Instagram has released an exciting new batch of features, arming users with a shiny toolbox of toys to play with. The new features provide creators with greater freedoms, empowering them to collaborate, commercialise and fundraise for charitable causes. Take a look at the three biggest updates for Instagram.
An exciting feature designed to increase engagement, Instagram has launched ‘Collabs’ which allows two accounts to co-author Posts and Reels. The move is a win for creators, influencers and brands, encouraging users to create partnerships and collaborate on the platform. The feature will also improve the feed for users as it reduces the frequency of followers seeing duplicate pieces of content from two separate accounts. When posts are created in ‘Collab’ mode, both accounts are able to see a shared like count, view count and comment section.
This new feature is exciting for marketers as it provides brands the ability to streamline social campaigns that are based on partnership. This year Australia has seen a number of high profile collaborations such as the recent Dominos x Vegemite and Bundaberg Rum x Bundaberg Ginger Beer product innovations.
A big win for smaller accounts, Instagram is beginning to roll out ‘link stickers’ for all users, a function that allows users to include hyperlinks in Stories. The feature was previously offered only to verified accounts and high-profile creators. The barrier set a perceived benchmark that often drove users to break the hallowed 10,000 follower count.
The wide deployment of the ‘link stickers’ feature is seen as a valuable win for small businesses, who now have the ability to include links to their products and services on their Stories. The move sees Instagram improve its ability to act as an ecommerce portal for brands of all sizes. The democratization sees a leveling of the digital playing field. For example a small local clothing boutique will now have access to the same app features as a global brand. The update compliments existing features such as Instagram Shops.
Instagram is also rolling out desktop functionality, allowing users to upload photos to the platform directly from their web browser. The new updates allows users to edit, filter and post from the comfort of laptops and desktop computers, however the feature is yet to be added to iPad and tablet devices. The update essentially gives all users the same experience of industry social media managers, who have long used 3rd party apps to bypass the previous restrictions. The emergence of desktop posting will likely push users towards uploading curated content of a higher quality, as creators look to leverage desktop software such as Canva to create image and video assets.
The rising influence of digital activism has also been boosted, as Instagram announces the rollout of a new ‘fundraiser’ feature. The function allows users to create a fundraising initiative for not-for-profits, with subsequent posts appearing in the feed. Instagram trialled a similar fundraising feature during the global pandemic by allowing users to include fundraising links during live streams for charity. It’s important to note the feature appears to suit time-sensitive initiatives, as fundraisers can be set up for up to 30 days. No doubt major charity platforms such as GoFundMe and Donorbox will be keeping close watch as Instagram moves into the humanitarian space.