A lot has happened on Instagram since we wrote our Instagram trends article for 2020 – Many new features have been added and certain cultural shifts have happened which have shaped the way people use the platform. There are now 2.1 million Instagram users in Ireland, and the app remains hugely popular among the younger generations, with 91% of Irish people aged 16-24 owning and Instagram account. If you are aiming your product or service at a younger demographic, Instagram is definitely the platform to be on top of for you. In this Marla Academy article, we highlight our Top 5 Instagram trends to keep in mind for your digital marketing strategy in 2021. We hope you find it food for thought, and make sure to check out some of our other free social media resources such as the one below.
Top 5 Instagram Trends
- Carousel Posts
2020 saw a slew of new features added to the platform, but none have taken Instagram by storm quite like Reels. If you haven’t heard of Reels yet, these are videos between 15 to 30 seconds long (longer than a Story but shorter than an IGTV) posted through the Stories tab of the Instagram App. These short-form videos can be uploaded from your device or shot and edited through the app, with the option of adding effects, transitions, dubs and music, similar to TikTok. These can then be shared to both your Stories or as a post your profile so they have the chance of appearing in someone’s Discover feed. While Instagram has not released any official figures on Reels, it’s clear they are trying to push this new feature aggressively, so if you haven’t tried making a Reel yet, now is a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of this to boost the reach of your business profile or potentially go viral.
Check out our recent Reels below to get a flavour of the kind of effects you can use – don’t be afraid to experiment!
If your business is e-commerce and you are not using the Shopping feature of Instagram already, you are missing out big time! After linking an Instagram Shopping approved online store, this feature enables you to tag the products shown in your photos. Shoppers can then click on and carry out their purchase within the app, saving the user having to search for your website and potentially drop off the sales funnel in the process. The Pandemic in particular accelerated an already increasing number of people shopping online and considering 70% of people use Instagram as inspiration for what to buy, setting up the Shopping feature makes it easy for users to purchase your products without even having to leave the app.
Looking for some more tips to boost your e-commerce sales? You might find the following resources helpful:
Stories have been around for a number of years on Instagram at this point but they still remain the undefeated champion of the platform! A recent survey from Hubspot concluded that Stories still remain the most popular format for Instagram users, with 43% of users claiming stories are the type of video they watch most often on the platform. Many users are rarely checking their feeds at all anymore and primarily use the app to cycle through story updates of people and brands they follow.
Stories can be a wonderful way of humanising your brand by giving your followers a “behind-the-scenes” look and adding interactive stickers to your stories can make them highly engaging. Some simple examples of how your business could make the most of stories include:
- Answer your followers’ burning questions with a Q&A session
- Get your followers talking with an interactive poll or quiz
- Create a countdown to a big announcement or reveal
- Add some humour with animated gifs and emojis
4. Carousel Posts
Carousel posts are nothing new to Instagram but they became a huge content trend once again in 2020. These kinds of posts are created as you would any other post on your profile, but consist of anywhere between two to ten images which the viewer can swipe through. Particularly in the past year, carousel posts have become extremely popular for educational content with topics ranging anywhere from health information to social justice infographics to “Top Tips” style posts.
There are many applications out there that can help you develop your carousel graphics such as Canva and Piktochart, and you can find templates to help you achieve a uniform look to your carousels that are a joy to scroll through.
Looking for some design inspiration for your carousel graphics? Check out this article by our Creative Director Lee Grace:
Don’t forget that Instagram is a social platform. Instagram is rewarding engagement big time within its algorithm, not only in terms of the amount of likes and comments you receive but also taking into consideration your interactions with other users.
At the very least you should be liking and replying to comments on your posts and engaging with users who tag your brand. Better still, why not make use of User Generated Content by sharing images your brand is tagged in to your stories and feed. Users love getting a shout-out from their favourite brands and this also creates great advocacy for your products and services from real people, in an era when people are fatigued with influencer culture. It also saves you time developing content for Instagram – what’s not to love!?
How will your business make the most of Instagram in 2021?
With Instagram’s ever growing audience and new features added and updated regularly, it’s safe to say Instagram isn’t going away anytime soon. Sometimes keeping up with all the new Instagram trends and tools can be challenging but it is well worth it if you find your target market uses the platform. If you would like to take your Instagram game to the next level in 2021, feel free to get in touch with us by phone or email and we would be happy to help.