Over the last couple of weeks you may have noticed changes to your Instagram feed as features of the new algorithm were released.
Some of the new features include:
- business CTA buttons
- sliding emoji polls
- feed improvements
- simplified inbox
- account muting
Let’s have a look at the changes:
Instagram have stated that they have made changes to ensure newer posts are “more likely” to appear first in your feed to make your feed feel “more fresh”. Many users may not realise that our Instagram feed is not only based on who we follow but it is also based on who and what we like. To make a complex algorithm simple the message here seems to be that it is best to interact as much as possible with friends, brands etc who you want to keep seeing high on your feed giving them priority in the hierarchy of your feed.
Tip: If you are not seeing users posts in your feed that you like to see you may consider using the new mute feature to stop seeing posts from accounts you don’t care to see therefore allowing room for posts you want to see. See more on the mute feature below.
New Call to Action Buttons
One of my favourite updates is the addition of four new call to action buttons for businesses. The new buttons allow your customers to complete transactions directly via Instagram. The new call to action buttons are:
- Get Tickets
- Start Order
The new buttons are integrated with 3rd party partners to be fully functional. Your customers can now book an appointment or get tickets directly via Instagram.
For any businesses marketing via Instagram this is a fantastic update for you. The easier it is for your customers to transact the more likely they are to do so!
Sliding Emoji Polls
This one’s a bit of fun! Instagram have created polls for stories allowing your followers to respond using a sliding emoji! User polls allow you to ask more nuanced questions to drive consumer engagement, conduct valuable research or find out more about your customers. Instead of Stories being static you can now make your stories interactive. As a business owner this allows you to gain important insights into your customers.
You’ll find the sliding poll in the middle of the 3rd row of your stories options. Another feature I love of the sliding polls is that you can select any emoji to use, even one from your own library. You are able to view your followers answers in real time and share the results to your feed.
Share Posts to Stories
See something you like on another users feed and want to share it? Instagram now allows you to share other users posts as a sticker to your stories.
To share a feed post to your story tap the paper plane button below the post and you will see the option to create a story. Once you tap this you will see the post as a sticker on your story where you can customise the story by adding comments or why not add a poll? See a new product your thinking of stocking … why not ask your customers first?
Do you have accounts you are following but would like to see less of their posts? The muting option is an awesome new Instagram feature giving you more control of who’s content you see on your feeds. You can now use the mute feature to hide posts from certain accounts while still following the account. This allows your feed to be more personalised so you see more of the content you like.
Instagram have made changes to their previously cumbersome messaging to have a new simplified inbox makes responding to messages easier.
What do you think of the new updates? Feel free to leave any comments or questions below. In my opinion, this months updates greatly enhance Instagram’s ability to be more dynamic and interactive platform.
UPDATE 13 SEPTEMBER 2018
Please note recently this platform has been experiencing significant technical issues as we no longer recommend using it. We are currently road testing some different platforms and will update with our top picks as soon as possible. If you would like to receive a notification when this is updated please subscribe to our mailing list via Subscribe on the right hand side of this page.
Want more Instagram follows but still have a life that doesn’t involve you being permanently attached to your phone?
INSTAGRAM AUTOMATION IS THE KEY!
Automating some of your Instagram activity allows you to target potential followers with automated likes or messages that act as an introduction to your Instagram account.
Instagram automation tools handle some, or all of your Instagram activities on auto pilot so you can:
- Schedule Posts
- Auto Comment
- Auto Direct Message New Followers
- Auto Like
- Auto Follow
- Auto Unfollow
- Auto Repost
Instagram automation isn’t for everyone and the key is ensuring you don’t become an annoying spammer. Here are my recommendations when automating your Instagram activity:
- Start by only automating Likes. By automating accounts you follow you need to consider your feed (see below) so start with likes and see how you go.
- Add a well written auto reply which is not salesy. This is a message your new followers receive as a direct message. Here you need to build interest and trust … the building blocks to starting any good relationship!
- Add new automation rules slowly so you are more in control and comfortable with the automation behavior.
- Monitor your automation behavior closely.
There are a lot of Instagram Automation Tools available so you can trial them for yourself and choose the right tool for you. I’ve trialed most of them and for me Gramto is my personal favourite. Gramto has a really easy to dashboard which allows you to manage multiple Instagram accounts from the same place. It takes no time to set up and get started and customising and managing your activity is very straight forward.
An effective way to use Instagram Automation is to automate your follow activity by auto following accounts by hashtag, places or people. Following other uses is a great way to gain new followers however when automating you need to be aware that you will start following potentially thousands of Instagram accounts. You need to consider the impact of this on your feed if you are following thousands of accounts.
