IGTVs or posts you have liked or saved as well to view together.
How it Helps the Current IndustryThis new Instagram feature allows marketers to gather an audience to watch content together, discuss ideas, and ask questions on a platform that is less formal but more fun and casual.
Watch Together co-watching video feature allowed users to watch and respond to videos in real time. Source: messengernews

Vanish Mode to Make Messages Disappear 

This latest Instagram update, Vanish Mode, is an opt-in feature that makes users’ messages disappear after they leave a chat thread. Memes, GIFs, and spontaneous messages that users don’t necessarily want hanging around in their social media history vanish once they’ve moved on from that thread.

Key FeatureThis new Instagram feature keeps spontaneous discussions in the moment, making those messages vanish after the user’s chat participation is over. It has the feeling of using Snapchat when you choose to. This is useful to declutter your chat conversation with customers separating business from one-off marketing campaign questions, or when discussing delicate issues.
How to UseIn this latest Instagram update, people who are following each other on Instagram or are connected via Messenger can use Vanish Mode. They can choose in what situations to activate it. To enable Vanish Mode, swipe up as directed in the chat thread. Users will be notified if another user takes a screenshot of the chat thread while using Vanish Mode.
How it Helps the Current IndustryVanish Mode gives Instagram users greater privacy after leaving a chat thread. For marketers, this new Instagram feature will mean that some of the posts on their chat threads will have a shorter life span, so they’ll need to closely monitor chat threads. On the other hand, this feature may be useful for discussing more sensitive matters related to your business (such as giving special discounts only to specific supportive customers…oops).
Instagram Vanish Mode allows user to send messages that disappear once they’ve read. Source: messengernews

Reels and Shop Tabs 

Another new Instagram update for 2020 is the Reels and Shop tabs’ addition to users’ home pages. Reels gives users quick access to create and watch entertaining short videos TikTok style, while Shop gives Instagrammers a quick route to the brands and products they love.  

For Reels, you can film and edit up to 15 seconds of multiple clip videos combined with sound and music, visual effects, timer and more. For the Shop tab, there’s also a wishlist function for users to go back to items they saved.

Key FeatureReels and Shop tabs make videos and shopping close at hand for users. For Reels, it’s basically creating a short yet sweet video right from the app just like TikTok, though editing your Reels video may be more simplified (yay!). For Shop, you can now browse through products and be informed of the price tag directly from the Instagram app itself before you make your purchase via company websites.
How to UseTo go to Reels, tap the movie icon at the bottom of the home page. To create Reels video, access the Story function but click on Reels to get started. As for Shop, it is just a tap of the shopping bag icon away!
How it Helps the Current IndustryReels and Shop help to up the marketing game simply by giving Instagram marketers the chance to directly display their products and services to their audiences. Reels can be used to educate and entertain, while Shop allows potential customers to be directed to your website to shop for products, thus generating leads and sales in the process.
Reels & Shop Tabs make it easier for user to discover content from creators all over the world. Source: Instagram

Conclusion 

That’s all about the latest Instagram update for 2020! We don’t deny that these cool features certainly transform our existing perspective on Instagram, from being just a simple photo sharing app into a potentially powerful platform for businesses and marketing professionals apart from the usual day-to-day content sharing by its users. 

The new Instagram features – Instagram Keyword Search, Instagram Guides, Watch Together, Vanish Mode and adding Reels and Shop to the home page tabs – add to the user experience on Instagram and give marketers more ways to influence on Instagram. 

Careful use of keywords, writing longer posts recommending products or places, creating short videos for Reels, hosting Watch Together parties and keeping tabs to monitor messages in Vanish Mode will help you formulate your marketing campaigns this year and beyond.  

Well, we can’t wait to see all the aforementioned updates and features fully rolled out to Malaysian users here! With these new enhancements, perhaps Instagram will become the next best social media platform for business?

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