4 instagram updates: why they're prioritizing video and what to do about it

Recently Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, shed some light on the behind the scenes, goings-on of Instagram. It seems they're making an effort to be more transparent so we can all be mentally prepared when there are changes. (How thoughtful, eh?)


One thing Adam emphasized is that many of the upcoming feature experiments will be due to the fact that, according to their research, users primarily use social media to be entertained. Now keep in mind that entertainment doesn’t have to mean ‘funny, haha’. It can take many different forms, so please don’t feel pressure to take up comedy unless it fits your brand. The other thing to keep in mind is that just because most people use IG for that doesn’t mean YOUR people use it for that. So do some research of your target customer and make that assessment for your niche, K?


OKAY. So now I'm going to highlight the key points he mentioned, as well as my suggested next steps based on that. Sound good? Let's get started...



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1. instagram will support creators in a big way.


Essentially, Instagram (and all of social media) are recognizing the huge shift in power across industries, away from the institution, and toward individuals. As a result, Instagram is looking for more ways to support Creators and help them make that moolah. In fact, Instagram just announced that by the end of 2022, they are going to invest over $1 billion to give Creators more ways to earn money for the content they create on FB & Insta. These efforts will include new creative tools, monetization products, and even bonus programs that pay creators for hitting milestones.


What you need to take away:


While some of these tools *could* apply to you and it’s good to have some kind of a pulse, this should NOT make you panic, feel overwhelm, or feel like you have more to do to catch up. My opinion? Unless your primary goal is to be an Instagram Influencer, I recommend keeping your efforts more holistic.


Let me explain. You do not own the info on any of your followers, or users on Instagram. If and when IG goes away someday, you still need to have a solid digital marketing strategy to support your livelihood and hopefully, an online home for your community outside of social. Even though IG promotes their features as a helpful tool, many of them are intended to get you using IG MORE and other apps less. So my advice? Focus on developing a holistic digital marketing strategy over going all in on one social app. If you need more specific guidance with that, we’re always here to lend a helping hand with our strategy offerings and mentorship.




2. instagram is no longer a photo-sharing app. It will be prioritizing video moving forward.


Essentially, people are trending toward short form, highly consumable content. Remember when blogs were huge? HAH! IG will be experimenting with mobile-first video content to keep up with the way people now consume content, as well as the STIFF competition...we all know TikTok is taking over the world.


What you need to take away:


This one’s a doozy and has a lot of business owners stressed. I want to start by saying, that your feelings are 100% valid. Change is hard, social media can be brutal, and video content can feel daunting. With that said, here are a few things to keep in mind:


  1. Photos aren’t going anywhere. Just because Instagram will give more priority and reach to video features, doesn’t mean you can NEVER share photos. That said, I suggest finding creative and sustainable ways to incorporate video.

  2. You don’t have to have professional production quality to participate effectively. Don’t be a perfectionist about this. Use what you have and show up as you are. A cell phone will do just fine. It’s enough, okay?

  3. Keep a mindset of curiosity and experimentation. Tinker around with reels, lives, and IGTV. Know that new audiences are coming your way. It's always a good idea to keep in mind how YOUR NICHE consumes content. If video is a primary part of that, then this transition is a good thing for you! But don't take it too seriously.

  4. Remember: Instagram is not a digital marketing strategy.Putting to much stock in one detail of your posting strategy won’t do anything but keep you stuck. Zoom out and remind yourself of your highest priorities. Then take action based on THAT.

The app evolves to suit the needs of its users, which means some of these new features will offer opportunities for faster growth and visibility if you take advantage of them, and therefore, to connect with your people. That’s a good thing!



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3. in-app Shopping features will become more robust and prevalent.


More prevalent than it already is...Throughout the pandemic, most people switched almost exclusively to online shopping. Before that, e-commerce was quickly picking up steam. Here are two facts for ya:


81% of people use Instagram to help research products and services.
130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts every month.

Heck, I bought the perfect swimsuit from a shop I discovered on IG, because the algorithm knew I needed one, and that I like sustainable, ethically made clothes. As a result of stats like this based on actual consumer behaviors, Instagram will continue to release more avenues for making money and taking payments directly on the app. Features like IG Live Shopping (think QVC, but on IG), Reels Shopping, and more are going to take the forefront.


What this means for you:


If you have a shop, I definitely recommend taking advantage of some of these opportunities, but again, don't feel like you need to try every single feature. If you have products and aren't yet taking advantage of some of IG's shop features, you're leaving money on the table. Period. Do some digging, craft a strategy, or get in touch with us and we will help you through it! That said, I still recommend having a home and a strategy for your products separate from a social media outlet if and when any of them disappears.




4. there will be a bigger emphasis on messenger/dms.


Again, the coming experiments are intended to align with the way users are interacting with each other day to day. While we don't know exactly what IG/FB will do, we know that 2020 already brought a lot of new features:

  • Animated messaging

  • Cross-app messaging & calling

  • Watching videos with friends

  • Vanish mode

  • Chat themes and colors

+ more! Expect to see some new experiments in 2021/2022.


What this means for you:


You can explore new ways of connecting with your community in the DMs so you can interact with them the way they do with friends. Just make sure that if you implement a strategy to hit people up in the DMs, that you lead with AUTHENTIC, genuine value. No one likes to be spammed.


 

Phew! I know, it's a lot to take in. The big thing? Don't panic. A lot of people are concerned that they have to make Reels their full time job and that simply isn't the case. But at the same time, keep an open mind and consider experimenting!


Hope this was helpful! I know there are a lot of people telling you to do all the things, but I'll leave you with this: Make sure you 1) have a strategy, 2) take consistent action aligned with your brand, and 3) enjoy the journey! Let all your decisions on what to implement stem from that. NO FOMO ALLOWED. We do this because we want a better life on our own terms. Don't trade it for another iteration of that full time job you quit.