ByJune 28, 2018 No Comments

As we all know, social media changes and evolves at an alarmingly fast pace. In fact, Instagram may be the platform moving the quickest of all: lately there have been new Instagram features every month! I’ve rounded up the latest key additions to the Instagram app, so you can keep up to date in this fast-moving world.

So here goes:

All the New Instagram Features of 2018 – And How to Use Them

The New Instagram Features Everyone is Talking About – And How to Use Them

1. IGTV

“IGTV is for watching long-form videos from your favorite creators.” — Kevin Systrom

Yup. Instagram now does TV. In its latest attempt to become a one-stop-shop for social media, Instagram has released its newest baby: IGTV, probably the most exciting Instagram feature in 2018.

IGTV is available from within Instagram — but also exists as a standalone app — and will allow absolutely any Instagram user (you don’t have to be a brand or celebrity) to create and share videos on the web or through the app itself. Videos are full screen and vertical, and unlike Stories videos which are limited to 15 seconds, they can be up to an hour long. They also stick around, making the time investment from video creators really worth it.

“On the creator side, I think we’re going learn a lot from the first couple of weeks, but so far, obviously, the length helps [IGTV] feel different than Stories. The permanence helps as well. It raises the bar a bit in terms of what people are posting, but it also means that their investment is justified because it’s going to stick around and it’s going to be available for views.” – Instagram co-founder, Mike Krieger in an interview with Refinery29

IGTV will start playing as soon as you open the feature, and you can begin watching content from accounts you already follow, or discover new content based on your interests using the search function. It suggests content ‘For You’, as well as ‘Popular’ content, and prompts you to continue watching videos you’ve already partly viewed (kind of like Netflix!).

IGTV latest feature on Instagram

The feature is set to take on YouTube and help the Facebook empire make a name for itself in the world of video. And it looks to be off on the right foot!

Here’s how to activate this Instagram feature:

  • Tap the settings icon in IGTV
  • Tap “Create channel”
  • Upload a video from your library!

IGTV activation

Alternatively, you can download the IGTV app and follow the same steps.

2. Spotify sharing

Everyone wants to be a part of the Instagram Stories craze. From apps to help you design amazing layouts to face filters and live streaming, your Stories can have so much potential. Instagram is now allowing Spotify users to share what they’re listening to in their Stories and even recommend music to their followers via a brand new integration.

The possibility of sharing a sticker of songs, playlists and even whole albums to Instagram Stories will make viewing all the more entertaining. For Instagramers sharing Stories with their community, this new feature is a welcome addition to the app. When you share Spotify music to Instagram Stories, your followers can easily click through from the Story straight to Spotify, where they will be able to listen to the song, album or mix you shared.

Here’s how to activate this Instagram feature:

  • Tap the “share” button in the Spotify app
  • Select Instagram Stories
  • The shared content automatically appears in a brand new Story in your Instagram app

 

If you’re into music, you’ll be interested to know that Instagram just announced you can now “add a soundtrack to your story that fits any moment and helps you express how you’re feeling.” There’s a huge choice of songs in the integrated music library: simply select your favorite and it will play during your Story for up to 15 seconds. The song also appears visually as a sticker on the screen so that listeners can easily identify the music.

3. Sharing feed posts into Stories

It can be hard to grow your Instagram organically, and Stories can definitely help with that when used in the right way. But it can be tricky to know how to drive traffic with Instagram Stories. Ever opened Stories and felt like you were back in the traditional feed? Brands and celebrities often screenshot their feed to tease and motivate their communities to visit their latest posts. That strategy is now a thing of the past!

Instagram stated in the feature release post:

“When you come across something in feed that inspires you — like a post from a friend raising money for a cause or a photo of a new design from your favorite brand — you can now quickly share that post as a sticker to your story for your friends and followers to see.”

Instagramers have jumped at the opportunity to create stickers out of their feed posts, and we’re already seeing lots of brands driving traffic to their feeds through Stories — no more feed screenshots!

Here’s how to activate this Instagram feature:

  • Tap the arrow icon under any feed post
  • Tap “Add post to your Story”
  • Customize the sticker and your Story, then send!

4. Mute option

Remember when we found out we could hit the mute button on people’s Stories? Well, it’s great news for all you polite ‘grammers out there — you can now “mute” people on Instagram and never have to see any of their posts (and they’ll still think you like them).

What more could you ask for?

Here’s how to activate this Instagram feature:

  • Tap the 3 dots in the top right-hand corner of the account’s profile
  • Select Mute
  • Choose just how much you want to not hear from that person
  • Keep everyone happy

5. Video Chat in Direct Messages

You can now video chat in your Direct Messages on Instagram! Just like with Facebook Messenger, you can now choose to speak directly with the person you’re messaging, almost as if they were there in the room with you.

Instagram said they wanted users to feel “close and connected to friends” when they can’t be together, “your friends are already on Instagram, and with video chat, you can seamlessly connect across iOS and Android and without a phone number” – fantastic news!

Here’s how to activate this Instagram feature:

  • Open your Direct inbox and open any message thread (even if it’s a group of up to 4 people)
  • Tap the camera icon in the top right-hand corner
  • Instagram will then call your friend’s mobile(s) directly (they don’t even need to be using the app at the time of the call)

If your friends have begun a video chat within a group chat you belong to, the camera icon (top right) will turn blue. All you have to do is tap the blue icon to join in the call. Video chats are not time limited — chat all day long if you like — tap the red button to hang up when you’re done!

While video chatting, you can minimize the video window and carry on about your business on Instagram, whether that may be in your DM inbox, your feed or your Stories.

That’s it for this round up of new Instagram features! If you’re interested in upping your Instagram game, be sure to subscribe to our Instagram Strategy course! The easy to digest lessons will be delivered straight to your inbox and are completely free:

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Emily Lydon

Author Emily Lydon

Emily is an Inbound Marketer for Iconosquare, based in the Limoges office. She loves all things social and revels in keeping on top of the social media marketing game by writing for the blog. She’s also a bit obsessed with sushi, gin and Netflix.

More posts by Emily Lydon

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