Keeping Up with Instagram Updates in 2021

Instagram never stops to surprise us. While the world is trying to stay positive through these challenging times, it is exciting to see how Instagram rapidly develops new features and functionalities to tackle main business issues and help users support their favourite brands.

And now, more than ever, keeping up with what’s new on Instagram can be quite a challenge. There are new Instagram features almost every week. We know it is essential to stay up to date with the latest changes on Instagram, so we put together a list of important updates announced by Instagram in 2021 so far.

More Security for Users Under 18

The world of the internet can sometimes be overwhelming for young users. Providing them with protection online is the real need of the hour. 

Here are some latest safety features for young users by Instagram:

  • Private account by default for everyone under 16

Instagram’s main priority is to stop strangers from making unwanted contact with young users. Private accounts for users under 16 is the best way to deal with it. It lets you control who can see and comment on their content, and it won’t be possible for unwanted users to see their content on Explore or Hashtags.

  • No unwanted contact

Having a private account is the first step to avoid unwanted contact. But that’s not all! Instagram goes above and beyond to ensure young users aren’t exposed to unwanted contact from adults they don’t want to hear from. 

Instagram has developed a new technology to keep “potentially suspicious behaviour” away from users under 16. Accounts belonging to adults that may have recently been blocked or reported by a young user is defined as potentially suspicious behaviour. 

With this technology, these accounts won’t be able to see any young users’ accounts or content in Explore, Reels or ‘Accounts Suggested for You’. They won’t be able to follow them even if they find these accounts by searching their usernames. So much so that they won’t be able to see comments from young users and won’t be able to leave comments on their posts. 

We think this is one of the best features Instagram has introduced so far!

  • Advertising limitations for targeting young people

Another game-changing feature that Instagram introduced is how advertisers can target young users with ads. The platform now allows targeting ads based only on their age, gender and location, which means that advertisers no longer have the options to target based on their interests or activities. 

When these users turn 18, Instagram will inform them about the advertising policy change and the tools to control their ad experience. 

No Place for Hate Speech

Protecting its users from abusive comments and DMs has been of the biggest concerns for Instagram for a long time. It seems like Instagram is working hard to deal with the situation, and the company rolled out an excellent feature called Limits

With this feature, you can now limit or hide comments and messages from users that are not on your followers’ list or have recently started following you. The purpose of Limits is to help protect public figures from offensive comments and DMs. 

It is no ‘Breaking News’ that Instagram creators and influencers often receive hateful comments from random profiles. Since the pandemic, it only seems to have gotten worse. A step in the right direction, we say!

A New Tab - Audio

Instagram is looking to lean into video-form after seeing the success of competitors like TikTok and YouTube. The company announced that it is no longer a photo-sharing app and promotes users to use reels and short-video form posts. 

 

Recently, a new audio tab has appeared in the app. This tool gives users the ability to search for reels by song. Like any other music app, Instagram will provide a list of songs when users swipe and search. 

Users will then be able to see 30-second reels with the song. Users can save any music they like for later, or there is also an option “use audio” to create a reel if they wish.

Translation Features

The company announced that a new accessibility feature would be added on Instagram – Translation. This feature supports 90 languages right now, and however, it is only possible to translate written text. 

This new update will translate the text in Instagram Stories. Instagram will give you a “See Translation” option to translate the overlayed text in Stories. When the users click on it, they will be presented with a translation panel. 

Brands in global markets will love this new update as users globally don’t have to miss stories from their favourite international brands. A similar option is also available for feed, comments and profiles.

Exciting News for Businesses

Data Tracking is made easy with the latest update. Instagram expanded the data tracking period for insights from 30 days to 90 days. Companies can quickly analyse their quarterly insights on the platform to create a better strategy. Something to look forward to for small businesses!

Additionally, the company announced testing a new feature that provides businesses options to display ads in the shopping tab. The ads can vary from a single image to a carousel. 

Marketers can even use Reels as ads that look no different than any usual Reel, with a difference of ‘sponsored’ tab on it. 

Research shows that users on Instagram are looking for more video, messaging and shopping content rather than images. There is no doubt that the platform will be making many changes to entertain its users more. 


As the world of digital marketing continues to change and evolve rapidly, make sure to stay current with the latest trends and keep your marketing strategy fresh. Sign up for our newsletter below to stay in-the-know.


How to Grow Your Brand’s Following on LinkedIn

Recently, LinkedIn decided that the Stories feature is not for their platform. The announcement to shut down the feature by the end of September was made on the company’s official blog on August 30th. 

