When it comes to being successful on Instagram these days, there’s a lot you have to worry about. As competition grows fiercer and fiercer, simply using clever hashtags and posting regularly isn’t enough to cut it. If you’re serious about getting more followers and likes–whether you’re becoming an Instagram influencer or you’re running an account as part of your business’s social media strategy, you need to know about all the right Instagram tools and trends. That way, you can start the new year knowing that you’re doing everything you need to in order to build a robust Instagram presence.
Augmented Reality Story Filters
One of the most unique and exciting ways to promote your brand is with interactive content – and starting with 2018, Instagram have created a closed beta program to allow select 3rd parties (celebrities, brands, etc.) to create their very own AR (Augmented Reality) filters for Instagram Stories. Instagram users can then help spread awareness of your brand simply by using and sharing your branded custom filter.
As Instagram allows more 3rd parties to create their own custom AR filters, brands have an amazing new tool at their disposal for advertising and for promoting themselves on Instagram.
Leverage Instagram growth tools
However clever your social media strategy might be, the biggest players are using growth tools to get more followers, likes, and other kinds of engagements. To start growing your Instagram following, try out SocialSteeze, which gets you targeted, real followers – choose tools that can help you grow your Instagram with real followers, i.e. real people who are likely to be interested in your brand and your products. Otherwise, just having lots of followers won’t actually help you grow your Instagram results, particularly sales, traffic and conversions from Instagram.
When it comes to collaborating with influencers as a brand, authenticity should be one of the most important factors to consider. It’s easy to get lots of followers if you really want to, but the best influencers are those who have real followers, followers who are genuinely interested in their content: in other words, influencers who have true influence over their audience.
Before working with an influencer, take the time to truly research them and their social media presence, beyond follower numbers: are they getting enough engagement on their posts? Does their audience actually care about these influencers and what they have to say? What other brands have they collaborated with in the past and what were the campaigns like? And last but not least, are they truly authentic?
You can use tools like Social Bakers to help you find and research Instagram influencers, based on their location and audience, as well as the type of influencer they are (based on interests).
Buying direct on Instagram
Before, if you wanted to sell a product with Instagram’s help, you could advertise it on the platform and then have buyers click a link to buy it on your website. Now however, with Instagram’s Shopping Feature followers can buy products directly, which will make them more likely to buy from you.
This is a trend that will continue to grow in 2019 and the coming years; Millennials and Generation Z want convenience and the ability to buy products via the platforms they actually use: Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat and other social channels they use.
Instagram Story Ads
With the popularity of the Instagram Stories feature, it’s a good idea to use it to promote and sell your products. As per Instagram’s own research, about 400 million users view Stories every day and one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from brands. Plus, about 1 in 5 Stories get at least one direct message from viewers.
Brands such as Gap, for example, have seen amazing success from leveraging Instagram Story ads: a 73 percent higher click-through rate than in its previous Instagram campaigns.
To get started with your own Instagram Story Ads, use your Facebook Ads Manager account to create your ad and go live.
Instagram Stories are great, but they vanish after 24 hours. And that’s where the Stories Highlights feature comes in: you can save your best stories, and keep them on your account as long as you want. Your fans and followers (and anyone else who visits your Instagram profile) will be able to see your Stories Highlights at the top of your profile and view the ones they want.
There are numerous ways to leverage this feature; for example, you can create Stories that promote your brand, Stories that promote specific products or events and Stories that explain what your brand is all about. Plus, make sure to save the best performing Stories as well, so that you can continue to drive people to see them and preferably, take the action you want them to take.
When it comes to social media content, innovation and originality are extremely important. There is a lot of content to compete with, not just from other brands, but also from social influencers and quite simply, people’s own friends and families.
And one of the ways to stand out, make sure people pay attention to your content and follow you and improve your Instagram engagement is to post varied content and try own new forms of content; one such form content that’s been making waves in the Instagram world is cinemagraphs. Cinemagraphs are essentially still images with just a little bit of motion in them – and while that might not sound impressive, take a look at some beautiful examples here to see exactly what you can do with this new form of social media content.
To create your very own cinemagraphs, you can use an app like PLOTAVERSE, which you can find in the iTunes App Store, as well as in the Google Play Store.
IGTV and vertical video
Sharing videos on Instagram is huge these days, and that’s what makes IGTV such an exciting trend. This video platform is specifically made for creating vertical video playback, which means that it’s made for creating mobile-only videos. It’s the perfect fit–literally and figuratively–for your Instagram account.
Instagram announced this huge new feature – and separate app – in the summer of 2018; if you’re not familiar with it, IGTV is, as Instagram puts it, “a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators”. You’re no longer limited to 1-minute videos, but rather you can create and post videos that are even up to one hour long. And, even if there is a separate app for this, Instagram users can also view these long-form vertical videos via the Instagram app as well, which is great news for brands as it allows them to reach Instagram’s huge audience of approximately 1 billion users.
You can use this feature to create engaging long-form videos promoting your brand and your products, highlighting specific products and their uses, share videos from your events, host interviews and create all kinds of creative video content that will entertain and engage your audience.