Instagram has become an integral part of many small business owners’ marketing plan. It is grown significantly over the years, offering much more than just picture sharing options. If your small business uses Instagram as part of your overall marketing mix, here are the new Instagram features you need to know about.

New shop tab is being tested

shoppingThough not widely available to all uses, some Instagram users may see the heart icon in the app’s navigation bar replaced with a shopping bag in the near future. First reported by Tech Crunch on July 7th, Instagram started a small global test that replaces the Activity tab with an Instagram Shop tab. Why the change and what does it mean for users? The new shortcut makes shopping on Instagram a one-tap option versus the two taps currently needed to reach Shops from the Explore tab. Users should see a more straightforward way to shop from their feeds. Activity stays one tap away but moves up near the Instagram Direct paper airplane icon.

Pinning comments

thumbtackInstagram users can now pin up to three comments to the top of their posts. The feature is intended to help users set and manage the tone of responses to their posts. Comments can be pinned by swiping left and tapping the pin icon. When an account pins someone else’s comment, they receive a notification. This is an important feature in particular for businesses to make engagement easier for other users to see on their feed. To access the pinned comments feature, be sure to update your Instagram app, then tap on any post and go to the comments section. Once you have found the comment you want to pin, swipe left and select the thumbtack icon to pin it. Since you can only pin three, you may want to occasionally swap out comments. To do so, just swipe left again and tab on the thumbtack to unselect the comment you no longer wish to be pinned.

Other new features you might have missed

Instagram storiesInstagram has been busy updating the platform this year. Here are a few other Instagram updates you may have missed in 2020:

  • Facebook Shops
  • Instagram Shop
  • IGTV Ads
  • Badges in Instagram Live
  • Live Shopping
  • Green Screen in Instagram Stories Filters

You can also check out the “What’s New” section on the Instagram site to not only learn about new features but get instruction on best practices to get the most out of these features. They also can help troubleshoot any issues you may be having when trying to take advantage of these new features.

Instagram for e-commerce

The changes this year have definitely been especially helpful for small business owners in the e-commerce realm. Instagram is making it easier to get products in front of potential buyers and make the buying process easier to conduct straight from an Instagram feed. If you don’t have an Instagram shop set up, work with a social media marketing consultant to get this set up for you so your small business can take advantage of these.

There is no doubt that new Instagram features will continue to be rolled out. Be sure your small business is taking advantage of all that Instagram has to offer to help expand your audience and generate more revenue for your company.

Patty Hughes
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