If you have been paying any attention at all. Instagram has released a lot of updates in the last year. A lot. Like a lot, a lot. And it can be hard to know which ones to pay attention to, which ones really matter, and what to do with all of these updates. I’ve seen a lot of people on Facebook groups saying, I’ve just given up using Instagram. It’s too much to figure out. And I think that that confusion, that frustration comes from the idea that you need to be using and implementing all of these new updates, along with all of the incredible features Instagram already has to offer.

If you have been paying any attention at all. Instagram has released a lot of updates in the last year. A lot. Like a lot, a lot. And it can be hard to know which ones to pay attention to, which ones really matter, and what to do with all of these updates. I’ve seen a lot of people on Facebook groups saying, I’ve just given up using Instagram. It’s too much to figure out. And I think that that confusion, that frustration comes from the idea that you need to be using and implementing all of these new updates, along with all of the incredible features Instagram already has to offer. And that’s just not the case when it comes to social media and especially a platform like Instagram, where there are so many incredible features that you could be using, you have to figure out the ones that work best for you, what fits with your brand with your audience, what parts and features of Instagram is your audience really engaging with?

So today, what I want to do is I want to walk you through five of the latest updates that I personally have found to be really beneficial on Instagram. Plus, I want to share with you one bonus feature that is kind of in the works behind the scenes. They’re beta testing it currently, and I think it could be really beneficial as well. So I want to share that with you today in this episode. So let’s dive in with the first update, which is not really a new update, if you’ve been using Instagram for a while, because it’s Instagram reels.

Update #1: Video Content is Queen

And I know that some of you I can hear you right now through the headphones or rolling your eyes going, oh, uh, Kendra stopped talking about Reels. I get it. But let me tell you right now, from every single Instagram social media platform expert I have heard from, talk to, listen to, learn from, they are all saying the same thing. And that is that video content is raining supreme right now. I’m going to say that one more time, and I’m going to give you a moment to let it sink in. Video content is currently reigning supreme when, um, it comes to the type of content that’s getting noticed on social media. And Instagram’s version of this is reals. Now, live videos, you can still upload like IGTV style videos. It’s not called IGTV anymore, but you can still upload like pre recorded videos. But the number one current trend on Instagram is Instagram reels. Now, I know a lot of people hear things like Instagram reels, and you immediately think TikTok videos, you think silly dances, laughing and pointing, all those cheesy things. That doesn’t have to be what Instagram Reel is about.

And here’s a little bit of a behind the scenes insider tip. The trend currently with Instagram Reels is that more and more original audio reels are going viral. What that means is that we are still in the phase of yes. Um, like, trending reels are getting lots of traction. The ones that use trending audio, popular songs, dances, lip sync, those kinds of things are still popular. However, the use of original, uh, audio is starting to see a major uptick. So what does that mean? Original audio is anytime that you bring your own audio into your Instagram reel. Um, an example of this would be if I were to create an Instagram reel, sharing three tips on how to create a great Instagram bio. It would be short 30 seconds to 60 seconds at the Max. But I’m giving something of value. I’m using my own voice and it’s my original content. So this is becoming one of the newest trends within this Instagram Reels update. And if I were ranking sort of all of the Instagram updates over the last year or two, I would put reals and video content at the very top of that list because I think it has had the most impact on the audience that uses the Instagram app.

