Marketing on Instagram can be quite effective if you are doing it correctly. But with the constant updates and the changing trends, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest strategies used by marketers on this social media platform.
Luckily, a lot of the trends are actually extensions of previous ones, so they have been around for a year or longer. Others are relatively new.
Without further ado, here are the Instagram marketing trends you can add to your strategy in 2023.
#1 “Add Yours”
In 2021, Instagram introduced a feature called “Add Yours”. This feature lets users create their own Instagram Stories based on someone else’s Story. Essentially, it is the perfect feature for making your Instagram Stories more interactive or interacting with others’ Stories.
Here’s how you can post one yourself:
- Open Instagram Stories and take a photo or select one from your gallery.
- Open the Stickers feature (looks like a square smiley face).
- Choose the sticker that says “Add Yours” and name the prompt.
- Post your Story and wait for users to add their own Stories.
And how you can participate in someone else’s “Add Yours” Story:
- Find someone’s Story that has an “Add Yours” sticker.
- Tap the sticker and check who started the chain of Stories.
- Choose “Add Yours” to add your own Story or go to the page of the user who started the chain and then choose “Add Yours” from the original Story.
- Add your Story based on the prompt and join the chain that way.
#2 Reel Response
Another feature introduced in 2021 is the ability to respond to comments with Reels. To put it simply, when you post a Reel, users can leave comments under it. Then, you can reply to the comments with more Reels. When you do this, the comment you are replying to with a new Reel will show up on that Reel in the form of a sticker. It is similar to the feature TikTok has where users can reply to comments under their videos with new videos.
Just like the “Add Yours” feature, the Reel response feature is another option for interacting with your audience in a new way. Both features have been around for about a year now, so they will likely become even more widely used in 2023. Therefore, if you aren’t using them already, you should definitely consider using them going forward. They could be particularly helpful for increasing engagement and building a stronger connection with your audience.
#3 Live Rooms
Instagram Lives are not new – they have been around for years. But while Instagram used to allow only one or two users to host a single Live together, now you can use the Live Room feature where up to four people can be hosting a Live together. This provides you with endless opportunities when it comes to hosting webinars and lectures, organizing online events with partners, and interacting with your audience in a new way.
By hosting a Live with several other people, you can reach a much wider audience than you would when hosting the Live on your own or just with another user. In other words, all the followers of all the Live hosts will be informed about the Live which means there will already be more people watching it. Moreover, the followers of your partners who host the Live with you might become your own followers.
Unlike other major social media platforms, Instagram doesn’t offer users the ability to include links in post captions unless you are using a tag that links to another user’s profile. That being said, Instagram still provides a number of ways to use links and is regularly adding new features that provide more options for linking. Instagram’s linking features include:
- Link in Bio – The link you can include in your bio. You can also use tags and hashtags in your bio that are adjacent to the way links work.
- Link in Stories – You can include links in your Stories by using a sticker specifically designed for links.
- Shoppable Posts – If you are selling something on Instagram, you can create Shoppable Posts where you can add links to the pages of the products featured in the posts.
- Full Link in Caption – While you can’t include a linked piece of text in your captions, you can still use full links that will appear in the same way as the text in the caption. If you have a short link that’s easy to remember, this could be an option.
#5 IGTV vs TV
IGTV is one of Instagram’s most interesting features because it allows users to upload long videos. When it was launched, many people considered it a way for Instagram to compete with YouTube because now users could upload both short and long videos to the platform. However, it seems that IGTV could be competing both with YouTube and with regular TV because it is being used by creators that target different age groups.
Younger generations don’t watch TV as much as older generations. But because different TV programs (e.g. news coverage) can now be accessed both on YouTube and on Instagram’s IGTV, older generations could eventually start using online resources more often than broadcast TV. It’s obvious that IGTV will only continue growing in popularity, so creators from different niches are already taking advantage of it.
#6 One Offer
While many content creators, marketers, and businesses use Instagram to offer a variety of products or services to their audiences, some prefer to have a single offer. By focusing on one offer instead of several, you can amplify the effect of all your actions on your target audience. Put in a different way, you will be directing the attention of your potential customers to one product and trying to persuade them to purchase this specific product.
It goes without saying that this trend is quite similar to the one where sellers use a single landing page to sell a single product or service instead of having multiple offers on a full-fledged website. You can have an Instagram profile entirely dedicated to promoting and selling only one product. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to use Instagram this way, but it is an option for business owners, marketers, and content creators who are getting started.
