folder Social Media Marketing

Instagram's Top 10 New Features for 2021 (Plus One to Keep An Eye On)

calendar 2021-11-23 | glass 13 min read | user Ricky Hayes
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"The only constant in life is change." - Heraclitus

Don't you hate it when you're already comfortable with something, then it suddenly changes?

When you think you've already gotten the hang of your digital marketing game, but there are factors out of your control... like updates.

And this quote probably describes how you feel whenever a social media site updates its platform.

Especially with Instagram. In the past few months alone, Instagram has added more than 10 new features, which makes it more challenging for you to keep up with all of them.

And that's what we're going to talk about today.

I will discuss Instagram's Top 10 new features this year and how you can use them.

Remember, knowing how these features work is one way to start getting better results!

So, let's get this show down the road.

Why Should You Use Instagram for Your Ecommerce Business?

Instagram is a social media platform that allows you to post photos and videos.

It has 1.74 billion users in 2021, with 500 million daily active users.

Initially, Instagram was a photo-sharing app. But it has been releasing various features over the years... such as videos, IGTV, stories, interactive stickers, etc.

It's no secret that Instagram will just continue evolving, and here are a few reasons why you should use it...

Instagram Benefits:

1. Easier To Reach Your Target Audience

Social media is one way to connect with your audience.

In the United States, Instagram has 71% daily active users whose age ranges from 18-29 years old.

So, if you're targeting that age range, Instagram makes it easier to reach them.

Another reason is...

2. Drive Brand Awareness

If you learn more about how to use Instagram for marketing, you can increase your brand awareness.

Since Instagram is a visual-centric app, you can promote your products using great images and videos,

And the more you promote your product, the more Instagram users see that your brand exists.

Sounds exciting, right?

So, last but not least...

3. Tools To Utilize For Business Growth

Instagram has been rolling out several updates to help you enhance your experience as a business owner.

You can use these tools to achieve your social media goals and drive sales.

If these reasons amaze you, let's get to it!

10 Instagram New Features For 2021

1. Live Rooms

Live Rooms

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This Instagram feature allows you to go Live with up to three (3) people. Prior to this update, you can only go on Live alone or with another user.

This is in the hopes of opening up more opportunities for collaboration and building communities within the platform.

Since the pandemic, Instagram has noticed that more people utilize this feature. Usually, to connect with others while at home.

People are sharing educational content... or interviewing industry experts, and some are just hanging out with their friends on Live.

Sounds cool, right?

That's why let me tell you how this can benefit your brand.

Benefit:

This can encourage collaboration between you and users who are loyal to your brand.

You can hop on Live to interview customers who have been using your products. This can help you build trust among your audience, especially if they haven't purchased your products yet.

If you want to master how to use Instagram for marketing... this is one way to increase your reach. Because if you go live with three (3) people, their followers can also get a notification that you're live. You can also post the Live on your grid after it ends.

How It Works:

Start with swiping left. Then choose the "Live" option, add a title, and tap the "Rooms" icon. You can then add your guests. You can also see people who are sending requests to go live with you. Or you can search on your own.

The second out of 10 Instagram marketing features you can use is...

2. Collaboration

CollaborationImage source

Instagram Collabs allows you to collaborate with other users.

One of Instagram's marketing trends that don't go out of style is collaboration. It can be with other brands, influencers, or a regular consumer.

And as a brand, this feature can help you reach a relevant audience. Because your post will appear on the feed of the person you've collaborated with.

So, let's say you've partnered with a loyal customer. Their audience can see the content you posted.

But here's the catch...

This doesn't mean that your audience can't disclose if you sponsored the post or not. Your collaborators need to state if it's paid content. That's according to the regulatory guidelines.

How can Collabs help your business, anyway?

Benefit:

You can use this feature on Instagram for small business. Why? Because you can reach more people who might have an interest in your brand. As I said above, Collabs can help you reach a relevant audience.

So, let's say that you're collaborating with an influence. You can tap on their audience, who, by the way, can be your target customers.

How It Works:

To start a collaboration, just create a post as you usually would. Then click "Tag People" and "Invite Collaborator." As of now, you can only collaborate with one person. So after clicking their name, you have to wait for them to accept the invitation to collaborate.

