Instagram has come a long way since the age of exclusively square photos, filtered and light-leaked galore. Despite being 12 years old (Yep, Instagram launched in October 2010. Feeling old yet?), Instagram continues to prove itself as one of the most used and most beneficial social platforms in the game for businesses. In 2022, it's the second most downloaded app in the world, and the seventh most visited website in the world, so clearly it's still going strong. If you run your organization's social media marketing, it's vital that you have a strong grasp of best practices for the app. But with social media platforms constantly updating and changing, adding and doing away with features on what feels like a near-daily basis, this is definitely easier said than done.
The good news for you though, is that the content creators and marketers here at Speak keep up with all the ins and outs of Instagram, including its constant changes and new features, so we can be sure our clients' accounts are set for success. If you're struggling to keep up with the constantly changing landscape of Instagram, have no fear. We're here to walk you through all the latest updates and how to use them to grow your organization's marketing efforts and meet your goals.
Let’s take a look at 2022 trends in this marketer’s guide to Instagram.
1. Instagram's Shopping Feature
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it's proving to be true that a picture sells like a thousand words too. If you have products and services to sell, the shopping feature on Instagram is a fantastic tool to add to your social media marketing toolkit if you haven't done so already. Not only does each tap on a shoppable post increase engagement on that post, but it provides current and potential customers the easy access and instant gratification of not just viewing your product but the option to buy right then. When consumers see a product they're interested in, they no longer have to go searching through your website to find it, adding extra time and effort to their user journey (time that opens up greater risk for clicking off before being converted to a purchaser).
Instagram's shopping feature was only introduced a couple of years ago, but it has already seen great success. According to an Instagram for Business survey, 44% of people use Instagram weekly to shop using features like shopping tags and the Shop page. Shopping on Instagram doesn't look like it's going away any time soon, so if your organization hasn't jumped on using it when you feature products and services, this is a feature of Instagram we highly recommend trying for yourself.
2. Influencer Marketing on Instagram
One of the best ways to reach a target audience is to have someone else do it for you, and that’s exactly what influencer marketing is. As influencers become more popular and more and more people find success as influencers within small communities of specific interests, it has become significantly easier for businesses to find someone who fits both thei industry niche and their budget. Utilizing influencer marketing can help you build trust and authority in the communities that reach your target audience(s), because a celebrity or industry expert recommending a product or service makes it feel instantly more credible. While influencer marketing may not give immediate ROI, being willing to play the long game by investing in the right influencer or handful of influencers to market your brand has the potential to show great return. A few trends in influencer marketing to watch in 2022:
- A rise of nano and micro influencers with loyal (and trusting) followers: Nano influencers (0-10k followers on Instagram) have an engagement rate that is twice as high as any other influencer tier, making influecers of this size excellent candidates for niche paid social posts that perform well.
- Video content outperforming photo content for influencer partnerships
- Intentional diversity and inclusion: With the increase in social activism in the 2020s spotlighting a lack of diversity in influencer marketing, consumers are looking for diverse representation from brands.
3. Video Instagram Stories Aren’t Going Anywhere
Video-based Instagram stories are more successful at keeping an audience engaged, and in fact, video stories have a tap forward rate of .8% lower than stories with just images. With 500 million accounts using Instagram Stories daily and Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm for who and what it pushes out on feeds, the only way to ensure your posts are being shown to followers regularly is by using Instagram stories. A consistent, but a carefully thought-out stream of stories is prime real estate for your content. As a marketer, your social media strategy for your organization should almost always include high-quality video content that can be repurposed multiple times.
Clearly story posts are a vital part of being active on Instagram, especially for businesses (58% of users say they're more interested in a brand after seeing it in a story, a higher percentage than for a regular grid post, and brand stories have an on-average 86% completion rate). If you're unsure how frequently to take advantage of Instagram story content, we reccomend aiming to post a story approximately every other day.
4. Reels Will Be More Popular
As a response to TikTok, Instagram created Reels in August 2020 and it’s a trend marketers should not forget about. Despite being initially criticized for copying TikTok, Reels allows brands and creators to cross-post on both platforms, and has increased the amount of time users spend on the app on average. Creating interesting and engaging Instagram Reels is a great way to ensure users will spend more time viewing your content.
Reels not only utilizes video, which we’ve already learned is more engaging for your audience than the photo posts Instagram was once known for, but they also reach a broader audience than simply account followers and those who find your posts through hashtags and location-tagging. Reels, as long as you keep them branded and true to your business identity, will show up on potential customers' Explore pages and offer a great opportunity to expose your brand to new potential followers and increase likelihood of reaching a greater target audience. Reels are also a great place to implement influencer marketing, as organic video content tends to read as more genuine than a staged photo on the feed.
While Reels will help you grow on Instagram, don’t expect your account to gain traction overnight. It takes 5-7 impressions for a customer to remember a brand, so the more reels you create, the more likely your brand's follower count will rise.
5. Carousels Are Here to Stay
While some marketers consider carousels to be relatively useless short-term when compared to how much more effort they take than a standard grid photo or story post, the long-term actually shows that carousels perform better than static posts. After all, more content to view within one post means longer time spent on a single post, which makes for better enggement overall. If your brand personality features thought leadership or information sharing, you can use carousels to feature step-by-step how to's, or if you offer a product or service, they can be a great way to show testimonials from real customers.
Many businesses are seeing the positive results of carousels, and in fact, businesses on Instagram use the carousel feature more frequently overall than regular accounts do. If you've been sticking to a grid-posts-and-stories-only game plan, now may be the time to start diversifying your content and seeing the ways that new features with new forms of media open up doors to create unique and memorable content that grows your engagement and following more than ever before.
We're Here to Help
In a perfect world, businesses would be able to deliver entertaining and effective content across all the different Instagram features... in addition to tackling all the other social platforms and marketing channels. If you're a business owner or employee thinking, “Man, this sounds like a lot of work," bringing in outside help from experts who deliver great social media marketing results for clients on the daily can help you maximize your digital marketing and reach your goals. Tell us about your brand’s needs and let’s see what we can build together!