What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum
|Chris Crum writes for Small Business Resources about what's new for small business. Chris was a featured writer with the iEntry Network of B2B Publications where hundreds of publications linked to his articles including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, LA Times and the New York Times.|
Businesses Get New Tools From Instagram
Instagram recently announced that it will soon launch new tools for businesses to help them get more out of its immensely popular visual social platform. Instagram is of course owned by Facebook, so it makes sense that these features follow the parent company's lead in helping businesses with their presence.
Instagram said that after conducting hundreds of interviews with businesses, it identified three main needs, which are the abilities to stand out, to get insights, and to find new customers. These are the areas where the new features will come in handy. According to the company, many businesses want it to be easier for customers to email questions because "comments are hard to track and take time to sift through."
One new feature, and perhaps the biggest of the bunch, is the business profile. Now, just as businesses have a Facebook page, which is separate from any personal accounts, Instagram will offer businesses their own profiles, where they can choose how they want customers to get in touch with them whether it's through a call, a text, or an email. The profile will include a contact button and the ability for the customer to get directions.
Business profiles give businesses access to the second new feature, which is insights. These can be accessed from the Instagram mobile app, and give businesses what Instagram calls "actionable information" about who their followers are and which posts resonate with them better than others. The idea is that businesses can use these insights to help them create better and more effective content.
Businesses are also getting the ability to promote posts from their profiles that perform well, turning them into ads that appear within the app. The business can choose a target audience or let Instagram suggest targeting. The business can also choose how long the ad runs.
"With these new business tools on Instagram, the furniture store in San Francisco can receive emails from customers saving valuable time responding," says Instagram in a post on its business blog. "The retailer in Austin can better understand its audience, tailor its content and refine its marketing strategy—even beyond digital. And the do-it-yourself craft shop in New York City can quickly fill a seat, move a product or get people into its store with ads on mobile."
The features will become available to businesses in the U.S. as well as those in Australia and New Zealand in the coming months before rolling out all over the world later this year.
Instagram is also offering businesses new partner opportunities. Last year, the company launched its partner program, enabling businesses to get help from experts in the areas of ad tech, community management, and content marketing. Recently, they added another area - media buying. So far, they've racked up over 50 partners across all areas. The initial partners in the new area are Social Code and Resolution Media, but more will likely be added as time goes on. Businesses can go to InstagramPartners.com to browse through partners and contact them about help from there.
Instagram has been a better means of user engagement due to recent changes in its algorithm, so now is a great time for the company to give businesses more to work with.