#7 Customer Service
Social media platforms have become popular channels of communication between brands and their audiences. This is why Instagram, much like other platforms, is being used to deliver customer service and support. You can not only communicate with potential customers but also handle the problems of your current customers.
The easiest way to provide customer service on Instagram is through direct messages or DMs. However, you can also use user-generated content and the comment sections under your own posts to find the users who are your customers in need of support.
For example, someone could make a post describing their experience with your brand and complaining about something (e.g. product quality, delivery, etc.) Find such posts and get in touch with your customers to solve their problems and handle the situation instead of ignoring it. It’s the perfect way for you to show that you care about your customers and want to deliver the best experience and products or services to them.
#8 Content Is a Priority
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Content is king!” That phrase is still very popular today and is definitely true for a variety of reasons:
- Content lies at the foundation of Instagram – when you create content, you establish yourself on the platform.
- Content helps creators and businesses achieve a variety of goals such as getting more exposure, raising brand awareness, increasing engagement, growing the follower count, and so on.
- Content allows you to shape your brand image in a way that you want it to appear while also establishing yourself as a leader and an authority in your niche.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about content is that quantity never beats quality. If you regularly create and publish a lot of low-quality content, you will see worse results than those of high-quality content that is limited in quantity. Always aim to maintain the quality standards you set for your content from the start and try to improve your content quality over time.
#9 Bite-Sized Content
Adding to the previous point, there is a trend for bite-sized content over long-form content. It isn’t a new trend, and its emergence has been criticized for making audiences used to smaller pieces of more stimulating content. On the other hand, it doesn’t look like this trend is going to disappear in the nearest future – social media users enjoy seeing bite-sized content because it requires less time and effort to consume.
Instagram has quite a few features that let users post both longer and shorter content. The focus is still on bite-sized content: maximum of 10 photos and videos per post, 2200 characters per post caption, 15 seconds for videos in Stories, and so on. On the other hand, you can also post longer videos by using the IGTV feature and you can also post up to 100 Stories in a span of 24 hours.
#10 Social Commerce
Social commerce is exactly what it sounds like – it’s e-commerce done on social media platforms. Many social media platforms today have introduced social commerce features, and Instagram is no different. Here are just some examples of these:
- Shoppable Posts – As explained earlier, these are regular posts where you can add links directly to the pages of the products featured in the posts.
- Shoppable Stories – They work the same way as Shoppable Posts but with Stories. Alternatively, you can use Product Stickers on your Stories.
- Shoppable IGTV and Reels – Both of these work like Shoppable Stories.
- Instagram Shopping – There is a separate tab dedicated specifically to shopping where your Instagram store and its products will appear after you set up everything.
You can also use different advertising options provided by Instagram to launch campaigns and promote your products. You can use Sponsored Posts and Stories for native ad campaigns and even combine these with influencer marketing for a greater impact.
#11 UGC Popularity
User-generated content or UGC has been popular since its inception, but it is becoming even more prominent in the marketing campaigns of brands both big and small. There are several reasons why UGC is so popular both among creators and consumers:
- UGC requires less time and resources to create because you aren’t actually the one creating it. All you need to do is find UGC, get permission from the original creator, and share it on your own page.
- UGC provides an opportunity to interact with your audience. You are getting feedback about what your audience likes while also engaging with their content and building a stronger relationship with your current and potential customers.
- UGC shows customers that they are acknowledged and that their voices are valued. When customers complain about their experiences on social media, brands pay attention and handle their problems. And when you repost someone’s content, you are bringing more attention to it and making the creator happier.
You don’t need to rely entirely on UGC for your campaigns, but you do need to use it at least occasionally for the reasons listed above.
#12 Supporting Causes
Relatively recently Instagram introduced a feature that lets users create fundraisers and raise money for good causes. The introduction of this feature has led to the spread of cause-related marketing, a type of marketing that is aimed at promoting a specific cause and raising money for it (or achieving other goals like collecting signatures for a petition). This kind of cause-related marketing is even being used by brands that usually sell products or services.
Fundraisers can be created both for big causes and for personal ones. Likewise, brands have used cause-related marketing to raise funds for supporting a cause the brand supports. It doesn’t look like it benefits the brand itself because the money is spent on the cause, but it actually improves the reputation of the brand by showing that the company is ready to support worthy causes.
