Ever-Changing Instagram: GIFs, Mentions, Links, and Live Video! OH MY.

Instagram loves change.  Making it easily one of the most exciting platforms for small businesses to incorporate into their marketing strategy.

 

These are the new features you want to familiarize yourself with to stay on top of your social game.  Instagram Stories are upping the awesome by making it easy and fun to create GIFs with Boomerang, mention your friends directly in your story, add links and woaaaaah now there's live video and disappearing messages.

Boomerang Stories

To create a Boomerang, swipe right from your feed to open the stories camera. A new button under the record button lets you select “Boomerang” mode. Just tap Record and your camera will stitch together a burst of photos to create a short animation that plays forward and backward.

Right now this feature is only available in Instagram Stories and not with the regular camera app. This offers a lot of fun ways to show off your company's products or brand in unique ways to your follower base. Don't be scared. Give it a whirl. 

Story Friend Mentions

This is a cool new feature that could allow for some great business partner collaborations. You can now tag other users in a story. Perhaps you want to tag someone who just won a cool contest your business was running directly. The world is your oyster. You can also send a story directly to another user.

Be inventive and find cool ways to use this feature to excite your followers. Keep them smiling while they scroll through their friends stories and shares. 

Links are coming (brace yourselves)

This is pretty big news and I don't think we are very far away from this getting to be a major break for businesses on Instagram. Right now this feature is only available for verified accounts but I think we can all expect it to be available for everyone. So lets get ourselves ready for the future. 

No really this is mega news. This will be the first time they made a clickable link within the Instagram app that didn't need to appear in your bio. This feature is a big deal for brand loyalty and promotion. What does this mean for you? Well, it means it's time to get really comfortable with Instagram promotions and thinking on your feet.  

If you are a verified account already and want to add a link to your Instagram Story, all you have to do is tap the link icon at the top of your screen to open the "Add Link" page. Then just fill in the url and presto. You will have the option to preview the link before going live.  Then all you have to do is hit "done" and you're live. 

Live Video Stories

It's here. Most of us saw this coming down the pipeline but now it's time to find cool ways to use this feature for your business. This feature allows you to broadcast to your followers in real-time through the Stories feature. Your viewers can watch live broadcasts and check out new live stories feature on the Explore tab. Maybe you have a holiday product you want to launch. What better way to offer your subscribers a sneak peek LIVE from the studio. ;)

To go "LIVE", swipe right from your feed to open the camera and select the "Start Live Video". You can now share up to an hour of live content. Maybe have a big glass of water and a shot of espresso before you try to tackle a whole hour. Goodness.