3 Instagram Features You Should Be Using


  • By Kaylee Druk
  • October 06, 2021
Instagram logo in front of a colorful, fun background

MSPC social media manager Kaylee Druk takes a look at three Instagram features your business and brand may want to use to increase reach and engagement.

What started as a platform to share photos (and highly contrasted, excessively saturated ones, at that) is now one of the most used social media platforms in the world—and not just for its photo editing capabilities.

Over the past decade, Instagram has introduced new tools and features that have caused even social media marketers’ heads to spin. So we’re breaking them down. Whether you’re a large brand, small business or an influencer-in-the-making, here are three features you should incorporate into your Instagram strategy today.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are short, fun and interactive videos or images that disappear after 24 hours.

If you’re not posting Instagram Stories, you need to be! More than 500 million people—half of Instagram’s total users—engage with Stories daily, according to Instagram.

Why Instagram Stories are important:

  • They increase your brand’s visibility. Instagram Stories are popular, and you don’t have to beat an algorithm (the process that decides which content users see) to have your content shown. Just publish a new Story and you'll automatically get bumped to the top of your followers’ feeds. It’s really that simple!
  • You can drive website traffic without being disruptive. As long as you have 10,000 followers, you can use the Instagram Stories “swipe up” feature to take your audience to any landing page on the web. Instagram Stories also released “link stickers,” which are tappable stickers that send users to external websites.
  • They double as a consumer insights tool. When used correctly, Instagram Stories can help you understand your audience and their preferences. Use the poll feature to see whether they like “this” or “that,” or gather feedback by using the questions sticker.
  • They allow you to be authentic. Because Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, content can be raw—and a bit more genuine. The best part? You don’t have to worry about throwing off your feed’s visual aesthetic.
 

Instagram Stories Tips:

  • Take advantage of stickers and interactive features.
  • Lead with video whenever possible.
  • Turn on video captions or use frame descriptions to increase accessibility.
  • Use hashtags and locations for discoverability.
  • Save important Instagram Stories to your Highlights section on your profile so your followers can watch them any time—even after 24 hours.

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels are 15- to 60-second multiclip videos that allow brands to create and discover entertaining videos to build community and grow their organic reach.

Designed as an attempt to keep users on Instagram and off competing platforms (we won’t name names), Instagram Reels are highly preferred by the Instagram algorithm.

Why Instagram Reels are important:

  • The algorithm loves them. This is so important that it’s worth noting twice. It seems that Instagram’s algorithm just might be favoring accounts that are consistently using the new Reels feature. Not shocking, right?
  • Your followers love them, too. It’s likely that wordy, static posts just don’t do it for your followers anymore. Instagram Reels allow you to break down and convey a lot of important information in a fun and captivating way.
  • Instagram Reels showcase your brand’s personality. Social media isn’t about traditional marketing and selling; it’s about communication and connection. The most successful brands on Instagram are ones that demonstrate who they are and what they stand for through an authentic voice that resonates with their audience.
  • They can help you find new audiences. Not only can your Instagram Reels show up on the Explore page (if you have a public account), but there’s also a chance new audiences will find them on the Reels tab. New audiences = new followers = new leads. See how that works?
 

Instagram Reels Tips:

  • Use creative tools like text, filters or camera effects.
  • Record and edit Reels on the app.
  • Keep text overlays in the center of the frame.
  • Upload your own cover photo to match your feed’s look and feel.
  • Always publish the Instagram Reel to your regular post feed.

Instagram Guides

Instagram Guides are a new way for users to create, consume and share longer-form content about the products, places and posts they love.

At some point, nearly every copywriter has wondered how to tell a brand’s whole story through short, yet informative Instagram post captions. Solutions have included linking to external articles, posting an IGTV or typing out an unnaturally long caption—until now. Enter: Guides. Welcome to the long-form game, Instagram.

Why Instagram Guides are important:

  • Instagram Guides allow you to repurpose your content. As any social media or content marketer knows, creating good content doesn’t come without a heavy lift. Guides give you a new way to reuse your top-performing content and save yourself some work.
  • You can share digestible information in a listicle format. Instagram Guides make it easy to curate scrollable content that wouldn’t otherwise fit in a traditional post.
  • They establish credibility. Instagram Guides are a great way to position your brand as a subject matter expert and thought leader by sharing in-depth content on a certain topic.
  • They extend your reach. Users can now search for keywords on Instagram, which means your Guides might be shown to new users looking for certain products or solutions.
  • Instagram Guides keep users on your page. The longer your audience stays on your page, the more they’ll get to know your brand and products. Enough said.
 

Instagram Guides Tips:

  • Group similar or top-performing content together when possible.
  • Include an introduction, middle and end in your Instagram Guide.
  • Cross-promote the Guide on your Story.
  • Use Guides to highlight products from your Instagram Shop if you have one.
  • Use Instagram Guides as a partnership opportunity with other brands.
 

Read next: Why Always-On Organic Social Media Strategy Still Matters

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