Instagram is a powerful and at the same time affordable platform to develop your business, even if you have a limited budget. Millions of brands, companies, and small family enterprises over the world are using it as one of the main sources of income. The big question is how do you implement an efficient marketing strategy on Instagram? One way is to look at some of the current Instagram marketing trends for ideas and inspiration.  

We analyzed major changes that happened with this social network recently and created a list of essential Instagram marketing tips for you to add to or experiment with in your established Instagram marketing strategy.

Instagram content trends

Stories are dominating


Stories have reached almost half a billion total views every day. It’s expected that the trend will grow this year, and that stories will become the main method of delivering messages on Instagram, surely dominating over the regular feed.

Some brands are already on the high road to making the most of Stories as part of their Instagram marketing strategy. It’s also interesting that things don’t stay in place. Instagram’s marketing team is frequently rolling out new features to diversify the platform and provide more interactive tools to help engage audiences. Today’s stories may include GIF’s, polls, and questions which are a new effective way to interact with followers.

Tips on the trend:

  • Consider Stories as a separate social channel with its own content plan.
  • Use features that suit the idea of your story.
  • Present your followers with branded GIF’s and AR face filters to increase awareness of your brand.

Customized brand AR filters


AR and VR were the talk of 2018. There are numerous ways of the practical application of the various technologies – you might have already tried some of the Instagram face filters or filters that add that little bit of fun to the background of your photos.

As an example, check out Rihanna’s diamond filter that she created to bring more attention to her charitable Diamond Ball or try on one of Kylie’s lipstick with the help of her personalized AR face filter.

AR is expected to become one of the main trends in 2019, as soon as Instagram is going to open its new inbuilt service for creating branded AR filters. It already operates in a closed testing mode and hopefully will become available soon.

Tips on the trend:

  • If you’re a famous brand, an agency or a large business you can already address Instagram directly in order to get your own AR filters and add them to your Instagram marketing strategy. But if you’re a smaller business, nano- or micro- influencer, you can use this time before an official feature release to find promising ideas on how it’s going to work best for you.
  • Meanwhile, you can try and upload your own brander GIFs or stickers to Stories manually and check if they work for your audience.

Personalized content experiences


As many have discovered, engagement with authentic, personal content generated by users works much better for brands in comparison to generic branded content, especially  when it comes to advertising. You probably found yourself on many occasions, pressing the “unfollow” button when you get direct advertising you have no interest in.

Brands and businesses had to invest into creative methods of advertising in 2018 and really dig into their followers’ interests to discover what would resonate with them. As a result, brands are now producing even more content than ever before to focus on a specific niche instead of addressing each message to everyone. Sounds familiar? See our cover on the visual trend “The Era of Personalization”. 

Tips on the trend:

  • Use Instagram to collect appropriate data on your customers.
  • Ask your followers about their needs and opinions.
  • Target to a specific and niche audience for better results.
  • If you want to appeal to different segments, produce different content, or even create nice profiles.

Customized Nametags


In mid-2018 Instagram reached 1 billion monthly active users. With an enormous amount of active accounts, it has become really difficult to search for particular users. Understanding the needs of the audience, Instagram introduced Nametag. Basically, it is a QR-code that you can customize in different ways like playing with colors, adding emojis or even selfies. The Nametag is a fast and easy way to bring your followers directly to your account.

Tips on the trend:

  • Create a relevant nametag for yourself. Don’t be too simple, use emojis or a selfie.
  • Update your nametag from time to time. Match important holidays or events during the year to entertain your readers.
  • Correlate the nametags with your overall style and image.

Instagram marketing & advertising trends

Shoppable posts & clickable links


More than 30% of online shoppers prefer using social media networks rather than other platforms to search for new products and make purchases, and Instagram occupies the 2nd place after Facebook in these statistics. Last year Instagram allowed clickable links not only in the bio section but also under news feed posts and Stories.

To use this feature, just tag your products by tapping them on a picture. If you get your account verified, you’ll also unlock access to the “swipe up” feature in Stories with an ability link directly to your sale’s landing page.

The huge success of shoppable experiences in 2018 means that brands of all sizes will consider Instagram as an even more reliable conversion channel than before, and we can expect for the release of new features or even whole products from the Instagram team.

