2018 is rapidly ending, and it’s time to look forward. Staying ahead of the trends will keep your business competitive and encourage greater engagement from your intended audience.
Like any list of projected trends, this is just an estimation. No one can see into the future and discern what the most successful Instagram marketing campaign will be. However, based on the rapid growth rate of Instagram with more than a billion active users and trends that have worked in the past, experts have made a few likely predictions. Real Instagram followers are probably looking for the following trends as we roll into the new year.
1. Buying Direct on Instagram
“Got an e-commerce store? If so, you need to be using Instagram’s Shopping feature,” says expert marketer Neil Patel. “Like, right now. It improves product discovery on the app by condensing and making information available in one place.”
He explains that when customers see a product they want to purchase on Instagram, they’re more likely to finish the transaction rather than abandoning the cart. People are naturally impulsive when it comes to making purchases, and the more hoops they have to jump through, the more time they have to change their minds.
An online boutique called Lulus ran a test to see whether or not this feature made that much of a difference in their online shoppers. They discovered than nearly a third of those who tapped into an advertisement to learn more also clicked “Shop Now.” This shopping feature is worth considering for the near future.
2. Use Live Streaming to Organically Reach Users
Many marketers are nervous about going live because if you make a mistake, you can’t fix it. However, it’s an excellent way to connect with an audience and provide the customer service and valuable content they crave.
Play around a little with live video now. Pretty soon, most businesses will be using this feature, so take this time to practice until you feel confident in your productions.
3. Using AR Filters for Your Instagram Stories
At one point, you might have been told that using the silly augmented reality features on Facebook was a no-no in the business realm. It was considered too unprofessional. However, that’s all changing. Instagram users crave the casual connection with their favorite brands, and they welcome business posts that integrate these funny filters into their videos.
What’s more, many brands are developing their own Instagram filters in order to appease the interests of their followers. For example, Rhianna created a diamond-themed filter to promote her annual charitable event, the Diamond Ball. Kylie Jenner also created filters for her new line of lipsticks so that followers could virtually try on her lip shades.
If there’s an opportunity to create a filter that will promote your business on Instagram, take it!
4. More IGTV for Users
In June, Instagram announced their new video platform designed for mobile viewing called IGTV. It’s made for vertical video playback so that marketers and content producers can better address an audience that exclusively uses their mobile phones.
“Why vertical? Instagram wants to encourage people to create video content but, at the same time, to do it exclusively for mobile,” explains Robert Katai of AdWeek. “We already know that people are more likely to use their mobile devices in a vertical position, hence the type of video.”
Creating more vertical video content is a brand new concept that today’s social media marketers should embrace if they want to successful stay up to date with Instagram.
5. Try Long-Form Content
Instagram is notorious for brief images and captions. However, social media users are loving long-form content no matter where they find it.
“We’re going to see a rise in long-form content,” Spendesk inbound marketing manager Patrick Whatman told AdWeek’s Robert Katai. “That’s intentional on the part of Facebook: It brought in IGTV specifically to let people go long.”
Studies show that long-form content not only increases social media engagement, but also increases website traffic.
“[Instagram] knows that teens and young people love watching vloggers on YouTube,” Whatman continues. “It also knows that these same people love watching videos on their phones. So, in direct competition with YouTube, it built a format that lets these vloggers create videos for the vertical screen—the same screen that young people love to watch on the bus or in the car.”
6. Integrate Instagram Into Third-Party Applications
Integration into third-party services is becoming a non-negotiable option for businesses. It provides essential data about your customers to help your business succeed. It’s also extremely convenient for your consumers, even though it means giving up some of their personal details.
But many companies still haven’t embraced this service with Instagram. Businesses who haven’t yet incorporated Instagram in multiple applications will begin to do so in 2019 before it’s too late to compete.
7. Chatbots Will Go Mainstream
Chatbots are still relatively new and exciting to businesses and consumers alike, but that childlike fascination will significantly dull in the new year. Their use is going to become pretty much mainstream in 2019 in multiple applications, including Instagram.
Chatbots make it easy to stay up to date with your brand, responding directly to customer messages and even auto posting when you need a hand. You shouldn’t rely too heavily on this service, but it is an important feature to include in your Instagram strategy.
8. Ads in Instagram Stories
Nearly half of all Instagram users engage with the new Instagram Stories feature on a daily basis. It’s the perfect alternative to the increasing prices of Facebook advertising, and you can still get the same targeted effect with your ads.
These ads don’t have to be complex. It could be as simple as adding a banner to a photo or shooting a 20-second video to announce new products. Later.com also warns that your content should fit in as naturally as possible with non-business Instagram Stories.
“Remember, when people are watching Instagram Stories they are used to seeing casual content from their friends instead of highly-produced videos, so if you don’t want people to swipe past your ‘ad,’ try testing organic, less filtered visuals,” she encourages.
Your Instagram strategy should be constantly evolving, hailing in a new year of greater followers and higher engagement on your page. This is the key to staying competitive on Instagram and in your business.