Tag Archive | "Instagram"

7 Tips for Growing Your Following on Instagram With Hashtags

With about 500 million daily active users on its platform, Instagram has become one of the indispensable marketing tools for small business owners. However, organic reach is increasingly difficult to achieve with the platform’s algorithmic-based feed. So, how do you compete against louder, bigger brands and deliver content to your target audience? The answer:  use effective hashtags.  

Aside from photos, hashtags are another key element to using Instagram. They organize content to make it more discoverable and spur engagement from a target audience. Instagram even launched a feature that allows users to follow hashtags in keeping up with the latest posts. By using the right tactics, hashtags can grow your following and expand your reach within the platform.

1. Search for the Right Hashtags

Begin with a quick search for niche-specific keywords on Instagram. Similar or related phrases often crop up as you type in the search box, so consider these as your potential hashtags. Find relevant tags that your target audience will likely search for. You can also use third-party tools to extract popular hashtags that competitors and social media influencers use frequently.  

2. Use Location Tags to Build Local Awareness

This strategy is a good way to connect with other community members and gain exposure. Users often enjoy supporting local businesses, so using community-oriented tags can drive engagement with your brand. Moreover, they are likely to discover upcoming events within the vicinity through Instagram.

3. Match Hashtags With Relevant Photos

Good images will reel in an audience, so make sure your photo goes well with your caption and hashtags. Search results on Instagram are displayed in a grid. Pay attention to the photos and their similarities to each other. Study how your image can stand out while remaining relevant to the keywords.

4. Jump on the Bandwagon

Another way can grow your audience is by using trending hashtags. Aligning your content with a trending topic or event, say a holiday, can improve discoverability and reach. Mark your calendar for upcoming events to prepare relevant content in advance.

5. Change Up Your Hashtags

You may feel satisfied with using the same hashtags in every post, especially if you discovered ones that users consistently engage with. There’s a chance, however, that they have already seen and ignored your content. Using other keywords, on the other hand, lets you reach other users who might’ve never heard of you before.

6. Focus on Less Popular Tags

Using hashtags with fewer posts can mean that there is less competition in capturing the users’ attention for your content. With specific, targeted keywords, you’re more likely to tap into your intended audience and improve visibility.

7. Come Up With Creative Hashtags

Having creative hashtags is another way to add personality and voice to your brand. People often notice cheeky and witty catchphrases that can spark lively discussions about the message. That’s why companies often concoct hashtags that contain brand names to give them a distinct edge and identity over competitors. Sometimes, it encourages sharing and engagement from your followers.

Growing your Instagram following with hashtags shouldn’t stop there. To keep audience engagement and maintain your online presence, track and analyze the performance of your posts and take time to identify the most engaged hashtags. Follow the seven tips listed above, and watch your Instagram following grow.

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How to Use Instagram Like a Beauty Brand

Posted by zeehj

Does your brand’s activity on its social accounts impact its search rankings? Maybe. Maybe not. But does it matter anyway?

I shouldn’t have to convince you that investing in a social media for your company is worth it; even in light of Facebook’s recent data breach, we are so reliant upon our social profiles for real human interaction that leaving them is not a real option. In fact, the below statistics from Pew Research Center’s 2018 Social Media Use Survey indicate that we’re not going to give up our social media profiles any time soon.

Humans are social creatures. It makes sense that we love being on social networking sites. We crave interaction with fellow humans. We’re also highly likely to trust the recommendations of our friends and family (Nielsen) and those recommendations often influence our purchasing decisions. We ask our loved ones for advice on where to put our dollars in myriad ways, all at different price points:

  • What coffee shop do you like to go to?
  • Which mascara is that?
  • What are you reading right now?
  • Where’d you get that tie?
  • What neighborhoods are you looking to move to?
  • What schools are you looking to send Anna to?

Yes, those same searches occur online. They also frequently occur in tandem with testimonials from the people in our lives (depending on how thorough we want or need to be).

So if you have a thing that you want to sell to a group of people and you’re still not pursuing a social strategy, I don’t understand what you’re doing. Yes, it’s 2018 and I still find myself trying to persuade clients to proactively use (the right) social networks to promote their brand.

