Instagram Checkout Feature is Here

Instagram’s long awaited Checkout feature is finally here. Checkout will allow for quick and secure in-app purchases of material items through select retailers. Coming after multiple updates to the app that geared its users towards shopping, Instagram is finally ready to take the leap into commerce.

This is a graphic that reads Checkout: Buy from brands without leaving Instagram
Checkout on Instagram

The Power of Influencers

In Instagram’s announcement of the new feature, they noted that users have always loved to shop in the app. With the rise in popularity of the Instagram influencer, Instagram has made the app even more shopper friendly. Until now, only the Influencers and the brands that partner with them to promote their products benefitted from user purchases. With Checkout, Instagram will finally get a cut of these deals. This will occur through the fee charged to the retailers that use the feature.

Updates to the app inspired by the growing Influencer presence on the platform include product tags in Feed, product stickers in Stories and a shopping destination in Explore. The Instagram Checkout feature marks a new era of online shopping.

What’s Next for Instagram?

The future of Instagram will be shaped by this new feature. As technology and social media platforms continue to converge, we may see Instagram following suit with Amazon or Apple. From offering a click-to-purchase feature to your very own Instagram credit card, the possibilities are endless.

Instagram’s evolution as an app since its launch in 2010 in the way that it is used and the business that it supports has given way to a growing industry of entrepreneurs. While some may wonder if the new Checkout feature is a way to cut out the middle man, but that’s not the case. The new feature will leverage the loyal users relationships with Influencers. This will draw more engagement and increase the breadth of services on the app.

Next-Gen Tokens on Social Media

Cryptocurrency and Social Media have a long-standing relationship. Now, a new wave of crypto tokens are sweeping social media. After seeing a decline in the buzz around Bitcoin in 2017, a new technology is on the rise. You may have seen talk of next-gen tokens on various platforms. While similar to traditional cryptocurrencies, they are not the same. So, what exactly are those things?

This is a photo of the popular social media apps that could be using next-gen tokens next: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Cryptocurrency could disrupt the social media industry in a big way.

What are next-gen tokens?

Next-gen tokens are a reinvention of traditional cryptocurrencies. Focused on using engagement and functionality to attract investor confidence, these tokens aim to steer away from the negative connotations of currencies like Bitcoin and Ripple. Now, there are even some new tokens backed with real assets. These were born out of the hope create a more stable online trading environment. 

How do they work?

New social media platforms are popping up that actually rely on these tokens as part of their infrastructure. They are used to reward users for engagement. This means they can include a financial incentive for the user at no cost to the platform. For example, Sapien Network allows users to reward each other through the decentralized Ethereum blockchain. This is for their contributions to news stories shared with the platform. The mission statement says it all- to reward creators and champion truth over financial gain. 

Why does this matter?

Cryptocurrencies on social media may only exist on obscure platforms, but their popularity is growing. While in its infancy now, this experimental model could become the norm for the most popular social media platforms. With a base of knowledge on next-gen tokens, you’ll be ahead the curve in your professional field. Watch out Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Online currencies could be your future.

The Power of Instagram Stories

Stickers, music and GIFs, oh my! Are you ready to embrace the powerful Instagram Stories tool? Read on for a step-by-step guide on creating beautiful, engaging Stories to expand your reach and interaction with your audience.

Instagram Stories are on the rise.

Producing content for Instagram can feel like a full time job, and Stories are in a league of their own. However, Stories serve a different function than a traditional static post. Over 400 million people use Stories daily. From following along with your favorite brands and influencers to connecting with friends, the Stories feature allows several different types of engagement.

The power of Stories lies with the exclusive, personal experience that connects your organization to its followers. Since the posts you create in this feature are time sensitive, there is a sense of urgency around the content. Use the Questions sticker to gather responses from your audience in real-time, take a Poll and share the results or add music to a Boomerang to engage with your audience. These features allow you to create truly unique content that will only leave your followers wanting more.

