How to Update Instagram for 2019 & What’s Changing This Year
#NewYearNewYou. It’s 2019, and you know what that means – now’s the perfect time to figure out how to update Instagram for the new year.
It’s safe to say that Instagram is kicking serious butt these days. More than 1 billion accounts are logging on each month, and around 13% of the planet uses the platform.
If sheer exposure isn’t enough to excite you, how about the fact that Instagram ads are expected to earn about $11 billion in revenue by the end of this year?
Of course, to take advantage of the excellent opportunities that Instagram has to offer, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you’re ahead of the curve. The Insta-experts over at HQ is continually rolling out new updates and features to delight their users. So, what exactly needs to be part of your strategy in 2019?
Step 1: Prepare for a More Polished Profile
If you want to get some severe results in 2019, then the first thing you need to do is make sure that your profile stands out. This year, everything from your highlight covers to your Insta grid needs to look perfect if you want to earn those all-important followers.
However, it’s worth noting that the appearance of your profile could be set to change in the months to come. Instagram has said that although the grid displaying your videos and images won’t change, the icons above the grid may be altered, and the position of your profile pic could be different too.
With so much up in the air right now, our advice is to focus on the grid. Stunning aesthetics have always been a #trending concept on Instagram, and a gorgeous grid is sure to make the right impression on any account. Just check out @Pantone if you need some inspiration.
Step 2: Engage all the Senses with Instagram Stories
Instagram has always been about the visual. Beautiful pictures, amazing profiles, jaw-dropping videos – you name it. However, if you’re wondering how to update Instagram in 2019, then you might need to go beyond what your content “looks” like.
For instance, Instagram Stories – a format with more than 400 million users a day, is popular because it’s engaging! It gives people something to tap on and interact with their smartphones. Now, aside from just touch and sight, you can also have an impact on what your followers hear too, with Instagram Stories music stickers.
Music stickers add tunes to your Stories, and they’re also a fun way to connect with your followers by allowing them to add their own sounds to your content.
If you’re worried about how your tunes are going to sound, don’t worry, you can test them out before you post by hitting the little “play” button in the middle of the screen.
Step 3: Use Moment Countdowns to Build Suspense
Speaking of finding ways to keep your audience engaged this year, why not take advantage of your followers’ fear of missing out? Sometimes, the easiest way to convince someone to pay attention to what you’re posting is to tell people that they only have a limited time to view your posts before they disappear.
The new countdown sticker on Instagram gives you the option to add custom countdowns to your post which tick away the moments until something important. For instance, you might use your sticker to announce an upcoming sale, a new product, or a celebration. There’s a good chance that plenty of people were taking advantage of this feature on New Year’s Eve.
The great thing about the countdown sticker is that your followers can agree to “keep an eye” on your countdown by following it. That way, they’ll automatically receive an alert when your timer comes to an end. Just be careful not to overuse this feature.
Step 4: Find More Followers with Hashtags and Locations
With around 500 million Insta accounts active each day, Instagram needs a reliable way of making sure that their users can find exactly what they’re looking for. Fortunately, that’s what hashtags and location tags are for.
To get the most out of your hashtag strategy, don’t just tag your regular content, make sure that you’re building up your Stories content too. Remember, Stories automatically appear on the Explore page, which makes them a great way to reach new potential followers.
By adding relevant hashtags and location tags to your content, you can also make sure that your Stories appear in additional news feeds for people conducting specific searches. For instance, this video from Lululemon will appear for the #4080Challenge tag:
Locations and geotags often have their page results on the Explore page that help people to find content that’s close to them. If you haven’t started using locations in your content yet, 2019 could be a great time to start.
Step 5: Make More Money with Shoppable Tags
If you’ve been wondering how to update Instagram and you run an eCommerce store, shoppable tags are easily the best way forward for 2019.
When shoppable tags first appeared in 2018, they were massive news for anyone hoping to improve their market reach on Instagram. Essentially, these tags work like stickers that appear on an Instagram image, letting people know that they can click to buy the item in a picture or video. If one of your followers taps the sticker, they’ll be taken to your product catalog to but whatever it is they want.
Shoppable posts are so useful at streamlining the customer journey for some brands that many are beginning to build their own product catalogs through their Instagram business account. For a few select partners, Instagram has already announced that it’s starting to test a feature that will allow companies to create a miniature app within Instagram itself.
Already for 2019, we’ve seen the arrival of a new “Save” product feature that gives shoppers the option to save content that they want to come back to later – just like you’d pin an item on Pinterest.
Step 6: Stop Trying to #Fake It
In 2019, your Instagram followers don’t have time for #Fakers.
Both the Instagram algorithm and the users on the application are sick and tired of companies who try to cheat their way to the top of the follower-acquisition pile. That means that if you’re using any bots, automation strategies or bought likes to supplement your plan, it’s time to #Stop.
In a press release last year (November 19th), Instagram revealed that certain accounts had been using third-party software to grow their audience inauthentically. Unfortunately, since Instagram is all about making real, genuine connections, the last thing it wants is a bunch of scam artists on its app.
Currently, Instagram is in the process of shadow-banning any account that breaks the rules in an attempt to get extra followers. If you want to know how to update Instagram in 2019, start by making sure that your profile is as authentic as possible. If you’re struggling to earn followers, don’t just buy them, try collaborating with another business like Upleap, or finding someone to spread influence for your account.
For instance, Bando recently teamed up with Auntie Anne’s Pretzels to create some adorable content and improve brand reach for both companies.
Step 7: Speak to your Customers Through Instagram Live
Did you know that 82% of audiences say that they prefer “live video” from a brand compared to standard social posts?
A great way to start building better relationships with your users in 2019, is to take advantage of the various features available on Instagram Live – the real-time video sharing solution on Instagram. Live allows you to reach out to your fans in an engaging and intimate way. What’s more, Instagram Live questions and polls mean that you can connect with your people and see their responses in real-time too.
Questions in Live aren’t brand-new for 2019, but they’re still quite a novel feature. We’d recommend trying them out for a live Q&A session or interview during the early months of the year. There’s a good chance you could end up with some dedicated followers as a result.
Step 8: Try New Instagram Ads
Instagram is a fantastic place for businesses to grow. That’s probably why there are more than 8 million companies active on the channel. However, the more people who join Instagram, the more competition there is for your brand to deal with. With that in mind, 2019 could be an excellent time to learn how to update Instagram with a few paid ad campaigns.
There’s a wide range of different ad formats to choose from today, including feed-style images, promoted Instagram Stories, and more. The good news is that your business account will let you automatically track the performance of your Instagram campaigns, so you can see what kind of ads are most effective for you.
Businesses can even conduct initial test runs with the Instagram “Similar Audience” feature, which will allow you to find the people most likely to respond to your campaigns.
Ready to Update for 2019?
There are plenty of great ways that companies can figure out how to update Instagram for 2019, from improving their Stories content to working on their profile.