Tips on the trend:

  • Shopify your posts and don’t forget to tag your products in feed posts.
  • Use shoppable stickers in your Stories.
  • If you have your account verified, use the “swipe up” feature to more effectively interact with your audience and increase users’ engagement.

Advertising in Stories


Stories are becoming more and more popular every day for the sheer reason of flexibility from one side, and entertainment on the other. No wonder that brands are trying to use them as a new marketing tool and a new notable alternative to regular Facebook ads. Yet it’s still an early trend, but it’s predicted to be one of the most powerful advertising tools in 2019.

If you want to start using Instagram Stories to advertise your products, what you need to do first is connect your Instagram account to the Facebook Ads Messenger, and then choose the “display in Stories” option while creating new ads.

Tips on the trend:

  • Think of Instagram Stories as a separate traffic source and a different part of your Instagram marketing strategy.
  • Target ads more precisely.
  • Check insights and metrics to find out what type of content works best.

Instagram influencer trends

Micro brands and micro influencers


While giant influencers’ prices continue to grow, brands are focusing their attention on so-called micro-influencers which are accounts with less than 100,000 followers and even nano-influencers with up to 10,000 followers.

These kinds of accounts may not only be cheaper to advertise on, but also more effective in terms of conversions. Recent studies of two independent teams of Markerly and HelloSociety showed that posts of smaller accounts have better engagement rates as they look like a trustworthy friend recommendation.

Tips on the trend:

  • Turn attention to more humble accounts. Bigger is not always better for your business.
  • Think of micro- and nano-influencers as of friends who just share their opinion and advice with their followers
  • Try to make long-term agreements for your collaboration to look natural and trustworthy.

Influencers appear more natural and authentic


There’s another notable change with the influencers inside the Instagram network. We all remember these posh looks and perfect poses associated with the celebrities’ accounts in social networks. So, now forget it.

The new trend is that influencers of all levels are becoming more human and natural discovering their real life and opting out of over-editing their pictures.

Tips on the trend:

  • The macro trend has also influenced micro-accounts. So you don’t need to post perfect looks anymore. Just be authentic and more ‘you’!
  • The trend doesn’t imply low-quality visuals, simply a more relatable vibe with the style.

Other Instagram trends in 2019

The rise of direct messaging


In 2018 Direct Messaging inside the Instagram network has greatly improved, and now it is seen as a real alternative to other messaging apps. Users can now send photos, videos, share feed posts or Stories, reply and add reactions.

Hopefully, Instagram will make it easier to use Direct for brands and add desktop access to it. In fact, Instagram Direct may become a separate application like Facebook Messenger. There’s already a standalone Direct application in the UK App Store.

Tips on the trend:

  • Use it to communicate with your audience and answer possible questions.
  • Shape out your DM strategy (you can use it for customer support, research and increase brand loyalty).
  • Check how many times your content was saved or shared on your Instagram page’s analytics.

Engagement shifts from likes to stickers


We’ve been talking about Instagram Stories quite a lot. What should also be mentioned here is the unique idea of stickers on Instagram. Stickers are not merely decorative elements, but a full range interactive tools for brands and personal accounts.

While regular feed posts are getting less attention from Instagram users, brands are creating their own branded GIFs, stickers and filters to promote their brand.

Instagram marketing tips on the trend:

  • You can create your own branded GIF images and fancy stickers and present them for free to your Instagram audience. 
  • You can simply create an industry-related sticker pack without the brand name, but connected with your brand aesthetics.

More attention to user-generated content


Other studies show that posts including user-generated content gain more trust and demonstrates higher conversion rates than pure brand-generated content. That’s a good reason to start using this type of content in your Instagram marketing strategy. This can be anything from photos taken by your customers using your product to customers’ reviews in the role of social proof.

Tips on the trend:

  • Use polls and fun questions to better engage people and encourage interactions with your brand.
  • Ask for fair reviews and custom pictures of your products.
  • Create offline experiences for your customers to take pictures and post it online with mentioning your brand.

Wrap up

Instagram continues to develop there’s always exciting updates and new features to keep an eye out for. These changes and updates give brands more room to experiment and improve engagement, thereby using the platform more efficiently for their marketing goals. 

2018 has given us a variety of new features and transformed the platform from just a social network into a powerful marketplace for huge brands, smaller teams, and all the influencers. In 2019 we are waiting in anticipation for Instagram to bring us closer to more genuine experiences, convenience, and certainly authenticity.

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