Instagram Removes Shop Button – Prioritizes UGC

Per Instagram, “Starting in February, we are changing Instagram’s navigation to make it easier for people to share and connect with their friends and interests.”

Instagram will remove the ‘Shop tab’ that is prominently featured in the bottom nav of the app. This feels counterintuitive to the goodwill the platform has created with brands – who are already having to pay more and try harder to get in front of customers. But as we discussed in our blog about ‘Creator Funds‘, organic content is the foundation of TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and all social platforms. In order to stay the most relevant, they need to continue to entice creators to post more content.

What does this mean for brands?

We cannot stress enough how this continues to change the effectiveness of your social media ads. Platforms keep taking money while continuously changing brands’ ability to reach their target audiences. This most recent Instagram nav change is another data point in the importance of shifting marketing strategies to user-generated content or UGC. If your brand is advertising with or leveraging social media in any way for customer touchpoints, you have to take control of the content by building out your own brand community to create and build engaging UGC across platforms.

Check out the LoudCrowd resources page to help you get started today.

Notes, the New Text Status Feature in Instagram Messages

Per Instagram, “Notes are short posts of up to 60 characters using just text and emojis. To leave a note, go to the top of your inbox, select the followers you follow back or people on your Close Friends list, and your note will appear at the top of their inbox for 24 hours. Replies to notes will arrive as DMs in your inbox.”

What does this mean for brands?

Anytime Instagram rolls out a new feature, brands have the opportunity to take advantage. We think this new feature is a smart way to promote special events, new products, limited releases, etc.!

From Instagram: “Users can leave notes by going to the top of their inbox, then selecting the followers they follow back (aka mutuals) or others from their existing “Close Friends” list”….so many of the brands on LoudCrowd use ‘Close Friends’ with their brand ambassadors so Notes is now another way to communicate with program members. Easy and effective!

Can your Instagram content be recommended?

This week Instagram added an account status feature “to help people with professional accounts understand if their account’s content is eligible to be recommended to non-followers…”

To check up on what you can do with your account, per Instagram follow these steps:

  • Check if your account’s content can be recommended: See if your content may be eligible to be recommended to non-followers in places like Explore, Reels, and Feed Recommendations.
  • Understand issues: If your account’s content is not eligible to be recommended, you can see a sample of content or components of your profile that may go against our Recommendations Guidelines and any content that has been removed for violating our Community Guidelines.
  • Fix problems: Edit or delete posts that may go against our Recommendations Guidelines. You can also request for our review team to take another look if you think we made a mistake

What does this mean for brands?

It can impact influencers you’ve already paid: it’s crucial to have any social media platform recommend influencer content to ensure the viral reach their content once had. Brands should be reaching out to anyone they have engaged with and see if their account is approved for recommendation on the Instagram site.

For brands, Meta is making it more and more clear that you ‘play by the rules’ (read – pay for advertising) or Instagram won’t have the reach that you need. It’s time to consider strong UGC strategies to ensure maximum reach without breaking budget.

With LoudCrowd, we encourage brands to leverage organic, authentic content from across their customer base, brand community, etc. so when algorithm changes hit the platform, it doesn’t have as much of an impact. Consider leveraging a greater community of creators, who already know and love your brand, to help get your social media ad strategy in a more impactful – and stable – place!

The New Instagram Algorithm For UGC

The new Instagram update prioritizes original content, which is GREAT news for LoudCrowd users! From brand ambassador programs to finding micro and nano-influencers already posting about your brand, you are already ahead of the game!

Regarding repurposed content, HubSpot suggests:
“If your entire feed is made up of re-posted content from your customers, [pay attention to] the ratio of UGC to original content…consider creating original branded content with quotes or short videos from your customers and advocates.”

This makes your brand ambassador programs more important. Make sure you’re reviewing best practices for ambassador programs, including creative suggestions, instagram collaboration and social rewards.

Instagram Updates Timeline Feed Options

Instagram is looking to give users more control over their experience within the app. And whatever the experience, the motivation is to give creators more control over how they can make money through the platform. It’s also Instagram’s answer to the growing popularity of TikTok. In their own words, Instagram is “no longer a photo-sharing app” and they will double down on Reels in the coming year. The new Instagram timeline feed views are as described:

Home: the current way you look at your Instagram feed
Favorites: a new list where you can only see content from your favorites
Following: a throwback to the chronological view of your feed

Whichever feed your target consumer chooses, Instagram is focused more on their revenue gains. What does this mean for brands? It means user-generated content (UGC) is the ONLY way to leverage the social network without paying an exorbitant amount on ads and grow your brand community.

If you haven’t already, check out our UGC measurement free trial to see how much FREE UGC your brand is getting and strategize how to grow revenue and Instagram ambassadors by engaging your customers.

Instagram Stories now in LoudCrowd!

It’s our pleasure to announce another MAJOR feature designed to help you get more UGC: Instagram Stories for Ambassador Programs.

Instagram Stories

With this new feature, you will now be able to capture and SAVE Stories from your brand ambassadors. This will allow you to reward Instagram ambassadors for creating stories and to feature brand ambassadors outside of the 24-hour window.

With great power comes great responsibility, and Facebook is very protective over an individual’s Stories. For someone to be eligible to share stories with the brand, they need to complete a new sign-up process, going through a Facebook Authentication.

For someone to complete this process, they must have a Facebook Business Account connected to their Instagram account.  The sign-up process has been carefully developed to coach someone through how to set that up (if necessary), or allow someone to sign-up for “Feed Only” if they don’t want to do a Facebook Authentication. 

Once someone has signed up for Stories, the platform will display their Stories in each tab, and allow you to easily filter to find Stories. They can be identified by the Stories emblem.

Setting up Stories for your Brand Ambassador Program
Reach out to your Client Strategist to set up Instagram Stories for your Ambassadors!

Instagram analytics, discovery, and social media tool updates

TL;DR Instagram has rolled out an incredible suite of metrics for creators and businesses to leverage in measuring the success of their Instagram accounts.

The limitations: this is the simplest form of Instagram analytics. The measure true success, you’ll need access to how user-generated content is performing.

The coolest metric: peak concurrent viewers. These are your loyal brand fans – and a good place to find brand ambassadors. Reach out and make sure they are also posting and tagging your brand!

Reels metrics: 

  • Plays
  • Accounts reached
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Saves
  • Shares

Live videos metrics:

  • Accounts reached
  • Peak concurrent viewers
  • Comments
  • Shares

Instagram is also rolling out new preset time frame options to let creators and businesses view beyond 7 or 30 day periods.

Need more? Instagram just posted an in-depth look at how they rank feeds, stories, reels, and explore (product discovery). Read more: Shedding More Light on How Instagram Works

Instagram Adds Native, In-App Affiliate Tool

June 2021– New Ways for Creators to Make a Living

TL;DR Instagram introduces new features to make it easier for Instagram creators to sell to customers and better attribute purchases.

The limitations: by putting the affiliate tools in the hands of the influencer, brands may have less control (READ: no direct control) over who endorses their product. Not many details on approvals yet.

From Instagram: “When people come across an affiliate post from a creator featuring a tagged product, they will see “eligible for commission” at the top of the post, so it’s clear that their purchases help support that creator.”

Adding this concept to your marketing strategy? Read: Instagram as a Product Discovery Tool

Full Instagram announcement here.

Ready to get started?

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