If you are going to automate comments you need to be very careful in the way you structure your comments and the accounts and hashtags you automate the activity to. Remember that the automation tool will post for you without allowing your manual approval. It is important to ensure you do not post responses which could you inappropriate or damaging to your brand. This can be tricky to navigate so when starting with an automation tool it is best to start very slowly with automated comments. In the dashboard of Gramto you can view the comments which your account has responded to so I suggest always keeping an eye on this to ensure your activity is relent.
* IMPORTANT NOTE *
Please do not ever buy followers. Instagram automation connects and engages you with genuine Instagram accounts that follow you for a genuine reason. Purchasing followers will increase your following temporarily with spam Instagram accounts and have absolutely no value to you. If you are thinking of purchasing Instagram follows please contact me to discuss so we can develop strong and lasting followers for you.
When it comes to using hashtags on Instagram some of us love them and some of us hate them! Here I’m going to cover why you should use Instagram hashtags and how to use them effectively.
Hashtags are one of the quickest ways to grow your Instagram following and using the correct combination of hashtags will expose your business to large targeted audiences. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post and posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without.
How hashtags work
Hashtags categorise your content across Instagram optimising where your images and content are displayed. Many Instagram users follow hashtags for subjects they are interested in as well as individual accounts. By adding hashtags to your post you expose your business to users looking for the content you are posting.
Finding the best Instagram hashtags for your posts
Here’s where the magic happens. Be strategic and take time and care to select hashtags that are relevant to your post and are popular. Using generic emotion hashtags like #happy #friday may convey your emotions but they are not going to get you new followers. You want to select hashtags which already have high engagement with your audience. Research what your competitors and industry leaders are using and check a hashtag’s popularity by search the hashtag and seeing how many times it has been used.
Finding Related hashtags
Finding related hashtags will increase your audience even further and is easy. Simply type your hashtag into the instagram search bar and select “tags” from the menu. Here you can see all the top hashtags related to your hashtag plus see their popularity by the number of posts. You can also browse posts for each of these hashtags and see hashtag groups being used by other Instagram users. This will give you further insight into your competitors activity and hashtags to target.
Ready to get started?
Using targeted hashtags is a great way for your business to connect with potential new clients and followers. SO next time you post on Instagram give it a go and here’s a great tool that will help you identify the best hashtags to use:
A custom landing page on your Instagram profile allows you to highlight your services and direct traffic to targeted pages of your website.
Linktree have a fantastic tool allowing you to achieve this. Here’s what you need to do:
- Create a free Linktree account by signing in with Instagram
- Select “add new button / link”
- Give your button a title
- Add your link
- Repeat for all the buttons you’d like to add
- Copy the custom link and paste it into your Instagram profile
In order to boost posts on Instagram you will need to convert your account type to be a business profile.
To convert your Instagram account to a business profile follow the steps below:
- Go to your profile and tap the settings icon
- Select “Switch to Business Profile”Tap Switch to Business Profile
- Select the Facebook Page you’d like to link your Instagram account to
- Make sure your profile is set to Public. Private accounts can’t switch to Business Accounts
- Make sure to review your business’s contact information, make any changes and tap Done
- With a business account, you’ll get access to business features and Instagram Insights
- A Business Profile on Instagram can only be connected to a single Facebook Page
Line breaks and paragraph spacing do not work in Instagram … but here are some tricks for you!
There are 3 ways to add line breaks in your Instagram posts.
1. Use a symbol
This is the easiest and fastest way to add a line break in your post.
You can use a dash, a full stop, a wave, an emoji etc and this extra character will act as a space.
If you use a symbol it will be visible in your post caption. If you want an invisible line break between your paragraphs, the below two options are for you …
2. Add an invisible line break in Instagram caption
To add invisible line breaks in your Instagram caption, you need to use invisible spaces.
Copy and paste the invisible spaces below:
Only past the spaces between these brackets and paste multiple times if you need more lines.
3. Use a scheduling app
Scheduling apps allow you to type your post using line breaks which then appear as line breaks in your post! Finding a scheduling app your like is really a matter of trial and error but my go to app is Gramto. I have tested Hootsuite, Buffer & Later but for ease of use and a bunch of other things I love including their automation Gramto is the clear winner.
Ready to sell products directly from your Instagram post?
Instagram now allows you to tag products in your Instagram post so your customers can purchase product directly from your post rather than existing Instagram and searching your website.
Follow these steps to create shoppable Instagram posts:
1/ First you need to add the product you want to tag in your Instagram post to Facebook:
Facebook > Shop > Add Product (this is what links the product to the website checkout).
2/ Create an Instagram post
3/ Select Tag Products
4/ Tap the photo and a list of your products from Facebook will appear
5/ Select the product from your Facebook shop
6/ Save the post.
The result of this is that when a follower views the post they can tap the product and see the product details, they then can tap through to the product and select Shop Now which redirects to the product on your website. Here they just purchase and checkout.
It is a very effective way to direct sales straight from Instagram. Your user can purchase directly from your post, rather than going to the website and searching for the product etc.