By Oier Gil, on 22 October 2019
With 50% of people on Instagram following at least one business page, and more than 1 billion monthly active users, its safe to say Instagram is a massive marketing tool.
Millions of companies and small businesses have a business profile and use Instagram as their primary or secondary revenue generation tool.
There's a lot of competition, so if you want to win on Instagram, implementation of an effective marketing strategy is key. This means you have to stay up-to-date with the latest Instagram trends.
Spamming your posts with random hashtags was a trendy thing to do in 2012, and it worked, but not anymore. 2020 is only a few months away, so here are 10 Instagram trends that will keep you ahead of the curve:
1. Interactive Instagram Stories
Instagram launched Stories in August 2016, initially as an add-on to keep followers updated with minor daily activities in your business, but it has since evolved into a more interactive platform. 500 million daily Story watches in 2019 serves as good proof of that.
Posting a poll, like the one above, is a way for your community to engage with your posts. There are other interactive features on Instagram Stories like question stickers, countdown timers, and even external links.
Here are some tips you can use to make your Stories more interactive:
Make Announcements and Get Feedback
Just released a new product or updated pricing for your services? Announce it on your Stories and get feedback through question stickers from customers who've already signed up.
Use Your Story Highlights
All Instagram Stories disappear automatically after 24 hours, but you don't have to allow your highly engaging Stories disappear forever! You can save that content in your Story highlights where it will stay permanently.
Also, your highlights can serve as an about page to new visitors to your page by introducing your business and stating the kind of products you offer on there.
2. Bigger Explore Tab
The Explore tab on Instagram curates content and provides posts for you based on your past likes and interests.
It used to be quite generic in the past but because interests have become segmented recently, you can now navigate to the Explore tab for content you’re interested in.
The Explore tab used to be strictly organic content but plans are on the way to include more ads in this section.
You might not be able to pay your way to an Explore listing, but here are some techniques you can use to get there organically:
Engage Followers In Your Niche
For your business to be on the Explore tab, you need enough people checking out your content in that niche. Create your ideal follower persona, look at the kind of businesses they follow and the content they like and replicate that on your account to engage those followers.
Use Location Tags and Hashtags
While you may not be among the top-ranking posts for a hashtag on Instagram, you can rank using location tags. When people near you search for it, the location tag can help you with that.
3. Shoppable Influencer Posts
In April 2019, Instagram launched shoppable influencer posts. This means people can now get to the checkout page of a product on an influencer’s post without ever leaving Instagram.
Shoppable posts are still restricted to certain influencers for now.
Popular influencers like Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner and Gigi Hadid are currently being used to test the feature but there are other features Instagram is adding to make popular business pages more like Instagram stores.
Let's look at some of them:
Shopping Tab On Business Profiles
Instagram is making it easier for followers to buy from their favorite brands by adding a link to their shop at the top of their profile page.
If you click on “Shop,” it takes you the brand's embedded store on Instagram and there's a checkout link to the main site if you want to buy.
Collection Tab To Save Products
If a user doesn’t want to buy a product immediately, they can save it to their collection tab and when they’re ready to buy, or if they want to compare with a similar product on a different account, they can head to the tab under their profile.
Shopping Channel On Explore
Direct product links are coming up on the Explore tab. You can see them marked with a little white shopping bag at the top right corner of the picture. When you click on the icon the user gets directed to the embedded site to purchase the item.
4. Sharing Twitter Posts On Instagram
Screenshots of viral tweets have become one of the biggest design crazes on Instagram in 2019. This trend is not slowing down, and many influencers are jumping on the bandwagon.
Here's how you can use Twitter posts on your Instagram:
Feature Your Most Popular Tweets
Twitter’s algorithm is a bit different from Instagram’s, so you could get a lot of engagement on a tweet that has nothing to do with your business. This is a great opportunity to showcase some humor on your social media. You can use your tweets if you've gone viral as well. Embed the tweet in a grid post and also publish it in Stories and direct people to the post.
Repost Tweets From Your Community
The good thing about sharing tweets on Instagram is you don't always have to come up with the tweets yourself!
Get tweets from users in your community that share your brand's message and feature them in your Instagram posts. Just remember to ask permission from the users and always give them credit.
5. New Ways To Use Hashtags
Hashtags have always been a way to attract new visitors to your page. But the techniques are constantly evolving so, no, you won't get on the Explore tab today by spamming your post with 30 hashtags.