There are several different categories your potential Story content will fall into: Tutorials, user generated content, behind-the-scenes and special announcements. You can also use Stories to draw attention to a new static post. Oftentimes, your followers will see the Story before the static post and will redirect their attention to your page to check out the new post. The same rings true with static posts: don’t be afraid to point your followers to your Stories in the caption!

As the popularity of Stories continues to grow, follow these tips to keep your content on par: use a variety of video, Boomerang and static photography, keep your writing clear and concise and incorporate interactive elements whenever possible. Instagram Stories are a great way to have fun with your followers!

3 Ways to Improve Instagram Engagement

A great example of utilizing hashtags.

The 2018 Instagram Engagement Report showed that 81% of businesses use engagement as the #1 metric for success on social media. The risks of paying for likes on Instagram has sent companies searching for more organizations ways to increase interaction and activity on their pages. Read on for three tips on improving engagement on Instagram.

Start a conversation. The best way to interact with followers is to invite them to join the conversation around your organization. Utilize the Stickers available in Stories to ask questions, take polls or start a countdown. These tools allow your followers to share their personal experiences with you and create a more connected audience. The Questions sticker can be used to help your followers get to know your brand better, learn more about your products and feel like a valued part of your community. Use the Poll and Vote stickers as a quick way to gauge interest from your followers as well as a encourage active participation in your content.

The Instagram Questions sticker.

Write longer captions. Part of the Instagram algorithm that affects how often and when your post is seen by followers is the time spent by users viewing the post. Longer, attention grabbing captions can increase the time followers spend viewing your post and may also prompt them to like, comment and share it. Encourage your followers to tag friends in the comments and ask them a specific question to continue to the conversation. Social media is a platform that is designed for engagement, but you must create original, thought provoking content to utilize the fullest capabilities of the tool.

Utilize hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to widen your reach. The Instagram Explore page allows users to discover new relevant content, decided by the algorithm. An important factor in the algorithm is the use of targeted hashtags to categorize content. Instagram Insights even gives you the ability to analyze the effectiveness of your chosen hashtags and shows you how many users discovered your profile through them.

These three tips will help you organically increase your engagement and impression of Instagram content, but the best advice to follow is to remain authentic. Users want to engage with relatable, thought provoking content which will flow best from an open and honest point of view from your organization. Happy posting!

Buying Instagram Likes: Is It Worth The Risk?

Why you shouldn’t buy Instagram likes.

In the world of social media, where businesses often rely on Instagram to promote products, connect with shareholders and build their brand, the number of likes and followers on an organization’s page have become increasingly important. Instagram’s algorithm uses engagement as the most important metric to determine popularity, and as success and credibility increasingly become associated with numbers on Instagram, different apps have emerged that allow users to “buy” likes and followers for their page. These apps work either by selling bulk quantities of likes from fake accounts, or selling you a bot that will like and follow other accounts with the expectation that these accounts will follow you back and like your posts. While these methods may give you higher initial engagement, they pose long-term threats to your branding strategy.

The most “traditional” method of buying likes from fake accounts in bulk quantities allows users to choose how many likes they get on specific posts. While you may think that more likes = better engagement and more popularity on Instagram, these likes are a hollow effort to game Instagram’s system. If your goal is to engage with stakeholders, promote products and build a brand, organically acquired likes are the most valuable Instagram commodity. Buying fake likes runs the risk of alienating your existing followers by appearing as insincere, shady and unethical. A telltale sign of fake likes is a skewed like-to-comment ratio as well as profiles without profile photos or original posts of their own. As Instagram’s user base continues to become savvier, accounts buying fake likes are easy to spot.

Apps like Likegrowers and Instazood sell you a bot that will follow accounts and like posts based on certain hashtags that you feed it. With this bot, you are inadvertently paying for likes on your page due to the expectation that the accounts you like and follow will follow you back and like your posts. The danger with giving a bot control over what your account likes is that it cannot detect what is an inappropriate post to like. For example, certain hashtags could be misconstrued to mean things that do not align with your organization’s values or represent content that could be offensive to your followers. While it can be tempting to take a short cut to grow your Instagram presence, the best thing you can do for you organization is to be authentic and charismatic across all of your social media platforms.