Whether you’re creating video content or consuming video content, it’s had a huge impact. And if you’re still holding out, if you’re still thinking, Kendra, I don’t do video. I don’t like doing video. I don’t want to do video. I hear you and I understand you. I’m just telling you that the future of Instagram marketing, the future of content marketing is leaning towards video. I think back to 25 years ago when my parents were running this small business out of my hometown and the Internet came along and all these businesses were hopping on the idea of need to have a website, we need to have a website. And my parents business was so small and it was just this family run business that they were not all about flashy sales marketing techniques. They were tried and true solid foundational marketing pieces. And they’ve been advertising in the Yellow Pages and in newspapers for years. And so when the Internet came along and they were approached, the idea of you should build a website, they were like, no, we don’t need a website. We’re going to stick with these yellow pages. And over time, their competition, who had jumped on the idea of this is where the trend is heading and had built their websites, started to surpass them. And they eventually had to play catch up by learning how to do what all these businesses were already doing and doing well. And so I look at that example, and I look at where we are right now, in digital marketing, and it’s the same exact thing. The only difference is it’s those of you that are holding on to that. I just want to post pretty pictures, and I just want to post my inspirational quotes. I don’t want to do these videos. You’re still holding on to those Yellow pages, phone books when the rest of the world has moved on to Internet marketing. So you can hold your ground. You can keep posting those pretty pictures, but eventually you’re going to become obsolete. If you don’t start dipping your toe into the idea of video content and you can start small, I promise it’s not as scary. I was very against video content at first. The more you do it, the easier it gets. But you have to take that first step and jump into starting or you’re always going to be sitting on the fence going, I wish I had started sooner, and then you’re going to be playing catch up to where everybody else already is.

Update #2: Collaborations

All right, so let’s move on to update number two, which is collaborations. And these kind of go hand in hand with Reals because they were first started off using them as a real collaboration. What collaboration means is that I can say, hey, my friend Katie Brinkley, who does the business busiest podcast, I can reach out to her and say, hey, Katie, let’s collaborate on this post or on this real. I’m going to create something, and then I’m going to add you as a collaborator, and now it’s going to show up on both of our feeds. So instead of us both having to post it out to our feed, it shows up on our feeds together as a collaboration. Now, this could be done as you work on a project together. So maybe Katie and I have done a couple of reels where she records part of it. I record part of it. We can buy it together to create a reel and you collaborate that way. Or it could be maybe you have collaborated on. This is a topic we both feel really passionate about, or it’s a podcast episode that we did together. So I’m going to tag Katie as a collaborator, and now it’s going to show up on her feed as a post that she has published, even though it is linked to me. It’s the post I created or vice versa. So what is the purpose of collaboration? Well, the goal of the collaboration is that you are expanding the reach of your content. So if I create a real or a piece of content and I collaborate with one or two other people and it’s now pushed out to their audience, their audience is now seeing my content or the content we created together. So it’s like saying, hey, I’m going to share you with my audience in a really low risk way because I’m not necessarily going to have to spend a whole lot of time getting on a live with you, or getting on a podcast interview with you, or working a ton of project together, or creating something together. We can just create a quick real a quick post, collaborate, and now we’re sharing each other with the other person’s audience. So collaborations are a really great way to expand the reach of your account to a wider, broader audience.

Now, when it comes to collaborations, you want to make sure you are collaborating with people who fit your niche. So I’m not going to go and collaborate with someone who is an online dog trainer because we don’t have enough in common. Our niches don’t align. It’s going to be very rare that someone in her dog training community is looking for a business coach. It’s going to be rare that someone in my business coaching community is going to be looking for a dog trainer. So it doesn’t make sense for us to collaborate. But if I were to collaborate with someone who is a Facebook ad specialist or a Pinterest marketing specialist, those are all things that I could collaborate with. And our audiences are going to be similar enough that it makes sense that we cross promote for each other. One question I get asked a lot in collaborations is how is it different than tagging someone? So when you go to create a post and you tag somebody on that post, they are notified that you have tagged them and it shows up in their tagged section of their feed. But they’re not putting their name on that content. They’re not saying that, hey, I approve this content and I want to put it onto my own feed as well. When you’re asking someone to collaborate with you, you are inviting them to then kind of put their name onto your content or the content you created together. So when you go to collaborate with someone, it’s best to make sure that you’ve had a conversation with that person ahead of time so that you’re not asking to collaborate with them when they don’t know who you are or you’re just trying to do it to get exposure, make sure you’re doing it with someone you have kind of a working, ongoing relationship with.

