Out of all the available social media applications, users aged 16-34 prefer Instagram.
And to keep the young generation more engaged, Instagram often comes up with new exciting features.
At one point in time, Instagram was nothing more than a simple photo app. But with increasing user preferences and technological advancements, we’re actively witnessing its transformation into a video platform.
However, any recent Instagram update isn’t just helpful for the audience, but also a goldmine of potential for creators. It is easier for them to keep up with trending topics, get more engagement, and present ideas in a more visually appealing way.
In this article, you will read about new Instagram features and ways to use them!
Table of Contents:
- Meta Verified
- Broadcast Channels
- Music on Carousels
- Instagram Notes
- Reels Templates
- Collab Posts
- GIFs in Comments
- AI Stickers
- Professional Dashboard
Some New Features of Instagram and How to use them
1. Meta Verified
Blue ticks have existed for quite some time but were only exclusive to popular brands or celebrities. Not anymore!
Following 𝕏’s lead of opening up a verification program for everyone, Meta also launched a way for its users to get verified. Even though this feature isn’t solely limited to Instagram, it is still a useful way for Digital Marketers to mark their presence on the app.
It is a form of subscription service where the user can see a blue check badge on their Facebook and IG profiles. However, its benefits aren’t just limited to unique identification.
Here are some of the features, as reported by Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram.
- More protection with impersonation monitoring.
- A pack of exclusive stickers for stories or reels.
- Live chat support for reporting any technical issues.
- More exposure in the search feed.
How to get Verified on Meta?
To make the best use of this Instagram update, you will have to:
- Go to your profile and tap on three horizontal lines in the top-right corner.
- Head to Settings and Privacy, followed by the Accounts Centre.
- Click on Meta Verified from the Account Settings option.
Now, you can sign up for your profile, click on Continue, and make the payment.
2. Broadcast Channels
Out of all the new Instagram features in 2023, Broadcast Channel is definitely at the top of the ladder!
Much like WhatsApp, an IG broadcast channel also allows users to send direct messages to group text which receivers can’t reply to. Currently, only creators can leverage the benefits of this one-to-many messaging feature.
In broadcast channels, one can easily share a piece of text, voice notes, photos, videos, and polls with their followers. In a way, it is an easy way for creators to build a strong community, make announcements, or share snippets of Behind-the-Scenes content.
How to Open a Broadcast Channel?
Here’s a simple overview of the broadcast channel creation process.
Step 1: Go to your inbox.
Step 2: Select the New Message icon from the top-right of the screen.
Step 3: Now, you will see a ‘Create a broadcast channel’ option.
Instagram also lets creators:
- Pick collaborators or moderators for the channel.
- Use question prompts for better engagement.
- Set an expiration date or time.
How to Find a Broadcast Channel?
If you’re not a creator and willing to join a specific channel, follow these steps:
- Go to your IG inbox.
- Click on the search bar.
- Tap ‘See all’ from the channels list.
3. Music on Carousels
If we’re talking about new Instagram features, it is mandatory to note that music is no longer limited to reels or single-image posts.
Instagram now lets you add music to carousel posts to make them seem more interesting and personal. After all, we’ve heard, “Where words fail, music works.”
Carousels have been a great tool for digital marketing for a while now. Brands can easily showcase multiple products at once or list down their USPs. With this new Instagram update, it is easy to convey the vibe of the post and get more engagement.
Also, the audience is more likely to stay on the post rather than scroll down because of the sound bite.
Steps to Add Music to Carousel Posts?
To add music to carousels, simply create a new post first of all. Now:
- Click on the carousel icon and select up to 10 media pieces from your gallery.
- Tap on Next from the top-right corner of the screen and select filters if required.
- Once you’re able to write a caption, select the Add Music option from the features listed below.
- Pick a relevant song from the Instagram music library.
- Tap the 30-second option and choose the required clip duration between 5 to 90 seconds.
- Select the segment of the song required.
4. Instagram Notes
Remember the good old MSN Messenger status? Well, notes are something like that, but not invasive.
Instagram Notes are quick updates that are visible to followers who follow you back. What’s great is that it doesn’t send any push notifications and can only be viewed in the Instagram DMs section.
Marketers might not find this update helpful in strategic planning for ad campaigns, but it can be a great way to connect with young users. If we’re to believe Meta, teens are quite fond of this status feature and create 10x more notes than non-teens.
In short, you can consider the feature to be a lighthearted and casual way of sparking a new conversation.
What Can You Add in Notes?
Initially, Notes were only limited to 60-character text updates. However, now you can also add:
- A song from the IG music library.
