Complete Guide of all the Instagram Features and How to Use Them

We all know a good deal about Instagram… right? We know it’s a social media platform, it’s the leading platform for photo and video content, and it’s beginning to evolve the marketing industry as we know it. Anyone who is a digital marketer, content creator, or influencer knows just how important it is to constantly try to up your Instagram game. 

But sometimes, you’re stuck. If you feel like you’ve hit a rut with your Instagram content, look no further. Follow this guide of Instagram features and unlock your social profile’s full potential! 

  1. Creator and business accounts

    Instagram allows you to switch your account over to a professional account. To do this, go to the three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of your Instagram screen. Scroll down and tap “Switch toa professional account.” This will take you to another screen asking if you’d like to switch to a “Creator” or “Business” profile. 
    Why use this capability? If you’re a content creator or a business, it should be a no-brainer! With a professional account, you also have more access to insights and performance metrics. You’ll be able to better track the performance of your content overall, as well as your day-to-day performance and engagement with your audience.

  2. Instagram stories

    Okay, who are we kidding? You probably already use stories on the regular, but we’re talking about a facelift version of the Instagram stories we all know and love. Instagram is always changing and improving, and this year the app made it easier for you to get creative with your stories. Now you can post polls, create countdown timers, add GIFs, post a question, and share stories from the past with the “On this day” feature. That’s a whole lot of fun to add to your profile — looks like Instagram’s facelift can be a facelift for your content too!

  3. Remove followers

    You’re probably wondering HOW this could benefit your profile, but there’s a secret benefit to removing followers. We all get “bot” followers and spammy followers every now and then, and this is exactly why Instagram made it possible to remove followers. Not only are these followers annoying but they can really strangle your credibility. So go ahead and remove them — and don’t worry, they won’t know you did.

  4. Toggle between multiple accounts

    If you’re running a business (or several businesses) that requires you to be logged in to several accounts at the same time, you probably know the struggle of almost posting to the wrong account. Or worse, actually posting to the wrong account! Swipe that problem off the table because you can now toggle between your different accounts. The best part? You can also post the same thing to all your accounts at once.

  5. Exclusive messaging

    Marketers and content creators know the importance of targeted messaging. Maybe you want to send a private message for your best friend, or perhaps you have a group that you’d like to alert about a new sale going on at your company. Instagram has a feature called “Close friends” that lets you do just that. Use “Close friends” to send private stories out and make sure it only gets seen by that group. It’s easy to use and gives you new ways to segment your messaging by different groups of users. 

  6. Alt text

    Alt text plays a big role in website content creation and SEO performance. It’s a way to describe your visuals with text, and it’s really helpful for anyone who has vision impairments and can’t fully understand your images just by looking at them. Not sure how to use it? Go to “advanced settings” when you’re posting a picture, look under “accessibility,” and add in your alt text. Try to make it as concise and descriptive as possible!

  7. Stickers for stories

    Trying to spunk up your stories? Many marketers find success with stickers, which make it a little more interactive and fun for your followers who are viewing your stories. If you’re able to, try testing out the engagement. See if your followers engage more or less when you use stickers — you never know until you test it out! 

  8. Instagram Live and IGTV

    Okay, these probably aren’t secrets. But do you understand the difference between Instagram Live and IGTV? And do you understand why you should be utilizing these features for your brand? 

    Instagram Live is just what it sounds like: a live video. The benefits? It’s real, it’s raw, and it helps establish a sense of transparency and trust between you and your followers. The downsides? Well, it’s live. So you need to realize that folks will be watching in real-time. Some celebrities and influencers have gotten heat for saying something bad on Instagram Live, so just know that you can’t edit your live videos once you start. 

    IGTV is a quickly growing trend. It lets you post long-form video content to better engage the followers who love the content you produce. Think of it as a way for you to post a mini-movie, TV, or documentary-style video without having a full-blown production.

  9. Make a collage with “Layouts”

    Instagram has a new feature called “Layout,” which lets you make a collage of photos for one post. Sure, you could do this on a photo editing tool, but Instagram makes it easy and quick. No need to open up a bunch of different apps if you can just do it all in one, right? To use Instagram layouts, go to the camera icon, swipe through the different options until you see “Layouts,” take some pictures, and organize them within the layout to your liking.

  10. Categories

    A lot of people failed to notice that something big changed on Instagram with the release of the “Categories” feature. This feature groups all the accounts you follow into different categories that make sense. You’ll see things like “least interacted with,” “most shown in feed,” and several other categories that represent the types of accounts you follow. This makes it easier for you to go through different profiles depending on what you’re looking for. 

  11. Music for your stories

    You probably know you can add hashtags, location tags, and mentions to your stories — but have you ever tried adding music? It’s a great way to polish your stories and add a little more dimension to them.

  12. Mentions

    This is a big one for any brand that values user-generated content and word-of-mouth marketing approaches. In the “Activity” tab, you can see stories where your profile has been mentioned. Of course, you can repost these to highlight all the great things people are saying about your brand/product — but you can also use this as a way to build trust with your prospects. When potential new customers see that others are raving about your brand, they have one more reason to trust you.

    Well, that’s a wrap! You now have the scoop on Instagram’s hottest features (for now, at least) and how to set them up on your profile. If you’re still not sure how to optimize your Instagram, chat with us and we’ll be happy to help you out.

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