Pictures & Sound

Apple iPhone X on office desk with icons of social media facebook, instagram, twitter, snapchat application on screen. Social network. Starting social media app.

Contributed by Ryan Nelson

Instagram has been adding a lot of interesting features over the last several weeks. These are all seemingly aimed at improving the overall user experience but also have some major impacts to how brands can utilize the platform for marketing. We will focus on two of those updates today.

The first major shift is the ability to add music to the Instagram Stories section. For those out of the loop, Stories is a feature that lets users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. If this sounds like Snapchat, it’s because it is very, very similar. The company describes the features as “highlight reel,” allowing users to “share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile.” See, just like Snapchat, except increasing in popularity and use every day while Snapchat seems to be on the decline.

The new feature will first be available in select markets with the intention of a global rollout at some point down the road. Users will be able to add a song to their story post in a similar way that they currently can add a stickers or text. By choosing from a library of songs provided by the app, users can refine their options by searching through categories like genre, mood, and popular releases.

At this point, the library of music options available are a direct result of Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, recent partnerships with several music companies over the last year. It is unclear how this library could grow and evolve in the future.

For brands, the ability to use licensed music over their Instagram Stories will no doubt have a major impact in their ability to tell a succinct story over social media, tying in both a visual and auditory element to their branding. Soon the catchy jingle or the pop song that you have been hearing across other media channels will likely find its way onto your Instagram feed.

Another change for Instagram Stories is an open-ended question or response feature that so far the company has kept a pretty tight lid on. While the company has made no official announcement regarding the update, there have been users reporting on the feature in markets like Italy and Indonesia. Users could already interact with an Instagram Story using either yes/no polls or emoji responses and this update seems to be an evolution of that.

This update could have far reaching impact for brands. The ability to gather real-time responses and questions from their audience as they interact with posts will provide some great analytics that companies can use to inform their social media strategies moving forward. Overall, this new feature will be another very useful way of telling who is paying attention to your marketing efforts.

If you manage your company’s marketing and either utilize Instagram or have been thinking about using Instagram, now is a good time to take some time to familiarize yourself with the platform and these new updates. Without the proper preparation these updates can have an impact on your marketing campaign success. If you take the time to learn how the updates work and where they may fit in your existing plans and campaigns, you can optimize them into your marketing efforts with little to no disruption.