#13 Intentional Hashtags
Hashtags have been discussed for years, so there is not much to add when it comes to using them effectively. Yet, there is a tendency in hashtag usage that shows that they are used more intentionally nowadays. Rather than using as many relevant hashtags as possible, brands try to use a smaller number of carefully-selected hashtags.
When selecting the right hashtags to use in your posts, Stories, and bio, consider a variety of factors. Ask questions such as:
- Which types of hashtags are appropriate for this piece of content (e.g. general, industry-specific, topic-specific, trending, branded)?
- Which goals should the hashtags help you achieve (e.g. participate in a challenge, comment on the latest news)?
- How many hashtags do you want to use in this piece of content? Are you using any tags (for users and locations)?
Before using a specific hashtag, check how many posts are already tagged with it and how often new posts with this hashtag are published. In addition to that, check which other tags are used in the posts that use this specific hashtag.
#14 Approachable Influencers
Influencer marketing goes hand in hand with social media marketing because most influencers today are the ones active on one or several social media platforms. Brands are particularly eager to work with influencers because of their ability to have a bigger impact on their audience thanks to being humans rather than companies. Influencers’ audiences trust what they say which brands value a lot.
But even if there are different types of influencers (e.g. luxury vs affordable/casual), the trend seems to be moving towards approachable influencers. Those with smaller but very engaged audiences are partnering with brands more than before because companies have realized that micro-influencers could be just as good for marketing as macro-influencers. Micro-influencers are usually more approachable and seem like “regular” people – more like friends than celebrities or public figures.
#15 Longer Stories
Last year, Instagram was testing longer Stories that were 60 seconds long instead of the usual 15 seconds. It isn’t certain whether Instagram will decide to introduce longer Stories, but this possibility still exists. If longer Stories are introduced, they could change the way Stories are used as a whole.
Right now, posting a long video as a Story means it will be broken down into 15-second parts which could make the viewing experience worse (particularly for users with poor connection). But if longer Stories are introduced, users will be able to post longer videos as Stories without Instagram breaking them up into parts. It’s not that big of a difference, but it could still influence user experiences.
#16 Brand Memes
Just like working with influencers helps brands become closer with their audiences, using memes allows companies to seem more relatable. Younger generations are particularly skeptical about anything corporate-related which is why when brands started using memes, everyone was finding it hilarious and cool. As more brands started using memes, people realized that a lot of companies don’t actually know how to be funny and just seem awkward and ingenuine instead.
That being said, brand memes are not going anywhere. In fact, they seem to be evolving with brands adapting memes to their own brand identities instead of simply following the trends. By being self-aware and even sometimes getting to the meta-level, brands can make their memes truly funny and can attract even the most skeptical customers.
There is no way of saying what works and what doesn’t because humor can be highly subjective, but you can get a general idea of what brand memes are like by looking at big brands that have excelled at using them. Some brands go a step further and form their brand identity in a way that is meme-able in and of itself (e.g. Wendy’s Twitter account).
#17 Aesthetic Feeds
Because Instagram is such a visual-focused social media platform, it is natural for content creators and businesses to be prioritizing visual content over any other type. As a result, most brands try to have visually attractive or “aesthetic” feeds that are harder to maintain. These feeds have content that is edited in the same way according to a visual guide that is in line with the visual branding of a specific company.
The advantage of such feeds is that they look good, so when a user visits your profile page, they will already have a positive impression of it. The disadvantage is that it can be difficult to edit absolutely every post in the same way. It isn’t impossible, but it will take more time and effort on your side.
#18 Doubling Down on AR
Last but not least, Instagram seems to be doubling down on AR in part because of the overall trend for Augmented Reality and in part because it is constantly upgrading and introducing new features. The most popular uses of AR on Instagram are in the Stories feature. You can use different filters and even create your own for others to use (the latter being an interesting marketing tactic).
Instagram has been developing an AR Shopping feature that could be eventually introduced as one of the social commerce features on the platform. A select few brands were given access to this feature, but it still seems to be in beta. In the future, Instagram could introduce its AR Shopping feature and maybe even a feature for launching AR ad campaigns that could make advertising and selling on Instagram more interactive than ever before.
All in all, knowing these Instagram marketing trends will help you design a more effective strategy and launch successful campaigns on this social media platform. You don’t need to use all of them at once, but you should definitely understand how they work and apply this knowledge to your own Instagram marketing plans.