You also need to take note that they can stop sharing the collaboration with you anytime. This will stop your content from appearing on their Instagram feed.

Now, let's hop on one of the most exciting Instagram updates this year...

3. Link Stickers

Link Stickers

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I can hear the cheers of small accounts from here! 🥂

So, recently, Instagram has decided to drop the "Swipe Up" link.

Before the link stickers feature, the "Swipe Up" feature was only available for Instagram users with over 10,000 followers.

But not this time, because this is now available to all accounts.

Yep, you read it right! Whether you have 500 or 50,000 followers, you can use the link stickers.

So, what makes this one of the best Instagram marketing features?

Benefit:

If you want to learn how to use Instagram for marketing, you need to use this.

This will be a great feature to utilize. Because now, your audience doesn't need to take extra steps before reaching your website.

Before Link stickers, you can only put links on your bio. And to be honest, not everyone has the energy to make multiple clicks.

But with Link stickers, it's easier to drive website traffic! Just make sure to insert your website link in the stickers.

How It Works:

First, just go to Stories and upload the content you wish to post. Then click on the Sticker tool, the third icon from the left. And select "Link." Voila!

Another Instagram marketing feature is...

4. "Add Yours" Sticker

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Recently, Instagram has added "Add Yours" to their collection of interactive stickers.

It allows Instagram users to add photos or videos to their Stories, based on the question.

Since this is a public thread, it's easier to view other users' responses to the threads. This can be one of the Instagram marketing trends, as this feature is still fresh. And many people are excited to use this.

But how is this one of the best Instagram marketing features in 2021?

Benefit:

You can get a community to participate.

For example, you are selling desktop organizers online. And you start a thread asking people to show their desk setup. So, you can have Instagram users who focus on journaling and desk setup content for students to participate.

And if many people join, they can see that it was you who started the thread.

How It Works:

Add a photo to your Stories, then click on the Stickers Tab. Click "Add Yours." Now, personalize the text and make it interactive.

The next Instagram marketing feature you need to know is...

5. Videos and IGTV Combined as "Instagram Video"

Videos and IGTV Combined as Image Source

Videos have always been one of the most efficient Instagram marketing trends. Not just on Instagram, actually.

But now, regular videos and IGTV are in one place. And it's called "Instagram Video."

Before this update, you can find the videos along with the photos.

So, if ever you were looking for a video under 60 seconds, you had to scroll through hundreds of posts to find it.

And why is this one of the best Instagram marketing features this 2021?

Benefit:

Videos are one of Instagram's marketing trends. So, an audience who has an interest in your content can find all videos in one place. They don't need to scroll through dozens of photos and videos to watch something they need.

How It Works:

Upload a video like how you normally do. Click the "+" sign on the top right corner, and select Post.

Just do some trimming and editing if you like. You can also optimize the location and add captions.

Let's talk about the next one! This is by far one of the most valuable Instagram marketing features this year...

6. Professional Dashboard

Professional Dashboard

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Professional Dashboard allows you to analyze your insights.

Not only that... You can also find tools and resources on how to use Instagram for marketing. As well as manage your monetization activity (depends on your eligibility).

Yes, ALL in one place!

So, why did I say "one of the most useful Instagram marketing features?"

Benefit:

This feature helps you identify if your audience is receiving your content well. You can track your performance and see if people are interacting with your content. Instagram is also sharing some tips and tricks and Instagram marketing trends you can utilize.

How It Works:

First, go to your profile. Then you can see the "View Professional Dashboard" on top of your name and bio.

Take note. You need to know how to create a business page on Instagram. Why? Because you have to switch your profile to either Business or Creator to access this feature.

The next Instagram feature I want to talk about is...

7. Desktop Posting

Desktop PostingImage Source

As most of us know, Instagram is a mobile-centric social media app.

Yes, you can access it on a desktop. But there are some features that you can only access if you use a mobile device, like posting.

This was one of the struggles that brand owners and marketers experienced. Why? Because every time you create content on a desktop, you need to sync everything on mobile before publishing the post.

Or... some brand owners choose to pay for an Instagram scheduling tool.

