Brand-Building Best Practices for Instagram's New Update

Instagram for Business

By Devon Kelliher

There are over 70 million photos uploaded to Instagram every day. A good percentage of them are probably photos of cats, food, nails, and the occasional birthday collage, but among these standard posts there lies a great marketing opportunity for your brand.  How can you help your brand’s page get noticed when users are being constantly inundated with content? Instagram’s new update can help! The thing that makes Instagram such an enjoyable experience for users is that we, the consumers, have the power to control what enters our feed and what doesn’t. Sure, there’s the unavoidable promoted post on Instagram, but other than that we are exposed only to what we choose to see. This is great for consumers, but not so great for advertisers. Instagram’s latest update, which has completely enhanced the app’s search capabilities, is changing this dynamic. Users still choose the content that appears in their feed, but the updates to the Search and Explore page will expose them to new content that they may not have even known they were interested in. 

Instagram 7.0, which is now available in the U.S. for iPhone and Android, makes it easier for users to search and discover photos. The Search and Explore tab, which was formerly limited to posts relevant to photos the user had liked or people he or she followed, now features trending tags based upon the most common hashtags on the platform at the moment. For example, at the time of this post, #4thofjuly and #strength were among the topics that people were posting about most. The update also includes a banner at the top of the page which further categorizes photos. Users have the option to discover new people to follow and explore trending places. They can also explore posts that are curated for each individual user based on people they follow and photos they like (a feature that carried over from the old Instagram). And finally, users can search by location instead of relying on hashtags to see photos taken from a certain place.

So, besides the fact that we now get to see more photos of exotic places and remote beaches that will make us yearn for a vacation, what does the Instagram update really mean in terms of your business? These updates may help attract users to your brand’s page  users who otherwise might not have directly sought ought your brand on the app. Here are some best practices for leveraging these updates to increase your brand’s social presence.

Take advantage of the trending hashtags    

Just like on Twitter, now we can see what users are talking about on Instagram. Trending hashtags are the topics that are currently getting buzz on Instagram  it’s what people are talking about the most. Even if a hashtag seems unrelated to your brand, see if there is an authentic way to get involved in the conversation. When you engage with trending hashtags your photos go directly under the new Trending Tags category so your content stands a better chance at being noticed. 

Use the Search and Explore page to help gain a better understanding of your followers’ Instagram habits

There is no need to guess what your followers are liking on Instagram. Check the Search and Explore tab to find out! See what people are posting and liking for instant insights into you’re followers’ preferences. Take this information one step further by using your research as inspiration for future content for your brand.

Geotag the location

Geotags play an important role in how a user finds content on Instagram. Instagram users can now click on a location to see all of the posts that have been taken there. You’re not limited to the actual location of your brand’s offices, so get creative! Bring your product to unique locations and tag them or create a user-generated content campaign asking people to Instagram photos of where (and how) they enjoy your product for a chance to win a prize and be featured on your page. 

The new Instagram updates are fun and worth exploring from a marketing perspective. But as you post, remember to maintain your brand’s image and voice! Change how you’re posting but not what you’re posting and watch your followers grow! 

Has your brand’s Instagram strategy changed because of the new features?