Instagram has released a couple of business tools for Instagram to help make your connections easier and smoother. In an April post, Facebook revealed it is switching gears to prioritize businesses in the next 5 years.
They will do this by providing tools to connect consumers and businesses as well as encourage conversion.
Already, Instagram has released a couple of new business tools in the last 9 months (including the ability to create business profiles, Shoppable Posts, and use analytics with Insights)—more than it has in the in the past two years.
So, what are these Instagram business tools and what can you do with them to impact your bottomline upwards?
Updated Instagram Direct Messages for Business
Since the second week of May 2018, the social media platform has let businesses receive new customer messages in their Direct Messages inbox (DM). As a business, you can now receive customer DMs in your main Direct inbox.
Before this update, new customer messages had to wait in pending status till the business they were contacting approved them. Since businesses do not follow customers, it has meant new customers’ messages dump in the pending folder without as much as alerting the business of the new message.
That meant a prospect had to wait for you to follow back before you two could make a connection and provide value to them.
Now, your prospects will have the opportunity to go beyond commenting on your posts or sending you an email to engaging you directly via Instagram Direct—like they would on Facebook’s Messenger app.
You will no longer need to scroll down your posts’ comments to get an important query from an interested Instagrammer you can turn into a buying customer.
Star and Filter Conversations
Instagram businesses can also use new Instagram Direct starring and filter tools to help manage their Direct messages inbox.
You can star conversations so you can follow up on them later on.
And you can use new filters to find and retrieve DMs from your Direct inbox. With the filter tool at your disposal, you can now manage your DMs like you would emails in an email app like Gmail—which is probably what IG was aiming for.
According to IG, messages from customers who do not follow you will now be appearing at the top of your Direct messages inbox.
Instagram Quick Replies for Business
Instagram also stated it was already testing quick reply messages so it can roll them out in the coming weeks.
According to Instagram’s director of monetization product marketing, Susan Buckner Rose, the platform is looking to bolster faster, uninterrupted communication between customers and businesses.
Since customers expect businesses to reply fast, using quick replies will help you satisfy this need by providing quick solutions on auto-pilot.
For example, you’ll be able to provide a business number, map for directions, and so on as quick replies.
New Action Buttons
Instagram is also working with over a dozen companies to help Instagram business owners to use action buttons to encourage a brand’s followers and other Instagram users take seamless action right on a post.
This feature is different from what Instagram Shoppable Posts do but are pretty similar in execution.
Working with the likes of Yelp Reservations, OpenTable, Booksy and MyTime, Instagram is letting your customers “Book Now”, “Reserve”, “Get Tickets”, and “Order” directly within the IG app.
So now your Instagram customers will have less friction in reaching and buying from you.
Instagram TV (IGTV)
Ever wanted to create engaging marketing videos that are longer than a minute? But could not because Instagram has limited video content to a maximum time of one minute?
Well, now you can with IGTV.
You can now create a series-style video to market your goods on Instagram. The 60-second limit has ramped up to 60 minutes.
That also means you can create a single, long-form video to market your business via both Instagram and YouTube, making it easy to be consistent and cost-effective with your video marketing across the board.
With these new Instagram business tools, all Instagram business account owners could benefit from using the communications tools to impact their bottomline—from freelancers and solopreneurs to SMBs and larger enterprises.