Update #3: Story Links for All!

Okay. Update number three is easily one of my favorite updates Instagram has done to date, and that is to add the link sticker to everybody’s stories. So in the past, you had to have that magical 10,000 followers in order to get the swipe up feature to where you could link to things in your Instagram stories, making it easy for somebody to swipe up and go to a different site or a part of your website or a page or shop or whatever. And so what happened in that case? Because you had this buried entry, you had to get that 10,000 followers. If you had people doing things like paying to buy followers just to get to that magical ten K number, and that’s not a good look for Instagram. They didn’t want people to feel like they had to buy followers to get there, so they removed that barrier. And now they’ve said, everybody gets the link sticker. And it’s amazing. However, what a lot of people have found is that this magical, mystical link sticker that everybody thought was going to change their business isn’t the magic piece that changes your business. It’s super helpful.

Don’t get me wrong. I love it. I love that I can post a story about today’s podcast episode and link directly to it. Or I can post about my Inbox Insider program and link directly to it. Or if another podcast, um, that I’m a guest on, I share the link or I share the promotional material they’ve put out for our episode. I can link to it because it’s not necessarily linked in my Instagram bio link, but with any new feature, there’s a couple of best practices to keep in mind. So before you dive into just willy nilly using your link sticker, keep in mind that when someone is clicking on that link sticker, it is taking them away from your Instagram page or your Instagram stories. So use it very wisely. Um, use it very strategically because you want to make sure that you’re not posting a link. And, um, then you’re posting five stories after that link that are really valuable stories, because then they’re clicking that link and they’re moving away from your stories. So you want to make sure that you have a very strategic plan. The other thing is, if every story you post has a link in it, people are going to become desensitized to it and they’re not going to want to click that link anymore. So my best practice is that if you’re going to post a link, you need to post a minimum of two to three stories before you share the link, explaining and talking about what it is you’re about to share. And then on that final story, you can share the link, but you have to give people some context. You have to give them a little bit of a build up instead of just throwing up a random link and helping people will click on it.

Update #4: Add Yours Stickers

Now, update number four is also a story sticker. It’s called the Add Your Sticker. And this may be something that you have seen in stories. You maybe saw it in your stickers, but you didn’t really know what it was, so you just kind of left it alone. So let me give you an example of what the ad or sticker is. And you may have seen this going around Instagram, but it will be someone will post a picture of their dog and they’ll add the Add Your Sticker and they’ll say, Share the last photo you have of your pet. And then other people can click on it and share to their stories a picture of their pet with the Add Your Sticker that you have started. And it kind of creates this chain of people adding their photos. So when you click on the sticker inside of someone’s stories, it’s going to show you everybody’s account that has added their photo to it. So the great thing about the add your sticker is it’s a really fun way to kind of see other accounts, to get seen by other accounts. And if you’re, um, the one who starts it or you’re the one who’s early to the sticker, then you can get some really great exposure. Plus, it’s just something fun. I think a lot of times on Instagram, we’re so focused on the business side of it, especially obviously, if you’re using it for business, that we forget that it should still be fun. And it’s a fun way to engage with other accounts. It’s a fun way to post something that’s maybe not necessarily business related. Or you could do like show me behind the scenes of your workspace or show me the last, uh, back of your camera photo. You took it as a photo shoot. If you’re a photographer, there’s, um, lots of things you can do kind of for your niche or your industry, but it can also just be a way to connect with people who maybe have something in common with you.

Update #5: New Feed Options

All right, so I saved maybe the best for the last or maybe the worst for last. I’m not sure how you want to look at this one, but it is the thing that has been all over Instagram for the last couple of weeks, and that is the new Instagram feed options. So I have some thoughts on this. But first, let me explain what the new feed options are. So in Instagram, when you log into your Instagram account, you have your home feed, so that’s where you’re able to see other people’s content. You’re scrolling through content of people that you follow. But the algorithm is also working its magic behind the scenes, and it is pushing content to your feed that it thinks you’re going to want to see.

