As every marketer knows, Instagram isn't just a place to share your latest holiday snaps or yesterday's lunch. For apparel brands in particular, it is an ideal place to build, maintain and engage with an audience who connect with what you have for sale.
Luckily for us, it seems someone at the Menlo Park (California) HQ has kept one of Instagram's most powerful aspects at heart when conjuring up new features: the platform's ability to drive conversions.
If you are involved with e-commerce based digital marketing in any form, make sure you are aware of the following updates and how to implement them, in order to keep up with the competition.
Just in the same way that we have been able to tag users in pictures by the account name, brands can now also tag products. As long as your Instagram account is set as a business account, and you are in one of the covered geographic regions, you can now implement this feature.
Why do this? Especially if you are using creatives with multiple articles from your catalog, you can help guide your customers to a product page of an item which has caught their eye.
After tapping once on an image, the viewer will see a small in-image popup pointing at the products shown, displaying the product name and price natively within the same screen. They can then select the product which interests them most, tap it and be taken to a small page with a product image, description, price and link to the correct page on your site.
Functioning, clickable hashtags can now be added to the bio section at the top of your profile page. Why is this important? Use it to encourage people to view organic content which has grown around your brand, in addition to the carefully selected creatives that you place on your main feed.
Any hashtags that you have encouraged customers to use, or which have naturally been adopted by your user-base, can be highlighted. In essence, you can now harness the power of user created content to add life and variety to you Instagram feed, and ultimately help sway purchasing decisions of prospective buyers.
On this note, it is also now possible for users to follow specific hashtags. Encouraging users to follow your brand related hashtags can really help to grow an organic community, such as how MAC's #MACmixmash hashtag has taken on a life of its own after being originally being started as a campaign hashtag. The hashtag now has more than 40,000 posts (and is still growing!) on Instagram. Having an active community based around your brand can help replicate the results that the major players are achieving.
Stories, Instagram's answer to Snapchat's runaway success, have been a feature for a while now. However, they are no longer a '24 hour only' piece of content. Well crafted stories, which have seen significant engagement, can now be featured at the top of your brand's page for as long as you choose.
Implementation is effortless. Simply tap the white circle with a '+' sign marked new underneath your brand's bio, and select one or multiple stories which you have already posted.
Instagram now features a tool for filtering out harmful content posted in the comments of your posts. Using a simple list of keywords, Instagram will filter out a selection of harmful comments. You can also add custom keywords to filter additional profanity.
This feature is unfortunately somewhat limited. Due to its basic keyword-based functionality, it is unable to successfully moderate a large portion of harmful comments. Hate speech, scams, spam and counterfeit seller attempts to comment on your creatives are often too linguistically nuanced to be caught by a keyword filter alone. Multilingual support is also significantly lacking.
It is also only available on organic posts. Paid content can be notoriously difficult to access once posted, and if you are running large campaigns at scale, keeping on top of moderating harmful comments across each creative is an extremely daunting task.
This is where solutions such as BrandBastion's come into play (recognized by Instagram as an official partner). Our artificial intelligence based system and team of human analysts can be utilized to ensure that all comments are inline with the value of your brand, in 43 different languages, on both organic and paid content simultaneously.
Responding to queries and engaging with both angry and content commenters is not a new feature. However, brands are investing more time and resources into completing these actions as they have a fairly self-explanatory chance of influencing conversions.
What is new are the options which can be used to perform this kind of engagement response at scale, across paid and organic content. Services such as BrandBastion's can be used to deal with these comments without using up time and human resources. In doing so, 100% response rates are easily achievable and from our experience with clients, sentiment rates and conversions can be raised significantly.