Instagram Changes, You Win
New changes to Instagram could be exciting for your small business.
You’ve heard about Instagram success stories, right? There are many companies who claim to have had great success from Instagram… and that was without any targeted help from the Instagram platform itself. With these recent business-specific Instagram changes, what could this mean for you?
Does this workflow sound familiar to you?
- Publish an Instagram post,
- Do something else for a few minutes,
- Come back to check how many likes or comments you have,
- Do something else,
- Check for likes or comments again,
- Celebrate or cry…
With these updates, you now don’t only have likes, views, and comments to check obsessively, but you also have some brand new, exciting features to assess account growth and success on Instagram. The new Instagram changes include:
- Profile designation as a business
- Follower insights
- Ability to promote posts
First, let’s look at two companies – one which has had great success on Instagram, and the other that has seen some success but hasn’t shot through the roof just yet.
Throughout this post, we’ll explore how these Instagram changes might positively affect their Instagram success.
As you can see, @natgeo.creative has a beautiful feed. It’s colorful, intriguing and takes you places you might never be.
Some might argue that with nearly three-quarters of their users 34 years old and younger, Instagram might not be the place for National Geographic and its off chutes. Judging by their success, @natgeo.creative actually found Instagram to be a place where they could reach this younger demographic – a demographic that might not be as apt to pick up a National Geographic magazine off the rack.
Clothes Pony and Dandelion Toys
Clothes Pony (as it’s frequently shortened) is a local children’s boutique with moderately high-end toys, clothes and shoes.
They have 522 followers. For a local store, that’s not too shabby! If they’d like to extend their social media reach beyond the surrounding area, they might have a bit of work to do.
How to utilize Instagram Changes
Profile Designation as a Business
Just like you see with other popular social media platforms like Pinterest and Facebook, moving your profile to show as an Instagram Business Profile is free. After all, adding that distinction might pull you into spending money to promote your posts down the line, which shows Instagram’s interest in removing all barriers to get there.
Right now, the business profile is fairly minimal. The only two distinctions between the profile you have now and a business profiles is a call-to-action button with the ability to call, text, or email (your choice of which one to link the button to), and a linked address, allowing users to quickly search for directions to your shop.
Here’s what it might come to look like:
When a customer clicks on “Contact”, up will pop a menu on which they can click “Get Directions” or the contact you’ve designated for your company: either “Email”, “Text” or “Call”.
Later.com was kind enough to mock this up for us:
What might these Instagram changes mean for your company? Well, if you’re like @natgeocreative or any of its sister profiles, the benefits are questionable.
For one, they are already very successful on Instagram. This new feature might encourage even more 1-on-1 communication with your followers. There’s a good chance that companies with a large follower base might not be excited about increasing the ease of contact. Without a large staff dedicated to customer service, you might find that opening up a means to contact you in this manner might end up frustrating customers who expect a quick return time.
Another aspect to think about here is if the company has something clear to sell. Companies like @cocacola likely don’t get many product questions. Their brand is well-known and doesn’t usually have a lot of significant changes. They also don’t come out with new products all that often. Because of that, I’d expect they might receive communication from lovers and haters of the product and not as many from inquiring potential consumers.
For a local company that sells many products like @clothesponyanddandeliontoys, this new feature could be a gold mine. Here’s an example:
Jenny, a potential customer, sees this image pop up in her Instagram feed:
An immediate question regarding the ingredients in the bubbles pops up in her mind. Before these Instagram changes, the hefty barrier of having to exit Instagram to find the contact information for the local store and then writing an email or calling the store causes Jenny to realize that a cute bottle of bubbles just isn’t worth it.Instagram Changes, You Win Click To Tweet
Now, with these new Instagram changes, Jenny will be able to simply exit the picture view and click “Contact”. If Jenny gets the answer she was looking for, she’ll have a much greater chance of coming by the store to pick it up.
You can see that this new feature can be super beneficial to one type of service and less important or even a hindrance on others. Do you see it working well for your business?
Follower and Posts Insights
Companies eat up analytics, and rightfully so! Analytics are your gauge as to how awesome (or not so awesome) your followers think you are doing. The second Instagram change in the business realm is Insights on your posts and your followers.
First, you’ll have a view of your top posts. Thanks to Later.com, we have a sneak peek into what this will look like.
This view will show you the impressions you received on each of your posts, from most impressions to least. You also have the option of viewing impressions for the past 7 days or the past 30 days.
How can you use these Instagram changes to your advantage, regardless of what type of business you are?
1) When comparing the 30-day view with the 7-day view, you’ll quickly see how relevant your older posts are. If you have posts at the top of your 30-day view that aren’t in your 7-day view, it’s likely your older posts are still getting traction. That’s great!
2) In either view, you can see what types of posts resonate most with your followers. Are they excited about simplicity, vibrant images, behind-the-scenes images, your personal life, highly produced and staged images, quote graphics, collages, etc.? Instead of flipping through each image to count up the ‘likes’, Instagram does the work for your benefit.
3) You’ll have the opportunity to see more than likes. Many notice that their videos don’t get as many ‘likes’ as their images due to the fact that followers become side-tracked while watching and then move on. With these new Instagram changes, you’ll see how many users you affected and not just those who took the extra time to show you love.
Looking deeper into what people your audience is filled with is crucial to understanding what to post. With this new set of Instagram changes, you’ll now have insight into several pieces of information:
- When they are online by the day and hour
- Which country and city they are viewing your profile from
- Their gender and age
Here’s an inside look at what the Instagram Insights will look like, thanks to Later.com.
1) You’ll now know exactly what time to post to get the most immediate engagement. Perhaps you’ll want to find a time that has a string of high times right after. For example, looking at the insights in the image above, it appears as if 9:00 pm is the time when most of this users’ followers are on. However, starting at 10:00 pm, the followers drop off drastically. In this case, I might resist the temptation to post at 9 pm, and instead, I might publish one of my posts at 6:00 pm so that those followers and the ones on for the next few hours will have the best chance of seeing it at or near the top of their feed.Location, age, gender & time online: New Instagram Follower Insights. Click To Tweet
2) Knowing where your followers are viewing your profile from might also be helpful. Beyond publishing your posts at times they are most likely to see them, we can think about what is relevant in those areas.
- Do they use a certain slang?
- Did a significant current event recently happen where they live?
- Do they have a landmark they’re known for?
3) Lastly, when thinking of gender and age, it feels best to use this information if you aren’t seeing great success. If you are seeing that a high percentage of your audience sees and engages with your content, you might not need to change a thing. However, if you’re looking to improve these stats, it might be worth thinking about what your specific audience (male vs. female vs. other and young vs. old) might enjoy.
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Ability to Promote Posts
Here come Instagram’s new money-maker and something companies have been looking forward to for a while. For businesses that are used to using promoted pins/posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, they will naturally fall in love with the ability to promote their Instagram posts (if they haven’t jumped on the bandwagon already).
The name of the ad game on Instagram is “simplicity”. Instead of incorporating really specific targeting like some other social platforms do, they’re starting with just allowing small businesses to dip their toes in the water, targeting by gender, age, interest, and location.
Users with business profiles have easy access to hop in and promote any post they’ve already sent. Promoted posts will have the word “Sponsored” on the upper right and also a call-to-action on the bottom.
are you in?
Although they’ve had a lot of success thus far without it, Instagram can’t take the chance of waiting longer to come up to par with other social media platforms in the realm of helping small businesses.
How are you feeling about these Instagram changes? Which aspect of the Instagram business tools excite you most? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or via email!