instagram not a photo sharing app

With over 1 billion monthly users, Instagram continues to be in the top 5 most used mobile apps to communicate with friends, family and businesses.  Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has evolved its aesthetics to fit the visual demands of its users.  As the popularity of social media apps continues to climb, Instagram has many competitors trying to take its place as the #1 photo-sharing app

To stay relevant, Instagram eventually rolled out a feature for users to begin sharing videos.  The change was clunky at first but as there was a high demand to share higher quality videos, Instagram created a more appealing format for video sharing.  And by 2018, Instagram’s biggest competitors for video content were YouTube by Google and TikTok by ByteDance.

Instagram developers continue to keep the mobile app relevant and have even made it easier to share content from other social media apps like Twitter and Snapchat by Snap Inc.  But after feeling the heat, the trajectory of Instagram is no longer evolving; it’s beginning to change.

Instagram’s announcement

On June 30, 2021, Head of Instagram Adam Moressi posted an IGTV video to announce the newest rollout for the app.  To stay competitive with other video-sharing apps, Moressi announced that Instagram will be focusing on four key areas to build online experiences:

  1. Creators
  2. Video
  3. Shopping
  4. Messaging

Moressi explains content creators will have their platforms highlighted to help them make a living and support individual artists who are not connected with an agency. 

Video content is driving a lot more traffic online than still images and Instagram intends to stay relevant and competitive by leaning into the trend. 

During the height of the pandemic and quarantine last year, buying habits shifted from in-person shopping to online as most companies closed their doors.  Instagram will promote more in-app shopping experiences to adapt to the changing market. 

And Instagram researchers saw a trend with users not using their feed and stories as the primary way to communicate with other accounts.  Moressi did not give any hints as to how the app will address this so we will have to wait for another announcement.

What does this mean for my business online?

Utilizing Instagram as an online tool is still one of the best ways to market your business to a specific target audience.  The changes that Moressi announced will not stop your ability to post online but it might change what you post.

Moressi emphasizes that Instagram is “no longer a (square) photo-sharing app” in an effort to promote more video content.  Instagram is not taking away photo sharing (yet).  One possible update to watch for is photo content not be prioritized as “Suggested” posts or highlighted on the app’s “Search” tab.

To keep your business relevant, explore posting video content featuring your products.  Instagram Reels are a great way to create short videos to show off new merchandise or events.  IGTV allows you to post videos longer than one minute to share business announcements or save Live video to your Feed.

As Instagram explores prioritizing online shopping, consider listing products that your business sells on your Instagram Shop.  Try tagging products in posts as new merchandise rolls out.  Instagram has made it easier than ever for users to find new products with the “Shop” tab!

As Instagram continues to change to remain competitive, it forces users to change how they interact with the app.  But we still suggest using this online tool to connect and share your business with potential customers in this evolving, digital world of social media.

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