What’s New in Instagram

 The platform announces new features this week.

 

1. Shopping Feature for Business Accounts

You can now tag your products as quickly and easily as you tag your friends. This week, Instagram announced that its in-app shopping feature will be available to businesses in the U.S. in the coming weeks. Instagram has been testing this feature with large retail brands like J. Crew, Warby Parker, Lulus, and Kate Spade New York since last November. All of these brands had positive reviews of the feature:

“Our partnership with Instagram has been very successful. Traditionally, our customer had turned to Instagram for inspiration, and we’re seeing that she’s reacting positively to the new shopping experience, which allows her to seamlessly tap and shop the product – going from inspiration to information to purchase in just a few steps – we’re excited to see where the feature continues to take us.” – Mary Beech, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer of kate spade new york

“While Instagram is a place for inspiration and visual wonder – there is nothing more satisfying than being able to buy that thing you love RIGHT NOW! The number of times I have found myself in a rabbit hole hunting down that pair of shoes, that beautiful chandelier, those sunglasses, rugs, flower arrangements, random gift ideas – countless!! We were thrilled to be a part of this pilot and to have our customers experience the next generation of shopping via Instagram.” – Jenna Lyons, President and Creative Director, J.Crew
“During holiday 2016, we introduced a few quirky products (a sleep mask, for example) to celebrate the season. Our followers weren’t expecting our brand to introduce new product types, so we used shopping tags to make it more clear that they were available for sale. Our team plans on continuing to explore creative ways to celebrate our assortment with the ultimate goal of enhancing users’ experiences.” – Dave Gilboa, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker
“An overwhelming majority of Lulus’ customers originally discovered our brand through word-of-mouth – either directly from a friend or through social media – and Instagram continues to be a key discovery platform for us. The development of a native and authentic shopping experience on the platform has taken discovery to the next level for customers. And it has opened a great deal of opportunity for us to engage new and existing customers; we have seen that nearly 33% of people who tap to learn more about a product visit our site through ‘Shop Now’.” – Noelle Sadler, VP Marketing, Lulus

 

Instagram provides the capability to present strong creative visual content that really speaks to the user. Everyone knows “a picture is worth a thousand words”, right? Now businesses can take things a step further by giving their followers a direct avenue to shop for the things they see. You will be cutting out the need for the user to have to separately go to your website and to find that exact product to shop for by making it an easier process with fewer steps.

Want to know how to do it?

Things to keep in mind before you begin:

  1. You must have the latest version of Instagram installed.
  2. You must have a business profile account.
  3. You have to be an admin on a Page or have a Business Manager account on Facebook.
  4. You have to have a shop on Facebook or a product catalog in your Business Manager account.

Start connecting your shop to Instagram:

  1. Tap the Get Started alert at the top of your profile.
  2. If you don’t see the alert in the image above, tap the Options icon (gear icon).
  3. Tap Products.
  4. Tap Continue.
  5. Select a product catalog to connect to your business profile.
  6. Tap Done.

How to post and tag your products:

  1. Start the process of uploading a photo as you would normally.
  2. Once you’re on the caption page, you should now have the option to tag people and products.
  3. The search bar will appear. Simply type in the name of the product you are tagging.
  4. Instagram pulls your product information from your Facebook Shop catalog.
  5. You can tag up to 5 products in one post.
  6. Click Share and you’re done!

2. You Can Now Add Hashtags and Account links to Your Profile Bio

What does this mean? Now Instagram allows you to add branded hashtags that are live links in your profile bio as well as linking to another profile using the @ symbol. By introducing the feature of being able to follow certain hashtags, Instagram adds another level of being connected to your users.

Photo source: Instagram

3. Your Feed Could Change Via a “New Posts” Button

Ever since the platform changed its once chronological feed in June 2016, it has received a bit of backlash from its users who have not responded well to the relevancy-sorted feed. Now, it hasn’t gone back to being completely chronological, but they announced today that they are testing a “New Posts” button that allows you the option to display newer posts at the top when you manually refresh your feed.

 

Sources: TechCrunchInstagram Business, Instagram Help, Instagram Press, Big Commerce

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