For the sake of this piece, we’re going to focus on organic usage (read: free, not paid advertising) of Instagram. Why just Instagram? 35% of US adults say they use Instagram as of 2018, up from 28% in 2016. This was the greatest growth across top social networking sites reported by Pew Research Center. Additionally, its 35% usage puts it at the third most popular social networking platform, behind only Facebook and YouTube.

Other good news? It may be easier for brands’ posts to appear in users’ Instagram feeds than on their Facebook feeds: Facebook still wants to prioritize your family, friends and groups, while The New York Times reports that Instagram is updating its algorithm to favor newer posts rather than limit the accounts in your feed.

So should every brand have an Instagram? Maybe? But notice I’ve been primarily using the word “brand,” not “company” or “business.” That’s deliberate. Companies (only) provide customers with a service or sell a product. Brands provide customers (followers) with an identity. (If you want to dive further into this, I highly recommend this presentation by former Distiller Hannah Smith.)

The best companies are brands: they’ve got identities with which consumers align themselves. We become loyal to them. We may even use the brands we purchase from and follow as self identifiers to other people (“I’m a Joe & the Juice kind of guy, but not Starbucks,” “I never use MAC, only NARS,” “Me, shop at Banana Republic?! I only go to Everlane!”). Not every company should be on Instagram — it doesn’t make much sense for B2Bs to invest time and energy into building their company’s presence on Instagram.

Instagram is not for your consulting firm. And probably not for your SaaS company, either (but prove me wrong)!

It’s for celebrities. It’s to show off your enviable trip. It’s for fashion blogs. Sneakerheads. Memes. Art. Beauty brands. It’s really great for beauty brands. Why? Instagram is obviously great for sharing pretty photos — and if you’re a beauty company, well, it’s a no-brainer that you should have an active account. And it also has incredible built-in features to organically promote your posts, engage customers, and sell products with actual links to those products on your photos.

So, if you’re going to use Instagram, do it right. If you want to do it right, do it like a beauty brand.

First things first: Why do beauty companies’ IG posts look better?

Glossier

Onomie

Milk

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: each account features beautiful models, pretty sceneries, and cosmetics in clean packaging. That said, it’s not just the subject of the IG photos that matters: each of these IG accounts’ photos have been curated and edited together, so that their photos look cohesive when you view them in IG’s grid format. How do they do that? Let’s look at three posts from these accounts.

Glossier

Onomie

Milk

It’s hard (for me) to pick apart precisely why these photos are aesthetically pleasing — and it doesn’t help that I’m neither a photographer, nor a designer. That said, here is my rudimentary, non-designer take on why these photos look great together:

#1: Their subjects are beautiful (duh)

#2: There are limited primary focal points, and tons of negative space (though the medicine cabinet and floral arrangement photos are arguably “busy”)

#3: Their hues are complementary (pinky-pearlescent-pastels, anyone?)

There’s a lot of pink. And white. And pastels. And more pink. And then, occasionally, pops of color (think: a new violet lipstick shade).

Color schemes remain consistent across Onomie’s, Milk’s, and Glossier’s photos — these beauty brands don’t suddenly change their color palettes from one photo to the next. In fact, they are most likely implementing the same Instagram filters for each photo, or at least editing the color balances so that the photos complement each other. They are deliberately catering to Instagram’s 3×3 grid photo format (or 3×4, or 3×5, depending on your screen size). While many users do see IG posts in their “feeds” when they open the app, users are still motivated to look at IG accounts’ for a number of reasons: IG profiles are the only place where you can add hyperlinks on Instagram, and is also where accounts can pin stories for users to revisit.

But how on earth do they do it? They may have professional photographers, or graphic designers they can beg to normalize their color balances across photos. However, I don’t think that most companies necessarily need this mastery in-house in order to have an Instagram profile that looks good to mere mortals.

