Ah, social media. It changes every day (or at least, it sure seems that way).
If you haven’t already heard, Facebook (the owner of Instagram) shared a few new Instagram updates coming in 2018 at their annual F8 Conference, a Facebook and Instagram developer event that takes place each spring in San Jose.
To get you caught up, here’s a recap of the latest Instagram features according to F8, coming to a mobile device near you:
1. New “Explore” Page
Word is that the developers of Instagram launched a redesign of the Explore tab – something we expect to see rolled out soon.
We’re used to the Explore page showing us popular posts and posts we might like, based on our activity and engagement with other content on the platform. But now, Instagram will allow users to explore content according to their interests with a new “Channels” feature. In other words, instead of Instagram suggesting content that it thinks we might like, it’s giving us the freedom to search ourselves, from “fitness” to “kittens” and everything in between. You’ll see broad categories to search as well as relevant hashtags, like #kittensofinstagram.
No word on a specific launch day yet, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled in the Explore tab!
2. Hello, Video Chat
You heard it here – video chat is coming to Instagram. Think FaceTime or Skype, but now through your Instagram app.
So, users can now talk privately with another user, or a group of users, over a video call in Instagram. It’s like the Direct Message feature that we’ve all come to know and love, but when you tap the video chat icon (to be released soon), it will call your friends, instead. (Better be ready for your close up.)
You will also be able to shrink your video chat to the corner of your screen while continuing to scroll and engage on Instagram at the same time. (Not that you won’t be paying attention to your caller, of course…). Talk about multitasking.
3. Share Your Favorite Spotify Songs Right In Your Instagram Story
No more taking a screenshot of your current jam and sharing that static image with your followers on Instagram Stories. Now, you can integrate Spotify right into the app to have a clip of that song play for your followers to hear.
The sharing process actually happens through Spotify (we’ll assume you use the Spotify app, then). When you come across that feel-good hit that you just have to share, you’ll tap a “share” icon in the Spotify app. It will appear as a “sticker” in your Instagram story, allowing your followers to listen to their hearts’ content. Groovy.
4. Create Your Own Face Filters
Those of you who enjoy those Instagram Stories filters with dog-ears and crazy glasses will enjoy this one. Soon, users of the app will be able to create and share their own unique facial features on Instagram Stories – a nod to augmented reality technology.
If that tickles your fancy, keep an eye out this year for the rollout. We’re guessing it will be available to influencers and big brands first, before us small businesses and individual profiles get access to it. (Sigh.)
5. Filter Out the Haters
Last but not least, Instagram is releasing a new anti-bullying feature that will allow users to filter out offensive comments with language-learning technology. When harassing comments appear on a post, Instagram’s new tool will recognize the negative language and automatically delete the comment (that’s the idea, anyway). We’re curious to see how this one will play out, and just how accurate it will be in shutting out the haters.
By the way, this feature will be automatically enabled for all users, so keep an eye out on your “Comment Controls” section in Settings to learn more.
And there you have it! What are your thoughts on the new Instagram features from the F8 Conference? Love ‘em, hate ‘em – just trying to keep up with all of them? (Us, too.)
But we do know one thing: Instagram is becoming an important tool for small businesses to utilize in the social media sphere, and it’s not going away any time soon. Better keep up, friends.
Total Brand Agency