This is easier to use... because you just have to drag your files using a desktop. Then schedule them, and the tool will post them based on your schedule.

But there's no need for this anymore. You can already post your content directly from your desktop with no hassle! You can even optimize your location, accessibility settings, captions, etc.

This is one of the best Instagram marketing features released this year, and I'll tell you why.

Benefit:

Desktop posting eases your content publishing process. You don't need to spend a dime on a scheduling tool. But of course, you can still use tools because they're helpful. Especially if you don't have enough time on your hands.

Another benefit is that you don't need to spend more time syncing your files across multiple devices.

How convenient, right?

How It Works:

Using your desktop, just head to your Instagram page. Then click the "+" button on the top right corner. Then drag or select your files. Customize the caption, location, etc.. and voila!

Bonus tip: Learn how to link Instagram to your Facebook business page to make your experience on the app even easier. Because if you do, you can also schedule your posts across the two platforms.

The next feature is...

8. Hide Like Count

Hide Like Count

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"Likes" is probably one of the metrics used to measure social media success. So, this might not be one of your usual Instagram for business main features.

But usually, Instagram likes are to measure if the content is popular or receiving a reasonable engagement.

This year, Instagram has decided to allow users to "Hide Like Count" of their posts. Instagram thought this would "depressurize people's experience" on the app.

So, how will this benefit you as a business owner?

Benefit:

For some potential customers, Instagram likes might be important to see if an ecommerce brand is performing well. But if you have low engagement, others can't see it anymore. You can control what you want to show to other users.

How It Works:

Go to the post you wish to hide the like counts. Then click the three dots on the top right corner, and select "Hide Like Count."

Easy, right?

The next Instagram marketing feature is...

9. Limit Comments

Limit CommentsImage Source

As part of Instagram's movement to give users more control...

You can limit unwanted interactions on your Instagram account!

So, this feature allows you to limit the comments you receive from other users. And as I said above, this is part of Instagram's movement to give users more control.

Now, let me tell you why this is one of the best Instagram marketing features.

Benefit:

You can manifest brand transparency while still protecting your online presence. This will help you get rid of trolls and spam. So, you can only let genuine followers interact with your brand.

How It Works:

Go to your Privacy Settings, then turn the "Limits" on. After that, select who to limit.

That's it! So easy to activate, but can definitely protect your page from unwanted interactions.

And another one of the best Instagram marketing features is...

10. Reels

ReelsImage Source

Instagram released Reels in 2020 in some countries, but this feature is still expanding to more countries as of writing. Not everyone has this feature yet. So, I still decided to include this in the list.

Anyway... The leading short-form video platform Tiktok inspired the creation of Reels.

This is to entertain more users and to allow business and creators to unleash their creativity.

But how can this benefit your business?

Benefits:

Reels can help you build your brand. You can produce more entertaining content while promoting your business. You can share your packaging process or demonstrate how your products work!

How It Works:

Click the "+" icon on the top right corner. Then select "Reels." You can start shooting your video, then add audio, effects, text, etc.

Think that's all?

I have a great addition to this Instagram features list.

Bonus Feature: Remixing Reels

Bonus Feature: Remixing ReelsImage source

You need to keep an eye on this feature... because you can now remix Reels!

Remixing Reels means you can film a video that appears next to the original one. This is one way to collaborate with other users.

How can this help you?

Benefits:

Let's say a customer unboxes your products and posts them on Reels. You can remix the Reel and show your reaction. You can use this feature to engage with your loyal customers.

How it works:

Choose the video you want to remix, then click on the three dots. After that, select "Remix This Reel" and start recording or uploading your own video.

Now that you know how to use Instagram for marketing, what are you waiting for?

Boost Your Sales with Instagram Marketing!

Take advantage of these Instagram marketing features... and you'll see how they can help your business.

But wanna know what's another way to boost your sales?

If you have a functional website! An efficient website that your Instagram audience can use when buying from your ecommerce store...

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Not only that, because you can also use 50+ add-ons to enhance your website!

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Written by

Ricky Hayes

Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify - free Shopify theme, helping dropshippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies and mentoring programs.

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