Like the rest of social media, Instagram is always getting updated, and in our opinion, it just keeps getting better. It’s safe to say that 2017 was the year of Instagram Stories; so many people and businesses optimized on it’s capabilities! (If you’re still not sure how to effectively use Instagram Stories, check out our blog post.) Towards the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, Instagram put out a few new updates to stories, and some other features as well. Here are 3 of our favorite recent updates, and one that is being tested right now!

Stories Highlights

Easily one of the biggest complained-about things on Instagram Stories is that they only last for 24 hours. What’s the point in posting if it’s just going to be gone a day later? It seems like Instagram listened to the people on this issue because now, you are able to save your Stories to the Highlights section of your profile.

Instagram Story Highlights

There, you can post either your current or even your past photos/videos from your Story. If you post a series of images and videos in your Highlights, make sure to choose a cover image, and give the series a name. Your story will stay in your Highlights section for as long as you want it to. When you no longer want it there, just delete it. This will be a great place to put images and videos that advertise a sale, a promotion, a new product, or just something exciting that happened to you or your business that you want to show off.

“Stories Highlights will enable more customization and self-expression on profiles than ever before – whether sharing the best moments with your dog, your recent family vacation, or a collection of your silliest selfies.” -Instagram

2. Archived Stories

When your regular Stories disappear after 24 hours, Instagram will automatically archive every one of them, and they’re only for you to see. There is a button above your bio that allows you to switch between your already archived posts and your archived stories. From there, you can add old stories to your highlights, or just reminisce old memories!

3. Following Hashtags

At Tweak, we’re a big fan of hashtags and all that they’re capable of accomplishing. Now, just like following any user on Instagram, you can now follow a hashtag! Follow tags to stay connected in your interests, hobbies, and favorite places. Before this feature, digging through a hashtag to find posts to comment on or repurpose took active work on your part, and now, it no longer does!

Instagram Follow Button

Search any hashtag and click the “follow” button. Once you’ve done that, Instagram’s algorithm will choose photos and videos from the tag, and will then start showing up in places like stories and your feed. The purpose of this update is for users to explore and discover new content. This is great news for businesses and brands, as you will now become more discoverable on Instagram. If you’re a business and want to know what people are saying about your products or service, make sure you follow your hashtag!

4. Regram Button (testing)

This next feature is an exciting one, but it has not been implemented yet. The regram button is currently being tested, and in our opinion, it’s going to be a game changer!

Instagram Regram Button

User-generated content is such an important part of social media marketing, and sharing it and repurposing it is big for a brand’s strategy. You can share posts on Facebook and Retweet tweets on Twitter, but what about Instagram? So far in the world of Instagram, it hasn’t been easy. From downloading third party apps, to taking screenshots, cropping it, and giving the right people photo credit, it’s always taken way more time than we think is necessary.

This new feature will finally allow us all to share user generated content and engage with our audiences in an easier way. Another great benefit of this is that people will now be able to share your content too! Your Instagram reach will expand, and the possibility of reaching more people will go up significantly.

With Facebook’s recent decline of organic reach, this will make business’ lives so much easier!

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on when this feature will officially be offered to the public, but until then, if you have any questions, leave a comment below or contact us!