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[2021 Edition] Latest Facebook and Instagram Updates

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

Below are 9 of the latest Instagram updates in 2020, and 5 of them are directly related to small businesses! Scroll down to “For small businesses*” to skip ahead to these.

These past few months since the beginning of 2020 have pushed social media platforms to find a way to help people stay connected, informed, and inspired. But these updates also show us the future of the “new normal.” Consumers spending more time online means that businesses need support from these platforms to adjust their business model during these changing times.

After reading about these updates, let me know in the comments section which is your favorite new feature that your business will likely implement!

1. IGTV Ads 📺

So this is not a feature that is out just yet, but will be rolling out soon.

This is an exciting feature for the “creators” on Instagram, because it means that they will be able to make money through ads.

IGTV has been around since 2018, and this is the first time that Instagram is giving Creators a way to make money through the platform, so it’s kind of a big deal for Influencers and anyone that works with other businesses on their platform.

As Instagram rolls this feature out, you’ll see the ads from brands like IKEA, Puma, and Sephora as they test out this new feature.

If all goes well, it may even be an option for all businesses and a great way to get involved with Creators, Influencers, or Micro-Influencers on Instagram.

If you’d like to be the first to hear about the latest updates on social media, sign up to get emails from me.

Instagram has brought the heat with some of these Instagram updates that we can use both on our personal profile, and your Business or Creator page.

2. Badges on Instagram Live

Badges in Live may look familiar to those who use Twitch and TikTok. This feature is another way for Instagram Creators to get support from their fans through Instagram.

Instagram noted a 70% increase in views from February to March on Instagram Live, so as a way to thank the Creators including fitness instructors, dancers, artists, and chefs, Instagram is adding a “badges” that viewers can purchase while watching the video.

Here’s how it works: Throughout the live video, badges will appear by a person’s name throughout the live video. While watching the live video, people watching can purchase badges, which are technically “tips” for the Creator. The people who purchase the badges will stand out in the comments and unlock additional features, including a placement on a creator’s list of badge holders and access to a special heart.

3. Green Screen for Instagram Stories 🌌

Creators can now publish Augmented Reality (AR) effects to Instagram that people (non-creators) can personalize with their own images.

This green screen is a fun way for everyone to transport themselves in another world, and create stories with no photo-editing skills and equipment.

Some ways that businesses can use this feature is by hosting a tutorial, or giving a demonstration with a background that’s not in your bedroom!

This is a new feature that you can really have fun with.

4. AR Filters for Existing Photos & Videos

Before, you can only put on those “moving sunglasses filter” while taking the picture live. But now, you can take a picture, and add the filter later!

5. Instagram Guides

This is by far one of my favorite new features Instagram is rolling out. See what this looks like live on AFSP’s Instagram.

This is a new format Instagram is implementing that will allow creators to share helpful scrollable content. This brings us back to the original purpose of Instagram - to inspire and help people and I love that about this new feature. For the time being, guides are only showing on mobile devices and not on desktop.

The wellness industry is going to be the first to roll out this feature, which was decided during the COVID-19 pandemic as many people were struggling.

Some tips you can expect to see is how to look after your well-being, maintaining connection with others, or managing anxiety or grief. Check out their announcement to see which creators and organizations are already participating in these guides.

For small businesses*:

6. Facebook Shops*

You may or may not have already noticed the ability to shop products directly from a business’ Instagram shop, but Facebook Shop is a new feature as of May 2020 that will allow small businesses to build online stores on both platforms, and be able to tag products during live broadcasts.

People will be able to build out a catalog where visitors can browse, save, share, and even purchase your products.

This is a game changer, because the virtual stores are highly customizable so you’ll be able to use your brand covers and pick cover images to create that perfect aesthetic for your feed.

The best part of all? They’re adding a rewards program that you can offer to your loyal customers.

Customers will be able to keep track of their points and rewards and businesses will be able to easily manage these points.

7. Instagram Shop*

You may have already seen the shopping feature on Instagram, but it’s looking like Instagram is going to become similar to Amazon - a one-stop shop for anything and everything you need. You will be able to shop from collections from Instagram’s @shop, your favorite brands, and even be able to filter by category. Keep an eye out later in the year, as Facebook announced they will also be adding a new shop tab in the navigation bar (at the bottom of the screen) so you can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap. See what I’m talking about at the picture above. Tip: Brands that are using Instagram Shopping and Checkout will likely show up on the Shop feed, so if you have a product to sell, now’s your time to get on the Instagram Shop trend!

8. Live Shopping *

Think - an infomercial but on social media, and easier accessibility to buy. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but while watching your favorite beauty guru trying on new makeup products, or an online boutique showing the new season’s outfits, you will now be able to add your products to your live feed while you’re showing off your new product to your audience.

Before you go live, you will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog and it will be shown at the bottom of the video for viewers to learn more and purchase!

This makes your product more accessible, and a faster turnaround time for purchases.

Tons of potential to get your audience engaged and convinced that they should buy your product or service!

9. Messenger Rooms*

There’s FaceTime, and there’s Messenger Rooms. Messenger Rooms changes the game for engagement with your audience.

These calls can host up to 50 people on the Instagram app, and is a much more laid back tool to video conference with people.

For businesses, this is a great opportunity to invite a select group of people to talk about an upcoming event you’re having, or just to get to know some of your loyal customers!

Oh, and you don’t need to have an Instagram or Facebook to use Messenger Room, giving access to unlimited users!

10. Instagram Reels *

If you haven't seen these short videos taking over Instagram already... you probably don't go on social media often 😂

Reels are 15-30 second clips that you can make on the app with Instagram's own video editing tool, or you can upload your own video. If you've ever gone on TikTok, Instagram Reels is a very similar idea, but for Instagram users.

I've seen fashionistas doing quick outfit changes and sharing tips, social media gurus sharing their top strategies, and even creators being creative with hilarious videos for our entertainment. There is so much room for creativity with this new feature.

And because people tend to enjoy watching videos over non-moving content, people have been reaching a whole new audience and growing their social media pages like crazy!

I love coming up with ideas for reels, so if you ever struggle, feel free to reach out to me on Onward & Upward's Instagram page!

Lots of exciting things happening for small businesses on social media! With all of these changes, it’s good to keep informed on the latest updates so your brand can implement these new features from the beginning.

Make sure you're staying up to date with the latest social media updates by singing up for my social media growth squad ⤵️


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