Here are three current hashtag trends:
Hashtags Can Be Followed
Users can now follow hashtags on Instagram, along with regular accounts. Using a relevant hashtag that your audience follows can help your posts end up on more potential users feeds.
Insights Can Track Your Hashtags
Before, you used to have to combine different hashtags hoping that one or two would convert followers. Now with a business account, you can view Insights for a particular post and get reports for the number of impressions from your hashtags. This is a good way to know the ones that work and those that don't.
Hashtags On Stories
While adding hashtags on Stories is just like you'll do on a regular post, it's a bit difficult getting into a hashtag aggregated story.
You can add up to 10 hashtags on a Story and if it's a popular hashtag, you can bet others are using it in their Stories too.
6. Influencer Authenticity
There are many ways to optimize your page for awareness, followers, and sales. Most of them will involve putting yourself out there in a way.
Influencers and businesses have turned away from the pretty and perfect feeds of years past to authentic feeds. Users are now seeing through all the fake perfection online. They're craving more authentic content to establish a connection.
As an influencer, being authentic is the best method, because you’ve seen it's a problem in your niche and you want to be the solution.
Expect to see more influencers crying in their posts or on their live broadcasts. Don't be afraid to tell people everything they need to know about your new product, even some of its pain points, as it makes you appear honest and vulnerable.
This generation is ‘woke’ and only brands willing to engage in real cultural discussions and controversial topics will be able to stand out.
7. Customized Brand AR Filters
The use of AR (Augmented Reality) is going to be one of the biggest Instagram marketing trends in 2020 because of its wide range of applications.
AR features have always blown up social media platforms. During the Facebook F8 conference, a heavy focus was put on VR and AR as the technologies that will revolutionize the social media world.
There are now numerous face filters, branded GIFs, and stickers that add life to your photos and backgrounds.
A very popular version of this was Rihanna's diamond filter, introduced in September 2018, which she created to bring attention to her charitable Diamond Ball.
You can develop AR filters for your brand and encourage followers to use them in their posts, and tag you.
Anyone who clicks View Tags will be redirected to your profile so it's a good way to bring Instagram followers to your page.
IGTV (Instagram TV) was announced in June 2018 and it has hit many milestones in the one year it's been around.
Instagram has invested heavily in the stand-alone platform giving brands a completely new channel to showcase their creativity. The big plan is to make it the next YouTube, so this is one to watch.
IGTV previews now appear on the regular Instagram feed and this is largely responsible for the over 1000% increase in IGTV views.
Brands are now cross-promoting their IGTV videos on their feeds so the IGTV videos are more accessible.
There's also been the introduction of landscape videos and its use for long-content videos.
Here's a tip you can use to succeed with IGTV videos:
Share A Preview
You can post a 1-minute preview of your video to your grid feed to increase your views. If your content is inviting enough, people can tap “Keep Watching” to see the full video.
9. Disappearance Of More Bots
Using bots used to be a popular, and controversial, strategy back in the day. You couldn't differentiate organic from paid likes, comments and followers.
Some people encouraged the use of bots to fake engagement because well, they worked at the time. Spammers were using shady tactics to game the algorithm and they were getting all the benefits organic content promoters had. This mean if days of hard work to produce engaging content got you an Explore listing, spam pages were getting this too much faster.
This continued for a while until Instagram got serious about fighting bots. We had some crackdowns here and there then came the massive purge of 2018.
No account was spared, as some popular accounts who use these services were stripped of their fake likes and followers.
There's been increased vigor in the fight against bot-generating engagements. Instagram's latest battle is that against fake Stories views and you can bet more bots will disappear in 2020.
10. Instagram Stories Ads
One problem with running grid feed ads on Instagram is that it's difficult to link to your product page to timeline posts.
Instagram Stories make it easier for you to leave a link to the product page if you run a verified account or have more than 10,000 followers.
500 million people (about half the number of monthly visitors to Instagram) watch stories daily so ads on this platform can only get bigger.
Brand awareness, reach, video views, conversions, app installs, lead generation and traffic are the seven objectives currently available for a Story Ad, but more will be added with time.
A 2014 Instagram marketing strategy won't work in 2019 because a lot has changed in that time, and new trends have replaced old ones.
That's why you need to keep up with the trends in this post so you can stay up-to-date with the practices that'll work for today's Instagrammer. Let us know what you think!