- A 2-second short loop video that replaces your profile picture in the inbox section.
Don’t be alarmed if you can’t add the selfie video yet. The feature only launched in October 2023 and is still not available for all users!
How to Post Notes?
Posting Instagram Notes is quite simple and takes only a few seconds.
Step 1: Go to the IG inbox and tap on your display picture in the left corner.
Step 2: Enter the note.
Step 3: Select the audience. Tap on the share button at the bottom of the screen. You can either share the note with followers you follow back or your close friends.
Voila! You’re all set. Remember, you can only post one note at a time. Adding a second one will automatically delete the first note.
5. Reels Templates
Video editing is pretty hectic if you’re not tech-savvy. Even with multiple software and features, editing a reel and syncing it with the audio is complicated.
To make this process simpler and smarter, Instagram’s new update now allows you to work with reel templates.
These templates are premade layouts where the user only needs to add video clips and edit captions accordingly. With fixed time stamps and transitions, the editing process basically boils down to the addition of media and text.
How to Find and Use Templates?
Instagram organically suggests templates every once in a while when the user is scrolling through reels. To find them, you can:
- Go to the reels tab.
- Click on the camera button in the top-right corner.
- From the bottom features, select Templates.
You can now browse through the templates to find trending and recommended options. You can also pick a certain template for future use and find it in the saved section.
6. Collab Posts
At its core, social media is all about networking and Instagram’s new update makes it much more simple.
An Instagram collab post allows you to team up with a maximum of two creators and co-author content. The specific post goes live on all the profiles and is visible to all the followers combined.
With this feature, small businesses can partner with creators or other similar brands to promote their products or services to the target audience.
To read in detail about benefits, step-by-step guide, and real-life examples of collaboration, head to How To Use Instagram Collab Post in Social Media Strategy.
7. GIFs in Comments
Instagram comments are a testament to the fact that everyone appreciates a hearty dose of wittiness and humor! On checking any viral reel, you will find hordes of comments with an enormous number of likes.
Simultaneously, comments are a great way for brands to address any customer inquiry and maintain a social relationship with their target audience.
While comments could only include text at one point in time, you can now also add looping animations or GIFs. Instagram sources all the GIFs from the free library of Giphy.
Even though this new Instagram update doesn’t bring forward a need for a major change in content strategy plans, it is still quite notable.
How to add GIFs in Instagram Comments?
The process of posting GIFs to comments is similar to that of adding text. All you need to do is find an interesting post, click on the comment icon, and look for the GIF button in the right corner of the comment box.
8. AI Stickers
Artificial Intelligence is impacting social media platforms, one feature at a time. Instagram’s new update regarding AI stickers makes it quite evident.
While we’ve enjoyed conventional stickers and avatars in DMs and stories for a while now, it is now simpler to create a specific visual from your mind.
Simply add the prompt and the algorithm will show you multiple results to select from.
How to Use AI Stickers on Instagram DMs?
- Go to your inbox and select a conversation.
- Click on the plus corner and select Stickers.
- Enter an interesting text prompt in the search bar.
- Now, you can see customized stickers based on your request.
How to Use AI Stickers on Instagram Stories?
- Swipe right on your home page and go to the stories tab.
- Select or record the media you want to add.
- Click on the Smiley icon from the top options.
- Enter the prompt in the search bar.
In other news, Meta has also recently launched an AI-powered Segment Anything Model (SAM). Here, you can take any picture from your device, cut out the required object, and use it as a sticker.
9. Professional Dashboard
Nearly 15% of the total IG population is built up of business accounts. Needless to say, a professional dashboard is essential for digital marketers to keep track of content performance.
Instagram’s dashboard allows creators and businesses to have easy access to the latest insights, learning resources, essential metrics, and ways to build an effective content strategy. Profiles from the USA can also monitor their monetization status.
But if you’re not yet eligible for an official tie-up with Meta, check out: Instagram Monetization: How to Earn Money from Instagram
How to Set up a Professional Account?
If you want to switch your regular IG account to a professional one, follow these steps:
- Go to your Instagram profile and click on three horizontal lines from the top-right corner.
- Go to Settings and Privacy.
- Scroll down to look for Account type and tools.
- Click on ‘Switch to Professional Account.’
- You will now be required to select what best describes you and whether you want to display it on the profile or not.
- Finally, click on the Done button.
Here, you can also add a new professional account if you want to keep both profiles separate.
2023 has been a year of new Instagram features. From Meta Verification to Reel Templates, there have been multiple updates to make the application more engaging and creator-friendly.
As a digital marketer, it is paramount to make the best use of all the available features and stay a step ahead of your competitors at all times.