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7 New Instagram Features You Can Use to Market Your Business

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When it comes to using social media to market your business, Instagram is more popular than ever. Of Instagram’s 1 billion users, 80% follow at least one brand, and Instagram continues to unveil new features to help business users reach their target audiences. Here are 7 features added within the last year that you can use to engage your customers.

1. Story Highlights

Instagram Stories—which lets users post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours—launched in 2016, and now has 400 million daily active users.

While creating a Story is a great way to engage users and show your company in a fun and interesting light, the 24-hour time limit meant many followers might never see a Story before it vanished. In late 2017, Instagram created a solution—Story Highlights.

With Story Highlights, you can select one or multiple Stories—either live or saved in the Story Archive, choose a cover photo and label it with a name. Story Highlights remain visible until you remove them, and you can add more photos or videos at any time.

2. Shopping on Instagram

One of the best new Instagram features for businesses is shopping, which lets users shop for products directly on Instagram—business accounts can tag products in any post and viewers can click to get product information then link out to your website to make a purchase.

To use the shopping feature, you must have an Instagram business account that is connected to a Facebook catalog, then you must be approved for shopping by Instagram.

Once you’re approved (it usually takes a few days), you can start adding shopping posts. Simply choose the photos you want to use, tag up to five products per image or up to 20 products per carousel, and add any filters and captions you want.

When users tap a tag—which can appear as the product name or a shopping bag icon—they see an image of the product, a description, the price, and a link that takes them directly to the purchase page on your website.

With shopping posts, users can see pricing and product details from both the Instagram feed and the Shop tab on an Instagram business profile. (You need at least nine shopping posts on your business profile to activate the Shop tab.)

As of June, select brands on Instagram also have the ability to let users shop from within a Story using shopping stickers. As with shopping tags in posts, tapping on a shopping sticker gives users product information and a link to visit to company’s website to make a purchase. Instagram plans to roll out the Stories shopping feature to additional businesses in the coming months.

3. Scheduled Posts

Instagram now lets business accounts schedule their posts, which gives them more control over their Instagram presence. To schedule posts, you need to work with a third-party social media management application like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social, because posts can’t be scheduled within Instagram itself. Only posts from business accounts can be scheduled, not personal accounts or ads, though Instagram plans to extend the feature to personal accounts next year.

4. Links in Stories

If you have applied for an Instagram verified badge or have a business account with more than 10,000 followers, you can encourage followers to visit your website for more information by adding a link inside Instagram Stories. Links appear at the bottom of the Story labeled with “See More.”

5. IGTV

In June Instagram launched IGTV, a new app that allows users to watch long-form video, either on the IGTV app or on Instagram itself. First you need to create an IGTV channel, then you can upload videos in either vertical or portrait format. Uploaded videos can be viewed by all your Instagram followers

6. Music for Stories

Looking to add a soundtrack to your Stories? Instagram now lets you add music to Stories. Once you’ve created a Story, tap the Stickers button and select Music, and you’ll be taken to the Instagram music library, which contains thousands of songs that are free for commercial use on Instagram.

7. Action Buttons

Instagram is rolling out a series of call-to-action buttons, including Reserve, Get Tickets, Start Order, or Book, that let users initiate a transaction through a number of select partners, including Eventbrite, Fandango, OpenTable, Yelp Reservations, and more. To use the new buttons, businesses must have an existing relationship with one of the supported partners. Here’s how to add a call-to-action button to your Instagram business profile.