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Love them or hate them, Instagram’s new features will be on our doorstep any day now…

There are some exciting new developments in the works for Instagram that businesses are going to love and users are going to hate. There are three main Instagram upgrades coming to the platform that are going to make it easier for smaller businesses to get in on the advertising game on this image-centric platform. Until now, you might have noticed that it is predominantly big-name brands like Adidas, The Iconic and McDonalds that use ‘sponsored’ posts in Instagram, but with the new updates set to roll out over the coming months, sponsoring posts is going to become a lot like ‘boosting’ a post on Facebook.

This is great news for small businesses who have been wanting to get a piece of Instagram’s huge audience (600 million eyeballs currently view their content on a regular basis), but less-than-favourable news for users, because it will mean more advertising and sponsored posts appearing in their feed.

Instagram UpgradesI myself have mixed feelings about the impending Instagram upgrades – they seem to be turning Instagram into an almost identical platform to Facebook, other than the layout and the fact that you can only load images via mobile devices. Part of Instagram’s charm are its in its differences to its big-brother-social-media-behemoth Facebook – yeah sure the fact that you can’t schedule posts or add in links to your website can be a bit of a pain at times, but these quirks force digital marketers and content creators to be more creative and innovative; it is this creativeness that results in a better user experience for the audience. Removing the need to find creative ways to drive audience numbers, website visits and ultimately sales via Instagram posts feels a bit like cheating. Or at the least, lazy.

On the other hand, as a small business myself, it can be frustrating when I spend time and effort crafting a great post, taking 200 shots of the same image until I get the lighting right and testing every single filter option before finally making a decision, for my post to then only be seen by a handful of people because I only have 24 followers (btw, help a brother out, give me an Insta follow here).

It is my personal experience that creating great posts and then boosting them to followers and friends of your followers is one of the best, fastest and most legitimate ways to grow your Facebook audience. So surely having the same ability to grow my audience on Instagram will be a good thing right? It has to be better than relying on a mixture of competitions and hashtags, right?

In what is probably the most surprising feature of the new rollout is the fact that Australia and New Zealand will be first in line to experience these updates – we are usually the countries that get left behind or tacked onto the end of a new roll-out as a last minute thought.

FYI, the 3 new instagram upgrades being launched are as follows:

  1. The ability to create business accounts – at the moment, all businesses use the same account as Ol’ Joe Blog uses. The new business accounts will identify the page as belonging to a business and allow the account to have Contact CTA buttons (like Facebook) that can be linked to your phone number or an email address.
  2. The ability to ‘promote’ posts – this sounds like it is going to be a very similar feature as FB’s ‘boost’; you’ll be able to select a target audience, budget, time frame etc. and promote your posts so that they get seen by a wider range of people, including people who don’t currently follow your account. All of this will be possible from within the Instagram App itself (no more logging into Facey to set up your Insta campaigns!).
  3. Access to Insights data – You’ll now be able to see just how many people viewed and engaged with your posts; this is great data to know for regular posters as it will allow them to tweak their content to ensure that the most popular or important posts get shown at times of the day where they will be seen and liked by more people. It will also allow marketers to add a new level of detail to their content strategies.

These new features do leave a few questions unanswered – like, will Instagram boosted promoted posts have a 20% image/word ratio like Facebook does? Or will ‘Insta Celebrities’ be classified as a person or a business? Surely someone like Kim Kardashian, who flogs everything from weight-loss tea to sunglasses, is classified as a business? And how does a business go about upgrading their current ‘person’ page to a ‘business’ page? I hope they don’t have to create a new account from scratch and risk losing their existing followers?

For a preview of what the new business accounts are going to look like, check out The Iconic’s Insta account, and for more info about the roll-out of the Instagram upgrades, check out Instagram’s own blog article on the topic.

If you’d like help managing your Instagram page, devising a strong strategy for your Insta or would love to know more info about this ‘post boosting’ business, give me a call on 0413 844 190.



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