Instagram is continuously changing and keeping marketers on their feet. We saw a great number of new features on Instagram in 2017. Given the Instagram updates and trends that accrued over the last year, we should expect some awesome new features from Instagram in 2018.
In fact, there have been a few good updates over the last month already. Here, I am going to run them down, along with updates that Instagram is currently testing, and my predictions for possible updates in 2018:
The day has finally come: You can now schedule and publish on Instagram automatically. The days of receiving those annoying notifications that remind you to post can now be over. The update will now help users save time and drive engagement with the ease of scheduling and publishing images.
This update is not actually built into Instagram itself (but hopefully it will be soon), rather it is only built into Instagram’s Graph API, which means you will need to have access to a Facebook Marketing Partner or Instagram Partner platform, such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social.
As of now, business users can only schedule photos, not videos. Also, if you are a business user who prefers posting hashtags in the comments rather than the post copy, this would have to be edited after a post has been auto-published.
“The scheduling and publishing of Instagram content has been the number one request for our 16 million customers,” said Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, in a statement. “Now, they can manage large volumes of content, multiple team members and multiple Instagram accounts with ease and security. Hootsuite is excited to partner with Instagram to make this happen.”
As users know, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ all allow the ability to auto publish. Now with the new Instagram integration, third party platforms like Hootsuite have created dashboards that will allow users to schedule and publish posts across all networks at once.
If you have yet to create an account on one of these third-party platforms, now is the time to do it.
"These added features allow for better content planning and secure account management, removing the need for employees to share login credentials to gain account access to insights or create a post," Instagram said in a recent blog post.
Although this feature is currently limited to Instagram business profiles, Instagram says that support for non-business profiles is in the works for an early 2019 release.
Users now have the ability to follow hashtags on Instagram. This means that they do not have to go and search for content they are interested in. Instead, by following a hashtag, it will now appear on their feed.
This is great for brands, as they can easily monitor their own hashtags to review user-generated content. Also, finding targeted topics through hashtags will help you better understand what your competitors are doing, and what content is generating the most engagement.
You can use this to create your content that would align well with your target audience, and if you can use certain hashtags in which your target audience is most likely going to follow, you have an easy way to reach even more targeted audiences that haven’t even heard of you yet.
As social media marketers know, user-generated content is a big part of sharing updates. We have seen platforms such as Facebook and Twitter giving an option to easily share or retweet content. On Instagram this was never possible unless a user had a third-party app to share content.
A major problem on Instagram is how easily users can screenshot someone else's content without giving proper attribution, and post it as their own.
Instagram is currently testing this button, which has been on users’ wish lists for years. This button will make it extremely easy to share UGC and other great content, while still giving proper credit to the account that originally shared it.
This also will help expand reach as your followers can share your content to their follower base.
As we know, Instagram is constantly changing their algorithm and making updates. With the amount of changes and updates, anything is possible when it comes to Instagram.
Here are a three changes I predict will happen with Instagram in 2018:
Facebook already has its own stand-alone app for Facebook Messenger. It is only a matter of time until they make this happen for Instagram messages.
Instagram’s DM feature now lets users know when their friends were last active on the app, which is something you can currently see in Facebook Messenger.
Instagram could make this stand-alone app more like Snapchat, supporting video, making voice calls, etc. and push to make its competitor an afterthought.
In 2017, Facebook saw a large drop in organic reach. Facebook has put more of an emphasis on being a pay-to-play platform. More marketers are putting more money into paid campaigns, and this could be something that changes soon on Instagram. We could start to see a large drop in organic reach, where brands will have no choice but to pay to get their message out to their targeted audience. Instagram ads would then become a large part of your Instagram Marketing Strategy.
2017 looked to be the year of Instagram Stories. Instagram even doubled Snapchat in 2017, with 300 million daily active users. The stories advertising platform only rolled out a year ago, so there are plenty of opportunities to advertise cheaply.
With the large amount of people watching Instagram stories, we should start seeing more advertising opportunities, and new ways to make stories ads conversion friendly in 2018.
So far this year, Instagram has become much more dynamic and engaging for both marketers and users. We are constantly looking for social media trends to maximize opportunities for our clients. We hope to see Instagram roll out future updates soon, and to see what else they have up their sleeves for 2018.
Is there a feature that you would like Instagram to implement? Let us know in the comments below!