What I can assure you is that they plan, plan, plan out their posts in advance. In order to do this effectively, of course, you need the right tools. Here’s your starter pack of IG apps:

  • VSCO
    • Freemium phone app
    • Enables you to edit photos like a master — VSCO goes way beyond a small set of filters
    • Has its own community and image feed within the app, separate from IG
    • VSCO can’t post directly to IG (yet), but you can easily download any edited photo
  • Planoly
    • Freemium desktop tool and phone app
    • Can visualize your photos in a grid format with your other IG photos
    • Built-in analytics
    • Can schedule and post directly to IG, with captions and hashtags
  • Unum
    • Free
    • Offers some photo editing tools
    • Can drag and drop photos to plan out how they will appear alongside your other uploads, in grid format
    • Can post to IG, but no scheduling features

This may sound like a lot of work, and for non-designers in particular it’s pretty challenging. That said, the fruits of your labor can be used again and again. In fact, that’s precisely what these beauty brands do on IG: if they’re featuring a product (again, hello lipstick shades), they show off that product’s different colors, on different skintones. Basically, rinse and repeat with your IG photos: this repetition is great for those with sparse content calendars, and still looks great.

Okay, but they’re not popular just because of their looks, right? Why are beauty brands on IG so damn popular?

Yes, looks matter. IG is a visual platform. Sorry not sorry. And yes, we’re talking about beauty brands that have budgets to advertise their accounts and products on IG, which also contributes to their popularity. However, that’s not the whole story.

They use hashtags and photo tags.

Hashtags

Just like on Twitter (and Facebook, to a degree), hashtags are a natural way to boost exposure and get “discovered.” That’s largely because IG users can also follow hashtags, in the same manner as following a handle. And, just like on Twitter, it matters which hashtags you use. IG also allows users to add up to 30 hashtags per post — and yes, this can look spammy, but if you’re using IG like a beauty brand, you’ll separate your caption from your hashtags with periods-used-as-line-breaks or as a separate comment after you post.

So, where should you begin hunting for hashtags? Unfortunately, the Cambridge Analytica debacle has extended to Facebook’s other properties, including Instagram. It seems like one direct response to this is to limit the number of API calls we can make of IG. This means awesome services like websta.me can’t serve up the same amount of information around hashtags as they once did.

That said, Tagboard is one option for content and social media marketers to use. I like to use it to suss out hashtag intent (in answering whether this the right hashtag to use for this post). *Readers: if you’ve got tools you love to find hashtags on IG, add them in the comments below for us, please!

Otherwise, your best bet (as far as I know) is to search for hashtags directly in Instagram’s Discover area, under Tags. There, you can see how many times those hashtags have been used (what’s popular?) and then click through to see what photos have been tagged.

Photo tags

Beauty brands also take advantage of photo tagging on their posts when they can: if they are featuring a celebrity (like the magnificent Tracee Ellis Ross), they can tag her IG directly onto this post. Not only does this let Tracee (or, more likely, her social media manager) know, but depending on her settings this photo now shows up under her tagged photos on her profile — for her fans to discover.

Similarly, if you’re a business selling products and you’ve been approved for shopping on IG, you can also tag your products in your photos so that users can click through directly to their product pages. This is a no-brainer. Just do it.

They talk to their followers.

We already know that it’s best practice to engage and respond to followers on social media (within reason), and IG is no different. Onomie, Milk and Glossier all have downright spirited conversations in their photos’ comments sections by prompt fellow ‘grammers to participate in a few ways. They:

They add stories.

IG’s “Stories” feature is another great tool that Onomie, Milk, and Glossier all use. They’re like IG posts, but ephemeral (they only last 24 hours) and do not live in your main feed: users can access these stories from the top of their IG feeds, and from the account’s main icon. In some cases — especially brands selling products — these accounts may choose to “pin” evergreen stories to their IG profiles, so that users can access them beyond the 24-hour lifespan.

Stories are an excellent way to gather additional insights from followers (outside of comments) because you can run polls (with clickable elements) to collect simple data (“Should our next product help alleviate dry or oily skin?”). What’s more is that, depending on users’ notification preferences, stories automatically push notifications to followers’ phone screens. This means that even if a user is not using the app, they will be notified of new, temporary content.

If your brand (or your client) isn’t taking advantage of IG’s great marketing tools, it’s time to stop waiting and get ‘gramming. Especially if your target audiences are using the platform, there is no reason not to test out all the ways it allows you to engage its community.

