Changes at Instagram: “We’re no longer a photo sharing app”
Mosseri posted 3 videos of him explaining some upcoming changes and the new direction Instagram will be headed in. If you want to check them out for yourself, you can find them on Twitter.
It’s clear from his videos that Instagram is set on expanding. A big part of this is incorporating more videos into the app, but also a larger focus on creators and selling.
Dedicated Shopping tab
In late 2020, Instagram made a significant change to the user interface. Instead of checking notifications at the bottom of the screen where the other tabs are, it was moved to the top. Notifications were replaced with a dedicated Shopping tab that shows a mix of products you’ve already liked, from brands you follow, and other products you might be interested in.
$1 billion plan to pay creators
Previously, influencers and high profile users made money through Instagram by getting 3rd party sponsors. This differed from other media platforms like TikTok which has a Creator's Fund in certain countries.
However, Facebook (which includes Instagram now) announced that they are investing $1 billion into creators by the end of the year 2022. This could drive creators to create more compelling content, and therefore bring more traffic to the app as a whole.
Right now, bonuses are invitation-only and have been happening on Facebook. But there are plans for expanding them in the future.
For small businesses with a growing following, this can be a great way to earn some extra cash to invest back into their store.
A big reason for businesses to start investing more into their video content is IGTV ads. Advertising in this format can freshen up your brand and deliver 15 second, mobile ads right into the hands of your target audience.
The possibility of sending users to your Instagram profile and purchasing your products from there could be a big advantage for your sales.
Partnering with influencers will become even easier through the new, native affiliate tool that Instagram said they’d be testing in the coming months. It will work by allowing influencers to promote a product on their account and gain a commission through sales.
This will give businesses a chance to expand their affiliate strategy directly through their Instagram account.
3 tips for selling: How can businesses adapt to Instagram’s changes?
We don’t know for sure what the future of selling on Instagram will look like, but here are some tips that can help you go with their new flow.
Be transparent and relatable
The line between popular social media accounts and people who produce physical products can often be blurred. Take the designer label Selkie, for example. The internet fell in love with their iconic dress design, but their creator also boasts a near 70k followers on Instagram themselves.
That means if you can master the balance between the two, it can open up a whole other world for income.
For example, let’s look at how they address where their clothing is manufactured. The label ‘Made in China’ can have some stigma attached to it, but Selkie is very open and transparent with this process. They’ve been clear with their choice of an ethical manufacturer and even taken trips to China to show where the dresses are made.
As people become more conscious of how their clothing is sourced, opening that curtain can endear customers to you and your brand.
Video, video, video
It sounds like Instagram might introduce more of a TikTok style of showing videos. This could mean a longer time limit or changing how they're accessed in the app. However, this is just a prediction.
Currently Instagram has some video features that are prominent in the app:
Stories: 15-second videos and images that last for 24 hours. They appear at the top of the app and progress from right to left.
Reels: 15-second videos you can record, edit, and share with a wider audience. Unlike Stories, they do not expire after 24 hours. You can also post them to your feed.
Consider your branding strategy
The shift towards more video content was a big vocal point in Mosseri’s posts. If you have a business, consider researching more about video creation and what your demographic likes to see.
It doesn't have to be studio quality. Just make your video content interesting. Here are some ideas:
- Showcasing your products (either in use or with a nice set up)
- Giving a peek into your working environment
- How your items are made
- Interviews with team members
- Utilizing certain memes or trends
The more engaging it is, the more your content will be shared and reach a larger audience organically. This is why it's a worthwhile investment into your branding. As people come across your logo and company, they'll be more likely to purchase from you.
Learn "The Algorithm"
Learning more about Instagram’s algorithm can also be beneficial to organically reaching potential customers on the app. Not only will it help people reach your products organically, but it will grow your following and lead to more sales.
In one of his videos, Mosseri said that content is showed to users based on their likes. Your posts will be shown more often if you have good engagement: shares, comments, and likes (typically in that order of importance).
What do you think the future of Instagram looks like? Will you put more of your focus there as these new changes roll out, or will you gear more towards selling on your own website? Things in eCommerce are changing swiftly, so we’ll be keeping our attention on this ever-evolving app.