Stories were first made famous by Snapchat, and soon Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn followed suit. Stories refer to short video content that automatically gets deleted after 24 hours. LinkedIn’s decision to remove Stories came after Twitter shut down its Fleets feature in July. 

In one year, LinkedIn tried different methods to boost promoting Stories feature to all users. They even published themed Stories curated by their own teams only to fill the Stories bar for the users. However, nothing helped push users to use the feature more often. The temporary nature of the feature was the reason users kept away from it. So they decided to ditch the feature. Instead, LinkedIn plans to pivot to short-form, rich interactive videos. They are also looking for ways to bring audio to their platforms with groups or events. This will give users more ways to connect with each other.

But, does all this mean that the Stories format, in general, is not popular anymore? The answer is NO! Video is taking over other social media platforms and should be an integral part of your social media strategy. Instagram recently announced that they are not a photo-sharing app anymore. Stories are getting hugely popular on Instagram while Tiktok is gaining traction for marketers. Seems like people want certain formats on certain platforms. All in all, it was a great experiment for LinkedIn. They know that Stories is not the way to go for them, but it also led them to re-focus their vision to find a tool that their users actually want to use to promote their services or products. 

But if Stories isn’t working on LinkedIn, then how to grow your brand’s following without it? While we wait for LinkedIn to launch their short-form video format, we bring you some tips that will help gain an edge and grow your business on the platform. 

Here are some expert tips on how to grow your brand following on LinkedIn:

Boost Credibility of Your LinkedIn Page

To stand out from the rest, your LinkedIn page needs to represent your brand in the best way possible. Professionals mostly rely on LinkedIn pages for acquiring brand information and having a weak LinkedIn page instantly makes the user lose interest in your company. Some of the best practices to drive growth to your page are:

  • Fill in all Company information

Did you know that a page with complete information gets 30% more weekly views? From logo, to key terms, and a call to action (CTA), don’t miss filling out any information.

  • Encourage people to follow

Push your first-degree connections to check out your page and follow it by sending out regular invites.

  • Engage in conversation

Join conversations on LinkedIn, invite others in, go on live chats, share @mentions of your company are a few ways that allows you to build a deeper connection with your audience. 

  • Leverage on your employees content

Take advantage of your employees’ content to drive traffic to your page by adding “My Company tab”. This not only gives your brand more credibility, but also lets your employees show their voice in their own way. 

Establish Thought Leadership

Want to know the quickest way to elevate your brand image? Posting thought leadership articles! Thought leadership has evolved from being a fluff piece that fills in your social feed to an influential factor in brand reputation. Thought leadership is a powerful way to connect with your audience through a consistent voice and vision. 

You can set goals and expectations for thought leadership and through views, you can witness an instant rise in your reputation, demand generation, market consideration and engagement. Make sure to check out Edelman’s Flywheel of Thought Leadership. It will help you create a thought leadership vision that catches the eye of executives and top decision makers. 

Increase Customer Engagement

Gone are the days of your generic sales pitch! B2B customers today want the brands to connect with them on a personal level. It is vital that you understand your buyer personas, and how your product/services are going to bring their problems to an end. 

If you are still unsure about your customers’ needs, you can consider hosting a LinkedIn event or a discussion which focuses on them, instead of your product/services. Straight from the horse’s mouth!

Show your creativity to stand out

Taking a page from the B2C playbook, B2B marketing is upping the game lately.  They are leaving no stone unturned to connect with the users on an emotional level to influence their decisions. 

To make people stop scrolling, you need to be creative, interactive and eye-catching. Carousel ads and Conversion ads give you the opportunity to create engaging content while showcasing your visual storytelling skills. Recycle your content to get the most out of it. Turning articles into videos or infographics is another fool-proof way to stick out.

Make most of LinkedIn Insights

If you are a marketer, you should make LinkedIn Reporting and Analytics your new best friend! Data is the best tool that tells how to harness the power of analytics and work around your marketing strategy. It helps you understand the effectiveness of your campaigns. It leads you in the right direction for achieving the best results in the future and how to stay ahead of the pack. 

Maximise Objectives with Ads

No social media strategy is complete without ads. To reap the most benefit out of content on LinkedIn, marketers are boosting it through paid promotion. In fact, 80% of B2B marketers invest in their content marketing strategy on LinkedIn.

Adding ads to your regular marketing strategy not only brings more traffic to your page but also drives the three components of inbound marketing: attract, engage and delight. Reports suggest that ads make brands look more professional and respectable.

Marketers need to be on their toes and keep themselves updated with the latest updates on different platforms. Your social media strategy should be aligned with these changes and keep evolving. This gives us more opportunities to grow and achieve more success than ever.


