Instagram News Roundup: New Instagram Shopping Features, GIFs in DMs, and Using Stories to Encourage Voters By Jolina Landicho Posted September 21, 2018 Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Twitter If you like “window shopping” on Instagram, we’ve got some exciting news for you! From new shopping features, GIFs where you don’t expect them, and new ways to reach voters, here’s our roundup for this week’s Instagram news. Instagram Shopping Grows with New Personalized Explore channel, Stories tags, and Shopping Icon Image source: katespadeny Businesses have used Instagram to promote their brands and products for a long time. Finally, Instagram has taken notice and is rolling out new Shopping features. Instagram added a dedicated Shopping channel to Explore. This makes it easier for you to find items you’re likely interested in. Also, users can now add Shopping tags to Instagram Stories globally. Additionally, businesses can place a shopping bag icon on Instagram Stories. These shopping bag icons will allow users to easily access the item featured for sale. This last feature is available for businesses in 46 countries. According to Instagram, up to 90 million users already make use of their Shopping tags each month. This move will make it even easier for brands and businesses to promote and sell their products on this top social media site. It also marks Instagram’s further expansion into e-commerce. This doesn’t come as a surprise. Especially since E-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay make up to $204,000 and $160,000 every minute in e-commerce sales. Given Instagram’s current user base and the trend of using the app for shopping, this is the logical next step. If you’re looking into using Instagram for your own business, this is a great time to get started. The app’s features are moving in this direction and you’ll be able to take advantage of users who are ready to shop through Instagram. Instagram Story Metrics Made Easy Grab our ebook Your Guide to Instagram Stories: Measuring What Matters to take Your Instagram Stories game up a notch! Instagram uses Stories to Encourage Voter Registration Image source: Instagram-press.com Shopping isn’t the only new thing to come to Instagram Stories. The app is now making use of its huge audience to encourage US-based users to register to vote. Instagram, partnered with TurboVote, aims to help US-based users access information on how to get registered through ads in the Instagram Feed and Stories. Part of this initiative also includes “I voted” stickers on Election Day, which will link to Get to the Polls. This link will allow users to find their polling location on Election Day. There’s a GIF in my DMs! Instagram’s most recent update includes GIFs. Now, you can send your favorite users GIFs in Instagram Direct. This new feature is powered by GIPHY. You can access their GIF library by tapping on the “GIF” button in the composer bar. You can access trending GIFs on Instagram or search for specific GIFs using keywords or phrases. If you’re feeling lucky, you can also send a random GIF. All you have to do is tap on “Random” after typing in the search bar. This will send a randomly selected GIF that’s related to the keyword you typed. Meet Sked - The most powerful Instagram scheduling platform A place to plan & schedule your Instagram posts, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week. In other cool Instagram news… Instagram Brings Back Brutalism Image source: brutalist_manila You may not know what Brutalism is, but a lot of users do now because of Instagram. Brutalism is an architectural trend that started after World War II. It featured raw, concrete buildings that were easy to build after the war. It quickly became unpopular and even reviled. Many brutalist buildings were demolished to make way for new architectural styles. But hashtags on Instagram brought the style back. User likes have even pushed toward conserving surviving brutalist buildings, and hashtags such as #brutalism and derivatives like #brutalismo continue to grow. Expectations In the Instagram-able Life For many Instagram users, being able to present a curated feed of their lives is important. But when all we see is the good side, does this skew our expectations of what our daily lives should be like? According to mental health experts, this is the case. A constant timeline filled with perfect lives can easily make someone feel inadequate. A study in 2017 on five social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram) found that Instagram ranked last for its effects on sleep, body image, and fear of missing out. Advice varies on how to deal with these feelings. For some, taking a break from the app helps. Others say it’s good to be more selective of who you follow. Although Instagram doesn’t have an answer to issues of mental health, it has taken positive steps to address other social and community issues, such as drug addiction. For example, when a user searches for drug-related tags such as “opioid,” a pop up will appear linking users to drug addiction resources. This is one of Instagram’s attempts to stop drug dealers from using their platform to connect with buyers while supporting users searching for relevant support communities. You may also like: How to Get the Most Out of Sked Social The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Planning and Scheduling How to Increase E-Commerce Sales For Your Business With Instagram 10 Instagram Metrics That Matter (And How To Track Them) Wanted: House-buyer, Must Love Dogs Just like a movie, this beautiful house located at 15 Austin Way in Australia comes with a catch—an Instagram account dedicated to dogs. The current owners run the @doggosofpiedimontes account, which captures the “doggos of Piedimonte’s supermarket Fitzroy North.” Started as a back-and-forth conversation between the house owners, the Instagram account has become a fun part of the community. Owners Sam Drummond and Jo Curtin have decided to pass on the account to the new owners of the house to keep it alive. They’ve purchased a new house with a backyard so that they can have their own dog. Sacrificing the Earth for the Perfect Shot How far would you go for the perfect Instagram shot? For some users, the answer is too far. To get their pictures, some users post images of themselves camping in restricted areas or trashing of protected landscapes. According to Elisabeth Brentano, a writer and photographer from Los Angeles, social media companies need to hold these types of users more accountable. She suggests implementing report features that will lead to these users being banned. In follow up to this, Brentano launched a petition for social media companies to do something against users who harm the environment for the sake of social media posts. And this petition earned 13,500 signatures in three weeks. Although Instagram is one way for users to keep and share memories, Brentano says it shouldn’t reward users for illegal behavior. The Instagram community also can play a role in monitoring and reporting this behavior. Are you measuring your Instagram Story Metrics? Grab our ebook Your Guide to Instagram Stories: Measuring What Matters to take Your Instagram Stories to the next level! More Instagram News & Tips How To Schedule Instagram Posts As with anything, consistency is key. And managing Instagram isn’t any different, especially with building an engaged audience through a posting strategy. In this step-by-step guide, Sked Social (formerly Schedugram) shares how you can save 100 hours per year of Instagram work, by mastering how to schedule your Instagram posts. How To Create An Instagram Aesthetic For Your Brand Instagram isn’t just about posting the right images with the right captions at the right time. A great individual photo is good, but a collective, well-planned, and structured portfolio of posts in your Instagram feed says a lot more on your brand. Learn how you can make an Insta-worthy feed that can visually represent your brand via this handy guide. Takeaway The app has been producing more and more features to get you, and everyone else, to jump on. It’s also been taking steps to be more active in social issues. If you’re a current user, there are always new ways for you to use this ever-growing app. Join us again next week for more updates and Instagram news! If you’re looking to carve out hours in your social media workflow, sign up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week.