So, for example, on my feed, I follow a lot of people who are kind of experts in the business and marketing world. And so my feed is full of business, uh, and marketing content. So Instagram knows that that is content I’m interested in. It’s going to show me content from accounts that it thinks that I will find enjoyable. Now, it also knows which accounts I engage with the most, and so it shows me their content above everybody else’s. So if I have someone that I follow that I haven’t really engaged with their content in two years, or maybe they’re not posting a lot of content, I’m not going to see that person’s content. And so I think this is where a lot of people get frustrated with the algorithm as they’re thinking, well, the algorithm is not showing my content to people.

But here’s the reality uh, behind it, guys. The algorithm is not out to get us. It’s not. It’s just not out to get us. It’s not how it’s designed. The algorithm is designed to make your experience as best as possible. It is designed to know and understand what you want before you even know you want it. So it is looking at all these data points, every story that you watch, every real that you like, every post that you comment on, everything you do is calculated. And so when Instagram, when you open up your Instagram feed, on that home feed, it is showing you a summary, essentially, of your own actions. So as a user, it’s hard to get mad at the algorithm, because in a way, we control the algorithm. If I were to go onto my Instagram right now and start spending the next five days only engaging with content that has to do with dogs, my algorithm is going to change, and I’m going to start to see content on my feed that has to do with dogs. So as a user, if you’re not seeing content that you want on your home feed, then take a look at what content you are engaging with. What are you telling the algorithm? Um, about yourself now, as a creator, as someone who is putting out content again, I hear people say all the time, the algorithm hates me. It’s against me. It’s not showing my content to anybody.

But here’s the thing, guys. You have to create content that people want to engage with so that they engage with it. And now it’s part of their algorithm. Do you see how it’s all kind of the cyclical thing. So when someone says the algorithm is against me, it kind of triggers a little bit of something inside me, because it’s not the algorithm, it’s your content. If you don’t have content that people want to engage with and are continually engaged with, or you’re not putting out enough content for people to engage with, then their algorithm isn’t going to know you exist. And that’s why you’re not getting seen. So I know it’s a little dose of harsh reality there, and I threw that in there with my feed update, but it’s just one of those things that kind of irks me. And I can’t stand when people say, like, oh, it’s the algorithm. It’s the algorithm. It’s not the algorithm.

We control the algorithm with our actions. The algorithm is just reflecting back to us what we have already told that we like or want. If you’re not creating content that people like or want, then, yeah, they’re not going to be showing your content. That’s just how it works. So let’s talk about the other two feed options. Now, when you log in to Instagram, the default feed is always going to be that home feed. Okay? So people are going to log in, they’re going to automatically see the home feed. I predict most people are going to continue to use the home feed and just scroll through as they normally would. It’s also the only feed that shows you Instagram stories. Now, if you choose to select one of the other two feeds, which are two chronological feeds, so you have favorites and you have following. So let’s talk about following. First. If someone were to select the following feed, what they would have to do is they have to log in to Instagram, they have to click on the little Instagram title and it will show a drop down that shows following and favorites. And they would choose which one they want to scroll through. If they choose following, it’s going to give them a home feed, essentially of everyone they, um, follow in chronological order of who posted the last. So here’s the thing with the following list. This is the one I see people probably using second most to the home feed because there’s a lot of people who have obviously said they want this. That’s why Instagram has done this. But in order to see who you’re following, it’s only going to show you that it will still show a mix of every type of content. So whether it’s a real estate post, a carousel, but it will be done based on the order which people have posted. Now, here’s the problem I see with the following feed and also sort of the favorites feed. People have said for years, um, bring back the chronological feed. This is what we want. But I question how much we really want that, because what happens when you post your content at 09:30 a.m. But your audience isn’t on the Internet isn’t on Instagram until 200 in the afternoon. Your content is so far down their chronological list that they’re never going to see it. And that means they’re going to engage even less with your content. So that means you have to be posting more content to get seen. So those people that are using that following feed, which that’s fine, go use the following feed. It just means you have to really know your audience. You have to know when they’re spending time on the app, when is the optimal time to post and you have to be posting multiple times a day. So that’s going to be a little bit of a challenge. And I honestly think that as much as people think they want the following feed, they’re going to end up going back to the home feed because they’re missing out on people’s content. Um, so I’m going to use Katie as an example again.

