Boasting one billion active users per month, there is no denying Instagram marketing can help your business be at the forefront of a huge audience. And if your competitors are on IG, then that means that you should be on the platform too! The only question is, will you be be successful?

Here are nine Instagram features you can leverage to take your Instagram marketing strategy to the next level:

1. Instagram Stories

Source: Benefit Cosmetics

Instagram rolled out its Stories feature in August 2016. IG Stories allow you to post a photo or video that will only last for 24 hours. The content will not be available on the grid system on your profile. It will not show on your followers’ news feed either. However, it will be available at the top of a user’s feed

So, how can Instagram Stories help your business? For one, you can add links to your stories. All you need to do is click the link icon, and then copy and paste the link that you want to share on the link field. The only caveat is that you need a verified IG account and have more than 10,000 followers to do this.

You can also use IG stories for advertising your brand. It is the same as uploading an IG Story; only you have an advertising objective to tick off. So, it is essential to choose the right objective for the type of results that you desire.

2. Instagram Story stickers

Source: Tarte Cosmetics

Instagram Story stickers and filters allow you to personalize your content, as well as make your photos and videos represent your business. Moreover, it encourages brands to be authentic and creative. However, IG Story stickers are not just aesthetic add-ons. Aside from making your content more fun, it can also help you achieve various marketing goals. In fact, it allows your followers to interact with your IG Stories.

For example, hashtag stickers allow you to add clickable hashtags on your Story. Thus, you can reach more users. Mentions stickers, on the other hand, enables you to mention a person (i.e., an influencer). Meanwhile, location stickers let you tag a location on your IG Story.

3. Stories Highlights

Source: Luca + Grae

Instagram Story Highlights are the circles you see below a user’s bio. Some of them have titles, while some simply read “Highlights.” The Story Highlights are meant to help you curate your IG Stories. All you need to do is post a Story straight from your profile, and then tap that “Highlight” icon found at the bottom right corner of your screen. You can also do the same through your Instagram Archive.

Through Instagram Story Highlights, you can do the following:

  • Include unlimited links on your bio
  • Give your followers more information about your business
  • Pin important content

Doing so can make it easy for you to showcase your products, share new blog posts, cross-promote your other social media channels, create interactive content (i.e. tutorial), and more.

4. Instagram Live

Source: Sked Social

According to Go-Globe, more than 80% of internet users watched live video in 2016. In addition, streaming video accounts are expected to increase to 82% by 2020. Why do live videos work for businesses? Because it prompts FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) among your audience. Which is why now is the best time to give Instagram Live a spin

In fact, posting a live video on Instagram allows you to be on the top of your followers’ feeds. Doing so can make it easy for you to stay top-of-mind among your IG fans. This can also result in an increase in engagement since you are hosting valuable discussions with them.

Last but not least, organizing an Instagram Live helps you build relationships with your followers.

5. IGTV

Source: Kylie Cosmetics

IGTV is Instagram’s latest video platform. As Taylor Loren puts it, this is “Instagram’s way of disrupting the traditional TV experience and updating it for a modern, mobile experience.” This is ideal if you intend to post long-form video content regularly. Think online video series.

At the moment, you can create and post 10-minute long video content. However, you can extend it to one hour is you have a large account. In fact, Taylor Loren also shared a succinct post on how you can create videos for IGTV. Nonetheless, IGTV is another creative avenue that you can leverage to be as personal and up-close as possible with your followers.

6. Multiple photos and videos

Source: Adidas

Business accounts on IG can include ten photos and videos on single Story since 2018. This is a time saver and handy feature that you use to take advantage of! All you need to do is to post an IG Story like your usual. The only difference is that instead of uploading your content one-by-one, you can select up to 10 photos and videos and upload them all at once. You can even see a preview of it will all look like, and then add stickers and filters as you please.

7. Shoppable posts

Source: MAC Cosmetics

According to Benjamin Chacon, the Instagram Shoppable Posts is “a native integration that makes it easy to tag and shop products directly from your organic Instagram posts.” Meaning, your followers can now buy your products straight from your IG post. But other than the streamlined buying journey and increase in sales, this feature also helps drive traffic to your website other than clicking the link in your bio.

If you have an Instagram Business account and belong to the 46 countries where the feature is currently available, all you need to do is connect your business profile to a Facebook catalog. And that’s it! You are now ready to tag your products through Instagram Shoppable Posts.

8. Action buttons

Source: Sprinkles Cupcakes

Much like the Shoppable posts, you can also add action buttons on your Instagram profile. These buttons allow you to convert a follower into a paying customer without leaving the platform.

For example, you own a restaurant, and you are using Grubhub when taking food orders online. Just open your IG account, click Edit Profile >> Contact Options. Tap “Add an Action Button,” select the third-party app you want to integrate (in this case, Grubhub), enter your third-party account link, and then tap “Submit.” Anyone who visits your brand’s IG profile will see the action button immediately.

9. AR filters

Source: GadgetMatch

Another Instagram feature that you can leverage is the Augmented Reality (AR) filters. However, this is not like your Pokemon Go. What AR filters on Instagram do is that it superimpose virtual effects on a real-world image. Thus, it creates a new and augmented photo. Think of it as an IG filter that is customized for your brand.

Much like stickers, the filters allow you to be creative. It can also entice your followers to interact with your brand on Instagram. Although the feature is only available to closed beta program participants, it is believed AR filters will be open to the public soon.

Up Your Instagram Marketing Game!

These Instagram features, when used the right way, can help your business in a lot of things:

  1. It can help you boost awareness about your brand
  2. It can help you engage with your followers
  3. It humanizes your business
  4. It can help drive traffic to your website
  5. It can help increase your revenue

Our advice is to try each feature one-by-one so you can figure out which one works for you and your audience. Keep in mind that if one feature can help you with a particular goal (i.e. engage with your followers), that does not mean that can help you with another. So, it’s best to run an experiment.

Which of the above-mentioned features is helping your business up and running? Let us know!

Author Bio: Kevin Urrutia is the founder of Voy Media, a New York social media agency. He is dedicated to helping businesses triumph over the ever changing marketing landscape. He crafts results-oriented solutions that are tailor-fit for each client his team works with.

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