Back to all insights
Content Marketing

How to make the most of Instagram's new features

John Entwistle
Feb, 2017
5 mins

When Instagram entered the world in 2010, it was an incredibly simple platform. A sequential feed of square images posted by those you followed. As it has progressed, we have seen several changes - both small and large. The largest of which was the implementation of a Facebook like algorithm which promised to serve users with content that would be most relevant to them.

2017 has seen the launch of two new features that have drastically changed the way users interact with the platform, and can have a huge impact for the brands using the platform. Here is an overview of these features, and several things to consider before incorporating them in your social strategy.

Live Video for Everyone

Instagram stories have been a powerful way for brands to tell stories in a different way from the standard instagram feed (as well as a very effective way of stealing market share from snapchat). In January of 2017, Instagram rolled out a massive update allowing all users to produce live stories in their instagram feed. Here are a few things to consider when planning out live video:

Why would anyone want to watch live?

It is important to consider when starting a live video what content you will show, and why people would want to tune in. A live video generally takes time to ramp up viewers, as well as continually engaging content to keep viewers attention. Because of this, it is important that your live video has an introduction period as to allow more and more users to join, followed by continued engaging content to keep users interested.

How can you leverage your events with live video?

One of the most successful applications of live video is to incorporate live video as part of an event strategy. Think: opening day, product launches, trade show interviews, competitions. Live video is a perfect opportunity to capitalize on the excitement that your users might have interest or hype around, but not be able to attend in person. 

What time are your followers online?

A live broadcast will be announced to your followers once you start sending. In order to gain maximum exposure for your live broadcast, it will be important to know what times your users are online. The instagram analytics feature for business accounts will show you exactly when your users are most likely to tune in.

Multiple Photo Layout

On Wednesday, February 22 Instagram announced that it would be moving away from the core stream of single images, and allow users to upload multiple images at once. The technology behind this feature is neither groundbreaking, nor new. In fact, we have seen this for a while now in facebook carousel posts and ads. The big difference here is that it is fundamentally changing how users will interact with their instagram feed. Allowing brands the ability to promote several images and videos in one post, telling a story without negatively impacting their algorithm effect. It is a well known fact that posting two pictures one after another has a negative effect on how your image is served up to followers, and will result in decreased reach of all of your posts. The other unspoken benefit of using a new technology on any social platform, is that you know that there will be preference given to new features when it comes to featuring posts. 

Key things to consider when posting “multiple media posts” on instagram:

Make sure your content is engaging

From a consumer standpoint, they will be scrolling through their instagram feed looking at post after post. Many of these posts will look exactly the same, and cause the user to continue scrolling down their feed. What will cause the user to stop at your post and scroll sideways through your content.


Make sure you have a strong call to action

One tactic to encourage scrolling through your multi-media post, is to include a strong call to action in either the caption or the media. Encouraging users to scroll through to see more might seem obvious, but could be detrimental if left out.

Have a mix of photos and videos

Although you are currently limited to square format in multi-media layout, you are allowed a mix of photos and videos. It is important to evaluate what videos and images will have the largest impact. Leading in with a video may be a great option to create a call to action to move through to a series of images. With the option of including up to 10 pieces of media, it is important to keep your audience engaged through to the end of your message.