With 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the most popular social networks globally. 41% of users are under 24 years of age, 98% of fashion brands have an account- this visual platform is key to many marketers as they utilise it to connect with fans to share brands stories visually.
Last year, calls were made for transparency on social media platforms, due to the growing lack of trust after Facebook revealed it had as many as 60 million automated fake accounts, double it’s previous estimate. ( The Follower Factor – NY Times). Some brands, celebrities and influencers were caught with fake followers, having purchased them from companies – which is a vague grey social media area mess. They commenced purging these accounts, as did Twitter recently – slashing millions of fake followers (Twitters own account lost 7 million followers!).
Instagram is testing or has launched several new features:
IGTV: was launched with the aim of providing content creators a 1hour window to capture their audiences. Hey – who needs to go to youtube anymore?
Video chat: now side stepping the need to go out of app to contact friends through other platforms, Instagram wants to hold users within app whilst they call their friends – even enabling users to continue to scroll through their newsfeed whilst chatting.
You are All Caught up: Since the departure from the chronological timeline, it’s hard to know whats been seen before, or whats new. Even with criticism from users, Instagram figured a way to compromise and now offer a ‘You’re all Caught Up – You’ve seen all new post from the past 48 hours”. It’s still in testing, and undetermined if it will be all postings, or the algorithm ‘best’ posts you will see over the 48 hours.
MUTE : In the day and age where an unfollow is as traumatic as a dumping, mute has become the way to not offend people online. So Instagram listened – and now you can mute someone’s profile by tapping on the three dots on the upper left of their post and click on mute.
QUESTION: Influencers, celebrities and brands are loving the Question option: as it allows them to ask their followers questions in their stories. Followers can answer directly, which is a great way for users to create a two way channel, letting followers feel appreciated and heard.
WHO’S ONLINE? The latest addition is something familiar to LinkedIn users, as now with a green icon next to the profile photos indicating if you are online and active on Instagram. If this isn’t your thing, you can go to your Settings > Accounting Status > turn off Show activity status and Show activity in chat.
REMOVE FOLLOWERS: This is going to be of great interest for every day users, to brands, celebrities and influencers alike. Currently in testing – it will offer more control over who can see a users content, but depending if you have a public of private account. Publicly users can always view an account online, but privately this makes a differences – and this has only been an option for private accounts up until now. Followers will not be notified of this, and they will not see your feed any longer.
LOCAITON: Much like Snapchat’s location button, Instagram will be providing an option to restrict stories to certain locations – which can be utilised to focus on local cultures or language options. This will reduce the reach, but make a greater resonance for those within the area through location specific events.
As social media platforms update, upgrade, and hopefully change for the better, the only hope is through greater transparency demands from companies and GDPR rules, social media platforms will be better equipped to manage themselves in this still developing grey area. Hopefully the EU will be able to enforce a law which all companies using these platforms must adhere – by ensuring all posts are labelled correctly with #sp or #ad clearly, no sale or promotion of firearms, and Instagram are held up to account for management of these accounts. Without continuous monitoring of these social platforms, who knows what the next Brexit or US Election could be.