I don’t know about you guys, but we’re barely into February and I feel like my head is spinning. Facebook has already had three algorithm changes so far this year, and there have been a buttload (yes, that’s a technical term) of Instagram updates as well.
When Facebook purchased Instagram waaaay back in 2012, I was apprehensive. I thought they would start to apply some of the things they were applying to Facebook to Insta; an algorithm, forcing most of us into a pay-to-play situation. For some reason, they didn’t. They waited until the platform really took off, and have only really instituted an algorithm in the last few years. But as they have done that, they’ve also been updating the app, and adding features that make it better. I was so excited, for example, when we got the ability to edit our posts (*ahem* Twitter? You listening?). Making Instagram profiles public on the web was another great move.
There have been many good updates to Instagram over the last few months, I’m going to run down some of my favorite ones.
Hootsuite Integration: by far and away, my favorite update is not an actual update. I’ve been using Hootsuite for years to schedule my posts. But it’s not really the same. I create the post, schedule it, and then when it’s time to post, I get a notification on my phone. I have to login to Instagram and publish the post. Just recently, Hootsuite announced that it has now partnered with Instagram, and you can now schedule and post to the platform via Hootsuite. You have to have a business account to make this work, but I’ve been using it for the last week, and it’s seamless. The only thing you don’t get with this feature is you don’t get to choose filters.
Type: I’ve been posting text-only Instagram stories for quite a while, but in order to do them, I’ll put my phone on a table and take a photo of blackness, and then write on it. Well! No more! Now you can use different backgrounds and write on them with different fonts.
Animated GIFs: Animated GIFs are popular for a reason; they grab attention. It’s why you see so many blogs using them. Instagram is now giving us the opportunity to use them in our Instastories. I like this new feature a lot–the gifs are very old-school, circa the late ’90’s, so there’s a nostalgia factor going on for sure. But they are also very eye-catching, and I think help to keep people’s attention when they are watching our stories.
Instagram Stories are stronger than ever: I’m now at a place where my Instagram stories are getting, on average, more views than my actual posts. This makes me sad, to be honest, but it’s the reality of the algorithm right now. I still really love Instagram Stories. It’s my opportunity to be “real” with my followers, without the pressure of putting up the “perfect Instagram post.” I recently did a bit of a rant on this on my Instastories. Because of the lack of reach on regular Instagram stories these days, I’m seeing a lot of big bloggers flogging their most recent blog posts on Instastories. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I get it, they are just getting the word out the best way they can. But I disagree with Instastories that do nothing but that. The whole point of them is to offer people a behind-the-scenes look at your life. A recent poll I ran on my Instagram stories indicates that you guys feel the same way. So keep it real, folks!
So there you go! My favorite new Instagram updates. Stay tuned, it will no doubt be changing again… like tomorrow, most likely.
What are your favorite new updates to Instagram?