As the world of digital marketing continues to change and evolve to be more video-focused, make sure to stay current with the latest trends and keep your marketing strategy fresh. Sign up for our newsletter below to stay in-the-know.


The Importance of Video in Your Social Media Strategy

The world of social media is quickly moving to video. As if it weren’t obvious from channels like YouTube and the more recent TikTok taking over the internet, social video is here to stay.

What started as just another social app popular among Gen-Z now has influence over many aspects of pop culture, from what songs are charting to how other social media platforms operate. The COVID-19 pandemic sent the infamous TikTok app plunging into the mainstream, and Instagram and Facebook have already begun following their lead. 

 

Facebook began putting a greater emphasis on videos quite a while ago, from Video ads, Facebook stories, prioritising videos in the algorithm, incorporating more features for Live Video, and more. And now Instagram is racing to catch up.

Instagram v. TikTok

Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, recently announced on his Instagram and Twitter accounts that the app will no longer be considered a photo-sharing app. The company is looking to lean into entertainment and video after seeing the success of competitors like TikTok and YouTube. 

Some upcoming changes and experiments that Instagram will be doing include showing users recommendations for topics they’re not following, making video more immersive by offering a full-screen experience and continuing to prioritise reels.

Best Practices for Instagram Reels

According to Instagram, brands and creators should post Reels that:

  • Are entertaining and fun (i.e. delights people, grabs their attention, makes them laugh, or has a fun surprise or twist)
  • Are inspiring (i.e. starts a trend that others can easily participate in)
  • Use creative tools like text, filter, or camera effects
  • Use vertical video
  • Use music from the Instagram music library and/or original audio you create or find on Reels
  • Are experimental! Try something new, be yourself, and see what works for you

Worst Practices for Instagram Reels

On the flipside, Instagram advises that brands and creators should NOT post Reels that:

  • Are blurry due to low-resolution
  • Are visibly recycled from other apps (i.e, contains logos or watermarks)
  • Are uploaded with a border around them
  • Have the majority of the image covered by text

Do not meet Instagram’s Community Guidelines

Following these tips directly from Instagram will help you have a better chance at beating the algorithm, expanding your reach, and increasing your follower count!

Leverage Social Video for Your Business

Social video comes in many different forms nowadays. Here are five different ways that you should be using social video in your marketing strategy.

1. Reels

In case this isn’t obvious at this point, reels are essential in your Instagram strategy in 2021. Beyond the tips listed above, we recommend using any trending sounds, viral challenges, and effects in your reels to follow the curve. 

Pro Tip: Follow Creator on Instagram for weekly updates on all the latest Reel trends and other Insta-hacks.

2. Dynamic Stories

Okay at this point, we know this might seem obvious, but we still see brands neglecting stories all the time. 

Some ideas you can use on your Facebook and Instagram stories include:

  • Question box/Ask Me Anything (AMA)
  • Story takeovers
  • Quizzes and polls
  • Get creative with the look and feel of your stories

Now there’s a story option on almost any app, even Twitter and LinkedIn. Note that just as your regular strategy for Linkedin will differ from how you post on Instagram, the same goes for stories. Here are some fresh ideas for using LinkedIn stories for your business.

3. Live Videos

According to Livestream, 82% of consumers prefer live video from a brand rather than a regular social media post, and even tend to watch live video 10 to 20 times longer than on-demand content. Why? Going live is a great way to connect and engage with your audience and humanize your brand. 

 

Facebook and Instagram have features that favor live videos with features including prioritising live videos in the algorithm, notifying your followers when you begin a live video  and shortly after you end it, and now even allowing a donation option for fundraising.

4. User-Generated Content

In case you haven’t noticed, consumers are sick of being sold to. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to reach people on social media purely through sales ads, but what consumers are responding to is user-generated content. Ahh, yes. The age of the influencer. 

Some examples of video formatted user-generated content include unboxings, story takeovers from brand ambassadors, reviews and testimonials on stories, and product tutorials. The trend here is human content that people feel like they can relate to.

5. Video Ads

Just as we mentioned above, video marketing is an effective way to break through the noise of social media and catch your audience’s attention. Some best practices for video advertising as suggested by Facebook include:

  • Keeping your videos around 15 seconds so people watch until the end
  • Capture attention quickly by putting the most important part of the video first
  • Use vertical or square video
  • Feature your product or brand message early
  • Design for sound off

If you’re new to Facebook Advertising, here are 5 things you should know.

At the end of the day, it looks like video is here to stay.


As the world of digital marketing continues to change and evolve to be more video-focused, make sure to stay current with the latest trends and keep your marketing strategy fresh. Sign up for our newsletter below to stay in-the-know.