Share your favorite IG tools, tips, and accounts below, so that other Moz readers can get inspired. And if you’re passionate about marketing, come join our team, and help me convince more awesome brands to take over Instagram. (JK. Kinda.)

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Instagram Wants to Improve Your Mental Health, Creates New Wellbeing Team

Instagram is taking steps to help improve their users’ mental health with the creation of its new Wellbeing Team.

Millions of people around the world use Instagram to visually share and document their lives. However, the unrealistic portrayal of how other people live has been proven to negatively affect how some users view their own life. This has led to anxiety, bullying, depression, a negative body image and other mental health problems.

A survey released by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) of Britain rated Instagram as the worst social media platform for a person’s wellbeing and mental health. The result of the survey seems to have an impact on the company and Instagram has created a Wellbeing Team tasked to combat the negative feelings and insecurity using the app engenders.

According to Instagram’s head of fashion partnerships Eva Chen, the company is focusing wholly on the community’s wellbeing.

“Making the community a safer place, a place where people feel good, is a huge priority for Instagram,” Chen said. She also emphasized that its users’ wellbeing is one of the company’s top priorities.

The company is said to have “reassessed priorities” last year and has started rolling out new features that help make the platform a more positive space. The company has introduced content moderation tools that automatically hide inappropriate comments. The feature also gives users the capability to personalize filters so that any comments they might be offended by are deleted.

Facebook’s sister company has also created teams that check reports sent in by people who believe that a particular user might require mental health assistance. Instagram would then give the user access to groups that can help with their situation.

However, there’s no concrete detail on the exact tasks of the Wellbeing Team and how it will operate. What is certain though is that Ameet Ranadive, former VP of Twitter’s revenue product, is part of the team. He has been tapped to be the group’s director of product and is tasked to “prevent spam, abuse and harassment” on the platform.

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Number of Active Business Profiles on Instagram Reaches 25 Million

Instagram’s business profiles are proving to be good for businesses.

The social media network recently announced that 25 million merchants have changed their personal Instagram accounts into business profiles. That’s a huge leap from the 15 million business accounts that were active on the app as of July of this year. What’s more, most of these accounts are from small businesses.

The Facebook-owned app introduced business profiles in May 2016 in order to give businesses better commercial representation on its video and photo network. By changing one’s account to a business profile – which is similar to a Facebook page – companies can add a “contact us” button and examine detailed analytics about Stories and organic posts that they have published, like the number of impressions and the reach the posts accumulated.

Highlighting the main differences between an Instagram personal account and an Instagram business account.

Graphic via modernsoapmaking.com

Instagram is hoping that the more tools they provide merchants, the more they’ll use the app to expand their business, first organically and then through ads. And it seems Instagram’s strategy is working. Since business profiles were introduced, Instagram’s advertiser base has grown from 200,000 in February 2016 to 2 million by September 2017.

Those numbers clearly show that Instagram’s ratio of business accounts to advertisers is almost the same as its parent company. Facebook boasts of more than 6 million advertisers and 70 million companies using Pages.

About 80% of Instagram’s roughly 800 million users per month follow a business, and about 40% of 500 million daily users check out at least one business profile. Interestingly, two-thirds of the 200 million people who check out a company’s business profile on any day do not follow the brand or company. That is something businesses should consider closely.

Merchants might want Instagram users to tap on the follow button, but they would probably be just as happy if people tap the button to contact the company. After all, this would allow them to develop a customer base that goes beyond Instagram.

[Featured image via Pixabay.com]

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Shopify’s Instagram Integration to Open Doors for Millions of Vendors

Christmas comes early for Shopify and Instagram users, with the former now providing Instagram integration to most of its vendors.

The eCommerce company and Instagram had been collaborating on the new shopping service the whole year. Now the integration appears to be ready and Shopify is offering it to its millions of sellers.

Shopify has already established integration tools with Buzzfeed, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and other sites. With this new tool, vendors on Instagram can now tag photos of their products. This will include links to a page that includes more information about the product and its price. Users can buy the product straight from the mobile app using a “Shop Now” button that takes the buyer to the merchant’s page. And this feature is easier to set up with the Shopify integration, especially for users that already sell products on the site.

