Instagram unveils new set of business tools, AU and NZ among the first to get them
Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app for smartphones, has announced a new set of business tools.
One of the world’s fastest-growing social media brands, Instagram now has over 400 million monthly active users, just six years after its inception.
Brands have been long been utilising Instagram to establish a social media presence and distribute their most visually-engaging content to their followers, whether it be through organic reach or by sponsored ad campaigns.
As well as sponsored video and image ads, brands now have other options for communicating with their audience and extending their reach – and they can do it all on their mobile.
This morning Instagram announced via its company blog three new business tools that will soon be rolled out: business profiles, insights, and promotion. All tools can be accessed via mobile devices, in a bid to increase efficiency and simplicity of use. The company said it consulted with hundreds of businesses using Instagram before deciding on which tools to develop.
“With so many companies using Instagram, and many people on the platform interacting with them, there was a desire from our business community to do more,” Instagram said. “So we listened. And, after hundreds of interviews with businesses, three key needs became clear—stand out, get insights and find new customers.”
These changes have the potential to transform Instagram into something resembling a marketplace for brands, with new opportunities for engaging with customers, creating brand awareness and tracking progress.
What the business tools offer for brands
Until now, Instagram has only offered one type of profile for all users, unlike parent company Facebook, which has personal profiles for individuals, and pages for brands, organisations and businesses. Now Instagram is following suit and offering brands the option of a “business” profile, which has a few key differences to that of a normal user.
Business profiles will have a ‘contact’ option that allows followers to get in direct contact with the brand through calls, text or email. This point of difference will allow brands to have a more official presence on Instagram, and will also encourage more consumer interaction for any queries they may have.
Insights will be introduced to give businesses a much better understanding of their audience. Post performance can be tracked to determine what types of content were best-received, as well as more detailed information about the demographics of users.
As previously mentioned, this feature (as well as the other updates) is mobile-friendly, meaning businesses can track and update on the go with timely and relevant content.
In addition to offering sponsored content on the desktop version of the site, Instagram is now offering the ability to promote content from mobile devices, streamlining the process. It’s as simple as selecting the post to promote, picking an audience and choosing the call to action to implement, such as visiting the website or contacting the business.
Who will be able to upgrade their Instagram account?
Unlike some other social media sites, Instagram is only offering the aforementioned business tools to accounts that also have established Facebook pages for their business. These users can upgrade their account once the updates have been rolled out to enjoy the new features.
Other Instagram users that have Facebook pages but do not use them for business purposes, such as celebrities or ‘persons of interest’, will not be able to access the business tools.
This means that until further updates from Instagram, users with a massive following but no commercial interest will not be able to access the business features.
The business tools are set to become available for users in the US, Australia and New Zealand over the coming months, and should be available globally by the end of 2016.