So if I’m following Katie and I go to my following feed and she doesn’t post until 04:00 in the afternoon, but I’m on my feed, on my app at 03:00, I don’t see her content. So I assume she hasn’t posted today. I log off the app, I don’t check, uh, it again for a couple of hours. So my kids are in bed. By that time, her content is way down the list because it’s already been several hours later, I’m never going to see her content. I’m going to engage less with her content. And now the algorithm now thinks that I no longer want to engage with her content. However, had I been on my home feed, where the algorithm knows that Katie is someone that I like to engage with, someone that I engage with all of her content, it doesn’t matter what time she posts, I’m going to see her content on my feed. So that’s where all these people who have said, and maybe you’re one of the ones who have said it, they’ve said the algorithm is bad. Give us chronological order. I think they’re going to realize pretty quickly that they really don’t want chronological order. Or maybe they do for a short period of time, but they want to go back to that home feed pretty often as well. So the third feed option is Favorites. And what Favorites does is kind of like, I gave the example before. It’s like the MySpace top eight. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably too young to be here. But that’s fine. So it’s you telling Instagram these are the 50 up to 50, uh, accounts that I want to see content from the most. So I would go into again with Katie. She’s someone I want to see content from. I’m going to add her to my Favorites list. That means I have to manually go into her page, her Instagram account. I’m going to click on the following button. It’s going to give me a list, and it’s going to say Add to Favorites. I select that. It puts a little star on her feed for me. So when I click on my Favorites list, I will now see her content again in chronological order. But because it’s limited to no more than 50 accounts, there’s a greater chance of me seeing her content. So this could be a great feed for someone who’s like, hey, the algorithm feed is fine, but sometimes I just want to see the content from these certain people. Maybe it’s your family, your best friends, people you’re in a networking group with, um, your clients, whatever. You can go and add them to your Favorites list. It doesn’t tell them that they’ve been added to the Favorites list. It’s kind of like the close friends list within Instagram as well. It doesn’t tell them that they’re on that list and you can add them or move them at any time. But it is a great way to kind of filter down who you’re seeing content from. So, as a creator on Instagram, two things I would recommend encouraging your audience to do. One is to ask them to add you to their Favorites list.

Again, if you’re not creating content that they want to continually engage with, they’re not going to do this. No matter what just because they’re following you doesn’t mean that they are actively engaged with your content. So you have to be consistently putting out good content. And then if you say, hey, add me to your favorites list, there’s a pretty good chance they will add you to their favorites list because they want to see your content. The second thing you can do is if someone is following you and they go to your Instagram page next to your name, there will be a little Bell icon. Tell them to click on that Bell and turn on notifications for your account so this will notify them. Anytime that you create a story, a post or a real, you can say hey, if you want to be notified each time I post to my stories so you can stay up to date, keep in touch. Find out what’s going on behind the scenes. Turn on your notifications for stories. Same thing with Post and Reels, so that’s going to also help to get you kind of front of mind so that you don’t get lost in the chronological fees or the speed at which content moves on Instagram. So to wrap up that last little update, I will say again, there are a lot of people right now on Instagram and across the Internet who are kind of freaking out about this whole feed change. And what does it mean for my posting strategy and what does it mean for this and what does it mean for that?