The company has admitted that Instagram is one of the major drivers of traffic to merchant stores and this collaboration can boost eCommerce sales. In fact, 72% of Instagram users revealed that they bought products they saw on the site. And last July, Shopify closed a deal with eBay that allowed vendors to sell their goods directly through the website, opening it to around 400,000 users. The company also made a similar deal with Amazon in 2015.

It has been Shopify’s game plan to integrate with various eCommerce channels to make it possible for its clients to branch out from their own sites. It also provides its sellers with small loans, shipping services, and payment tools. Shopify even offers tools for vendors to sell their products offline and provides point-of-sale hardware and software for those with physical shops.

The Instagram integration is currently being offered to select vendors but will ultimately be made available to all the stores and vendors that have accounts on Shopify.

[Featured image via Shopify]

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Instagram Beginning To Look A Lot Like Snapchat

Instagram announced today the ability to add stickers to your posts, just like Snapchat. The stickers will be both for the consumer like Snapchat, but more importantly will also be targeted at businesses which are looking for creative ways to promote their products and services.

“Now you have new ways to turn any business moment into something you want to share with your followers,” posted the Instagram blog team. “No matter where your business is or what you’re up to, you can add context to your story with stickers.”

Instagram also announced that on iOS you can now save your entire business story from the past 24 hours to your camera roll as a single video.

How to Use Stickers on Instagram

Simply take a photo and video and then click the new stickers button which is right next to the text and drawing buttons. They say you can “tap the smiley face to find customizable stickers for weather, the current time and even your location.”

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Restaurants Creating Crave on Instagram

According to a post on the Instagram Business blog the number one driver of visits to restaurants is the act of craving. In advertising this simply means making people hungry for what your are selling. Restaurants love Instagram because of its visualness, its frequent use of video in posts and probably most importantly, its primarily consumed on a mobile device.

A 2015 study showed that 53% of frequent diners and 41% of occasional diners use their mobile phone to decide on a fast-food restaurant. You have to assume that’s just as prevalent with restaurants in general. Instagram says that for restaurant goers on mobile, 23% take a photo purely to remember the experience, and 15% share that experience on their social channels. They report that after seeing friends’ photos and videos of fast-food restaurants on Instagram, 66% of frequent diners want to visit.

Interestingly, Instagram users that follow restaurants are 1.4 times more active on Instagram than average, indicating that they use the platform for more than just posting photos. Instagram reports that they like 4.5 times more content, post 3 times more than the average user and comment 7 times more frequently than typical. That’s amazing. One wonders if there is some other common variable other than liking restaurants, but we’ll go with that for now.

Since Instagram was launched food has been a big part of the app, with people posting millions of photos and videos of what they were about to eat. Restaurant have taken note of this posting fetish and thought, what can we do to feed into this without becoming another unwanted ad? That’s where the concept of crave comes in. Restaurants are focusing posts and ads on making people hungry, using Italian music when showing a video of a pizza being made, showing extreme closeups of a Ruby Tuesday hamburger so that people can almost taste it, in the case of Fridays showing a very satisfied person eating their ribs. The point is to focus on the food in order to create the crave.

Instagram says that Ruby Tuesday ran a series of 5 video ads and saw a 22-point lift in ad recall—outperforming similar campaigns by 96%. They say it also drove a 10-point lift in purchase intent among 45-54 year olds—which outperformed nearly 75% of similar campaigns for the same demographic.

“TGI Friday’s developed a two-phased campaign that used video and carousel ads, as well as local awareness ads on Facebook, to promote its ribs and encourage people to enjoy them at a physical location,” noted the Instagram ad team. “The six-week company not only drove a 3-point lift in purchase intent, but more than 50,000 restaurant visits were attributed to the campaign.”

Dairy Queen’s Instagram campaign reach 20 million people, driving an 18 point lift in ad recall among 25-34 year olds. They say it also drove an 8 point lift in awareness of its “Upside Down or Free” promotion and a 3 point lift in purchase intent. Not much in purchase intent but it definitely drove the crave.

“We wanted to build up our presence on Instagram and occupy the currently sparse dessert space,” said Jenell Lammers, Digital Marketing Manager, Dairy Queen (View photo at top). “We’ve done just that with this campaign, which further proved that Instagram is not only great for organic posts but can really drive results.”

