New Instagram Features – What Do I Need to Know?

new Instagram features - what do I need to know?

With more people staying home, self-isolating and online shopping becoming more popular than ever before, businesses the world around are waking up to the need to maintain an authentic and modern presence on social media.

With over 500 million daily users on Instagram, and new features coming out all the time, it can be very hard for businesses to keep up to date with the latest trends and features available to them and to figure out which ones have a practical application in their line of business or in relation to their current or ideal audience.

Instagram has had a swag of new features added in the past few months so to help you out, we have researched and uncovered the key details you need to know. Here goes…

Instagram Shop

Last month, Instagram unveiled Instagram Shop, the newest way to sell for both brands and creators. An instagram shop is also a great way to shop the latest trends and exclusive previews as a consumer. Instagram Shop is currently only available in the US but has expanded globally in recent weeks and our prediction is it’s not too far away in Australia at all.

Instagram shop

Interested users can find the Instagram Shop feature on the mobile app located on the Explore Page next to IGTV. On this page, users are shown personalised recommendations based on the brands they currently engage with and follow.

They will also see curated collections from Instagram’s own shop team which aims to promote emerging businesses and their creators. At this stage, businesses are featured in this section organically. However, this feature will likely become monetised in the future, with the potential for businesses to produce sponsored campaigns.

This new feature allows users to complete their shopping experience on Instagram with all the necessary browsing, collating and purchasing options available within the app. Such a user-friendly experience will likely catch on very quickly with online shoppers, especially in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions on brick and mortar retail.

Facebook Pay

Concerned consumers should be made aware that all Facebook Apps, including Instagram, are slowly incorporating Facebook Pay as an instant-pay option. This feature is said to be “highly secure and seamless” with strong anti-fraud monitoring. Facebook Pay also provides the option to set up unique pins as well as Touch and Face ID.

In addition, Facebook Pay users are also protected with Purchase Protection for all eligible products purchased through the app. In the case of a damaged, missing or poorly made item, consumers will be granted a full refund.

To gain an edge over competitors, businesses should frequently and consistently tag their products in highly engaging, quality imagery. It is also suggested that businesses create collections of products in Instagram Shop for ease of consumer use.

In short, if you sell products and have an Instagram account, there’s never been a better time than now to set up for Instagram Shopping. Setting up to sell on Instagram shopping is relatively easy. This feature is available in both your Instagram feed and Instagram stories. However you must meet some criteria in order to be eligible.

This includes:
  • Primarily selling physical goods – Your Instagram account must be a business that primarily sells physical goods. Facebook (owner of Instagram) is continuing to test this feature and hope to expand availability to more accounts in the near future.
  • Have your business account connected to a Facebook Catalog – Your business account must be connected to a Facebook catalog inside Facebook Business Manager. This can be created and managed on Catalog Manager or Business Manager on Facebook, or through Shopify or BigCommerce platforms.

Once you have this all linked up, you’re ready to sell!

Go ahead and submit your account for review by going to Business and tap Instagram Shopping. The process generally takes a few days. If you’ve been approved, you will receive notifications from Instagram and complete set-up in Shopping in Settings to start tagging products in your posts and stories. You can visit Shopping in Settings at any time to check your review status.

WANT TO KNOW MORE:

Instagram Commerce Eligibility Requirements

Facebook Commerce Policies

Commerce Product Merchant Agreement

Call-To-Action Buttons for Instagram Business Profiles

Unlike Instagram shopping features, there is no criteria for businesses to add action buttons which are continuing to expand over time. Learn more about where these features are available.

In order to add these features you will need to use one of Instagram’s designated partners in your country i.e. to allow people to order food on your channel if you are a restaurant owner/marketer and you are in Australia, you’ll need to have an existing account with Caviar, Deliveroo, DoorDash, HungryHungry, Menulog, Ritual or Uber Eats. Click here for more.

Once you do have an account with a recognised partner, you can add the following call-to-action buttons to your business account on Instagram which is very exciting:

  • Book: Book an appointment: 
  • Reserve: Make a reservations at a restaurant.
  • Get Tickets: Get tickets for an event.
  • Gift Cards: Buy gift cards for a business.
  • Order Food: Get food delivery or take-out from a business.

Only one action button can be displayed on your profile at a time. If you would like more than one, you may have to choose one and switch it later.

Fundraising Features

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the re-ignition of the Black Lives Matter movement in early 2020, Instagram also rolled out new fundraising features that now includes personal causes. These include raising money to donate to COVID-impacted communities, underfunded teachers, Black Lives Matter organisations or other assorted allyship movements. Previously, fundraising was only available to businesses.

For the moment, some of these features remain exclusive to the US and UK or for Android devices. However, they will likely be found across Instagram globally within the next few weeks.

To create a personal fundraiser, eligible users will need to visit Edit Profile > Raise Money. Users can customise their own fundraiser cover photo and pick a category. They then have the opportunity to tell their fundraising story to the world. Once a user has entered their financial information to the payment processor, the fundraising can begin.

Each fundraiser will last for 30 days with the option to extend them for additional 30-day increments. To maintain the quality and legitimacy of this feature, Instagram will review all fundraisers to ensure they are for eligible causes. Note that all users must be at least 18 years old to create a fundraiser.

Monetary donors have the option to keep their name and donation hidden from the public. However, the fundraising individual will be able to see all donor details.

While this update may not directly affect businesses, it has the capacity to change the way audiences connect and donate to important causes. It may also influence the rise of influencer lead crowdfunding campaigns for social justice or similar purposes. This feature is definitely worth keeping an eye on in the coming months.

In Summary…

Instagram is well aware that they must work harder than ever to maintain user engagement. With so many audiences socialising and working from home, social media sites have had to step up their game with new, fun features to keep the world entertained. To make sure that your online presence continues to thrive, it is essential to keep up to date with these changes. Businesses need to jump on the bandwagon now if they don’t want to get left behind.

To learn more about Instagram and its many features, consider signing up for one of our online or in-person Training Collective Courses.

Or, if you’re looking to boost your Instagram following, check out our Instagram Marketing Packages.

Are you thinking of running an Instagram competition? Be sure to read our blog post first.

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