Instagram has not been resting on its laurels much this year. I think it’s safe to say the growing popularity of Tik Tok has made the platform sit up and question the kind of content we all want to see. I’ve mentioned before in my Tiny Tip Tuesday emails (sign up here if you’re not all over that yet!) about my one bugbear with Instagram being the regular platform changes, but the reality is that if we can get our heads around it, there stands to be a real competitive edge for us, and we could reap the benefits as a business.
STORY LINK STICKERS AVAILABLE FOR EVERYONE
Can I get a “halle” immediately followed by a “lujah!” please??! This is just the best news, thanks Instagram, and according to Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri (@mosseri), one that many of us have been asking for: Instagram is now offering story link stickers to everyone, giving way for the need to amass 10k followers before your stories were allowed to link anywhere. This is a big deal – like, side order of chips and a chocolate milkshake sized deal. This now allows content creators of all sizes to take viewers of stories one step further on their funnel by linking to any URL right from the story, as we’ve traditionally only seen with 10k+ creators using the ‘Swipe Up’ function. This puts less reliance on the link in bio tools (which I still love) but are subject to any number of distractions away from the story’s intention. You’ll find those story link stickers under the Stickers tab, where you would usually adorn your stories with gifs, or tag locations or the weather etc. I’m happy about that. Can you tell?! Click here to watch Mosseri’s full announcement.
INSTAGRAM VIDEO UPDATES
The main headline for the recent changes is that Insta is waving goodbye to IGTV, Instagram’s long-form video function. Its launch wasn’t even that long ago and signalled that it had YouTube in its sights, but the folks at YouTube’s little parent company – Google, I think they’re called – didn’t seem to break a sweat. However, it’s not like Instagram has come away from video – far from it. IGTV has been replaced by Instagram Video (catchy, eh?), which still allows you to create a series’ of content; the content length has been extended to 16 minutes and finally, Instagram Video will become the catch-all tab to host even your feed’s video.
As well as that, next time you click that little + button, you’ll get some simple trimming/editing options as well as the new ability to tag people and locations in your video, just as you can with images. So that means that Reels still has its own tab, but all other long-form and short-form videos cohabit in its new marital home. I think the real benefit is yet to manifest, but from a housekeeping point of view, sticking them all into one drawer makes sense.
INSTAGRAM DESKTOP FUNCTIONALITY
Now Instagram understands that the majority of us haven’t quite earned our Scorcese stripes just yet, and even though there is an overwhelming amount of apps that you can download to help you create content, Instagram has announced increased functionality for Instagram Desktop. This means that we can more easily create and share content from a device that is still more native to a lot of us. Even the simple act of having easy access to all our files is something that doesn’t work seamlessly on our phones (why does my Airdrop only sometimes show up to the party?), so I, for one, give it a big thumbs up. Being able to post on desktop has been one of the loudest cries for a long time, so it’s great to hear them listening, especially as their big brother, Facebook, already offers a lot of these tools on desktop.
SCHEDULE INSTAGRAM LIVE
Live video has also had a bit of a glow-up; Instagram welcomes scheduling and rehearsal to the format. This is a welcome addition for those who regularly engage their audience with Lives. You can now effectively create an event that can act as a reminder, including its own Sticker (yay! Stickers!) and the option to share that from a grid post too, complete with its own function allowing viewers to select to be reminded before it goes live.
The rehearsal or Practice mode is an essential new service that will hopefully put pay to all those dodgy first few minutes of Lives, where hosts iron out the technical details and lighting. It’s not the most dynamic start to a presentation when you’re getting to see more of a host’s nostrils than is palatable, or the host’s guest spends the first 30 seconds on mute. There’s something rough and ready – raw and dynamic if we’re being kind – about those Lives, but that’s not always the impression we want to give.
Well, I hope that’s caught you up with the latest Instagram changes, for this month, at least!
If you want to learn how to harness Instagram to grow your business then join my Instagram For Business Workshop on the 16th November – https://bit.ly/JemInstagramWorkshop