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Restaurants Creating Crave on Instagram

According to a post on the Instagram Business blog the number one driver of visits to restaurants is the act of craving. In advertising this simply means making people hungry for what your are selling. Restaurants love Instagram because of its visualness, its frequent use of video in posts and probably most importantly, its primarily consumed on a mobile device.

A 2015 study showed that 53% of frequent diners and 41% of occasional diners use their mobile phone to decide on a fast-food restaurant. You have to assume that’s just as prevalent with restaurants in general. Instagram says that for restaurant goers on mobile, 23% take a photo purely to remember the experience, and 15% share that experience on their social channels. They report that after seeing friends’ photos and videos of fast-food restaurants on Instagram, 66% of frequent diners want to visit.

Interestingly, Instagram users that follow restaurants are 1.4 times more active on Instagram than average, indicating that they use the platform for more than just posting photos. Instagram reports that they like 4.5 times more content, post 3 times more than the average user and comment 7 times more frequently than typical. That’s amazing. One wonders if there is some other common variable other than liking restaurants, but we’ll go with that for now.

Since Instagram was launched food has been a big part of the app, with people posting millions of photos and videos of what they were about to eat. Restaurant have taken note of this posting fetish and thought, what can we do to feed into this without becoming another unwanted ad? That’s where the concept of crave comes in. Restaurants are focusing posts and ads on making people hungry, using Italian music when showing a video of a pizza being made, showing extreme closeups of a Ruby Tuesday hamburger so that people can almost taste it, in the case of Fridays showing a very satisfied person eating their ribs. The point is to focus on the food in order to create the crave.

Instagram says that Ruby Tuesday ran a series of 5 video ads and saw a 22-point lift in ad recall—outperforming similar campaigns by 96%. They say it also drove a 10-point lift in purchase intent among 45-54 year olds—which outperformed nearly 75% of similar campaigns for the same demographic.

“TGI Friday’s developed a two-phased campaign that used video and carousel ads, as well as local awareness ads on Facebook, to promote its ribs and encourage people to enjoy them at a physical location,” noted the Instagram ad team. “The six-week company not only drove a 3-point lift in purchase intent, but more than 50,000 restaurant visits were attributed to the campaign.”

Dairy Queen’s Instagram campaign reach 20 million people, driving an 18 point lift in ad recall among 25-34 year olds. They say it also drove an 8 point lift in awareness of its “Upside Down or Free” promotion and a 3 point lift in purchase intent. Not much in purchase intent but it definitely drove the crave.

“We wanted to build up our presence on Instagram and occupy the currently sparse dessert space,” said Jenell Lammers, Digital Marketing Manager, Dairy Queen (View photo at top). “We’ve done just that with this campaign, which further proved that Instagram is not only great for organic posts but can really drive results.”

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The Merrymaker Sisters: How Two Aussie Girls Quit Government Jobs, Launched A Healthy Food Business On Instagram And Today Lead The Merrymaker Business Empire

[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] I’d like to introduce you to two sisters who very much embody the emotion their company brand presents – #GetMerry! The Merrymaker sisters – Emma and Carla Papas – are originally from Canberra, but today live on…

The post The Merrymaker Sisters: How Two Aussie Girls Quit Government Jobs, Launched A Healthy Food Business On Instagram And Today Lead The Merrymaker Business Empire appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Instagram Beginning To Look A Lot Like Snapchat

Instagram announced today the ability to add stickers to your posts, just like Snapchat. The stickers will be both for the consumer like Snapchat, but more importantly will also be targeted at businesses which are looking for creative ways to promote their products and services.

“Now you have new ways to turn any business moment into something you want to share with your followers,” posted the Instagram blog team. “No matter where your business is or what you’re up to, you can add context to your story with stickers.”

Instagram also announced that on iOS you can now save your entire business story from the past 24 hours to your camera roll as a single video.

How to Use Stickers on Instagram

Simply take a photo and video and then click the new stickers button which is right next to the text and drawing buttons. They say you can “tap the smiley face to find customizable stickers for weather, the current time and even your location.”

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