My two cent on that is one I truly believe and I may be proven wrong here, but I truly believe that 90% of people on Instagram are going to continue to use the home feed. That algorithm feed for two reasons. One, it’s just easier when you log in that’s the feed that you get. You have to manually switch to another feed every single time you can’t go into your settings and manually change it for good. You’re going to log into that home feed and then choose to go to favors or following. I think people are not always going to take that extra step to choose a list to go see, at least not for the full time that they’re scrolling. The second thing is things take time. Right now, people are kind of panicking and freaking out going, what does this mean? What’s it going to change? How is it going to affect me? We don’t know the answers to those things yet, so there’s a lot of people on Instagram going, here’s what you need to do in order to make sure your content gets seen and make sure that you aren’t getting lost in the chronological feed. That’s fine. But sometimes it’s okay to just kind of let the dust settle and see where things land. I put out a poll on my Instagram stories recently, and I asked, which feed do you think that you’ll use the most? The majority of people still said the home feed. So I personally am not going to let it stress me out. I’m not going to make a ton of changes to how I do my content until I get a little bit more information on how this is impacting accounts or how people are actually engaging in using these different feeds. So if you’re someone who’s like, I don’t know what to think about this. Just let the dust settle a little bit and see where it lands.

BONUS Update: Subscriptions Coming Soon!

All right? Now, at the beginning of episode, I told you that I was going to share one bonus update with you. So here it is. Right now, Instagram is beta testing with multiple accounts, a new update called Subscriptions. Now what this is it is a way kind of like Patreon, if you’re familiar with Patreon, where you can pay for different subscriptions to get exclusive content from people, but they’re taking that concept and putting it directly into Instagram. So they are going to have a way for your followers to choose to pay to subscribe to exclusive content from you. Now, I don’t have access to this yet. I’m not 100% sure sort of how it all looks just yet or how it all works. But my basic understanding of it is that if you’re following me on Instagram and I say, hey, for a dollar a month, you can subscribe to that exclusive content where every week I’m going to do exclusive lives and trainings and I’m going to put out different reals or content just for you, then people will can pay the one dollars a month through the app and they will then be able to kind of see the content that not everybody else can see on your account. Again, I don’t have the specifics of how this will look exactly or how it’s going to be completely rolled out. Like with all other features and new updates, Instagram rolls them out kind of slowly to test them and see how things go. So if it’s not something you see for a while or hear about, don’t worry about it. But I do think this could be a really cool feature. I know that Patreon and things like that have been really successful, especially with creator accounts, podcasts, things like that. And it could be a really fun way to kind of monetize your Instagram account. So if you’re wondering why I shared this with you when it’s not widely available yet, it’s because I want you to start thinking about what are some ways you might be able to use this feature in the future. What can you do within your business that you could offer as an upgrade? Content, subscription? What are some things that you could do that might make people want to pay to have access to exclusive content from you? So I just wanted to kind of get the wheels spinning. I wanted you to start thinking about how you could be using this in your business if and when this feature becomes available. All right guys, so that is going to conclude our conversation this week on Instagram updates. Like I said at the beginning of the episode, these updates are coming out fast. There’s a lot of them. Please don’t let it overwhelm. You just focus on the ones that are going to help move your business forward. Now get comfortable with those and then move on to the next ones. Do not feel like you have to implement all of these at one time. I just wanted to share them with you so that you could kind of cherry pick the ones that you feel like are going to be best for you.

And if we’re not already friends on Instagram, please make sure you go follow me at Girl Means Business.

Send me a DM let me know what you thought of this episode. If you have questions about any of these updates or other ones that you’re using on Instagram or seeing on Instagram, please feel free to reach out. My DMs are always open and I’m more than happy to share my thoughts, give advice, feedback or just have a conversation with you. So come send me a DM and say Hi tell me you heard me here on the podcast. All right guys, have a great week. I will see you back here next week. Mhm thank you so much for joining us today.

EP 157: The Latest Instagram Updates