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Instagram is constantly changing and it can be hard to keep up with its trends. From introducing Instagram Stories to creating “Archive” and “Carousel” features, we had a lot to keep up with last year. This year, we have even more. In this guide, we’ll present 4 huge Instagram trends: Instagram Stories for businesses, Instagram Live, Shopping feature and new Instagram aesthetic and content ideas.

 

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1. Instagram Stories for your business

 

 

In 2018, stories will take over regular posts on Instagram. There’s one reason for that – content which vanishes within 24 hours has more authenticity than stagnant ads that push users to take some action. The Generation Z has a phenomenon called FoMO – or Fear of Missing Out. This definitely makes stories a key content piece for them.

Instagram Stories are a channel that is attractive to both people and businesses because it offers great features for both. For example, as a business, you can share fun content, promote a campaign, drive ecommerce sales, have influencer takeovers or showcase what working in your company looks like.

If you haven’t used Instagram Stories yet, here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to create them.

Step #1: Tap the camera icon in the top left corner of the screen to open the Instagram camera.

 

Instagram Trends

 

Step #2: Take a photo or video that can be up to 10 seconds long.

Other than regular photos and videos, you can take:

* Boomerang – lets you capture GIF like videos;

* Superzoom – automatically zooms in the video;

* Rewind – plays videos in reverse;

* Hands-free – you don’t have to hold the video button to record a video, just tap once to start and once to finish recording;

* Stop-motion – take a long series of photos which Instagram stitches up into a GIF.

 

Instagram Trends

 

Other buttons:

* Square – Add photos from camera roll;

* Thunderbolt – Turn on flash;

* Arrows – Switch to another camera;

* Smiley face – Face filters, such as

Step #3: If you already have a photo that you want to use, you can upload it from your camera roll.

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Step #4: Tapping anywhere on the screen will bring up the text tool. You can change the text color and size, tag another accounts or share hashtags.

 

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Step #5: If you want some doodles on your photo, just select one of three different pen styles.

 

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Step #6: You can add stickers by selecting the sticker button in the top right corner.

 

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The most used stickers are:

* Location sticker – tag the location of your story;

* Weather sticker – show what’s the weather like at your location;

* GIFs – add animated stickers to your stories;

* Time sticker – add the local time to your story;

* Hashtag sticker – add a hashtag to your story;

* Poll sticker – ask people about their opinions;

* Selfie sticker – take a mini-selfie that will become a sticker.

Step #7: Swipe right or left to apply different filters. When you’re finished, tap the “Your Story” button to share.

 

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Step #8: If you want to check how well your story is performing, you can just swipe up to see the analytics and the names of people who have seen your story.

 

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Now that you are familiar with how to post stories on Instagram, we’ll give you a few ideas on how to drive traffic using stories:

1. Add links to drive traffic with Instagram stories If you have a business profile on Instagram, you can add links to each story and users would be able to visit your landing page with a simple “swipe up” option. The “See More” call-to-action is small and can go unnoticed, so make sure that you’re using text, arrows or stickers to drive attention to it.

2. Use Instagram Stories Highlights to drive traffic constantly – Instagram Stories Highlights are a feature that allows you to have some of the relevant stories on your profile permanently. They appear under your bio and above your Instagram feed and you can group them into different categories – some examples are “Gifts for Him”, “Gifts for Her”, “Makeup Tutorials”, “Wellness”, “Travelling”, etc. You can have as many categories as you like, so use this feature to tell your story in a creative way!

3. Do a takeover with influencers or with your employees – work with relevant Instagram influencers for your niche. They can use stories to promote your product, to mention you in their story or to add a hyperlink suggesting their followers swipe up.

4. Drive traffic with Instagram Stories ads – using paid stories is a great way to reach people who are not following your account already.

 

2. Instagram Live

If you want to build buzz and catch the attention of your followers on Instagram – then Instagram live is the key. It’s the ultimate tool you can use to engage with your audience in real time and it’s perfect for sharing personal experiences and creating “exclusive” content for your followers.

Instagram Live will make your account stand out from the crowd. When you go on Live, your followers get a notification that you’re broadcasting live, right that very second. Once you finish your live stream, you can save it to your story and add hashtags and locations to make your story discoverable to new people who don’t follow you. If you’re missing some ideas on what should you broadcast, here are some examples:

* Newsflash – Do you have some important announcements? Let your audience know!

* New products – If you’re launching new products, showcase them and their features using Instagram Live.

* FAQ & Q&A – Instead of using lengthy captions of a regular post, give answers on the frequently asked questions about your brand on a Live video. Another option is organizing a live Q&A and answering your audience’s questions in real time.

* Celebrations – Whether you’re celebrating anniversaries or employees’ birthdays, this is a great way to show your audience some behind the scenes. Let them know how working for your company looks like!

* Behind the Scenes – Showing the creative processes behind commercials, campaigns or product launches shows the “human” side of your brand and you’ll make it more relatable.

* Invite Influencers – Inviting relevant influencers to take over your Instagram Live is a great strategy for driving traffic to your feed.

Starting a live video is simpler than you might think: just go to your Instagram app, tap the camera in the upper-left corner and choose the “Live” option. Once you’re ready, just tap the “Start Live Video” and you’re all set!

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3. Shopping Feature for Retailers

If you’re a retailer using Shopify, than these are really good news for your business! In 2017, Instagram added a feature to add links to Instagram Stories, and in 2018 you will be graced with the new shopping feature integration. Instagram product tagging is currently in testing and it’s available to an initial group of Shopify businesses. Once the test phase is complete, the feature will be available to everyone, so keep an eye on it!This shopping feature lets Shopify users tag their products in each photo, listing the item’s name and price right in the photo. Users can click through to purchase the item right in Instagram, without having to leave the app – similar to Facebook “Shop” feature.

 

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4. Content and aesthetics are paramount

In 2018, product posts are not enough to keep your followers – you will have to think out of the box and create as diverse content as possible. To help you out, we’re giving you 20 suggestion on what you can post on Instagram.

1. Tutorials

Are there some things that you can teach your audience? For example, what is the easiest way to setup your product? What are your product’s hidden features? How can they use your product in a creative way?If you are a beauty blogger, teach your audience about countrouring. Tell them tips and tricks on how to apply the eyeliner. Options are endless!

2. Inspiration

Taking 2 liters of water daily can improve our metabolism significantly. There are apps that can help you count how much water you are consuming. Adding lemon to your water can boost your vitamin C intake. And so far and so on.Inspire your audience to do something, share tips that are useful to them and easy to incorporate in their daily routines. They will appreciate it!

3. Holidays

Holidays are always popular theme on social media, and people enjoy holidays! If it’s a Christmas season, give them some tips on how to decorate a Christmas tree. Getting a Valentine’s Day gifts can be daunting for many couples, so give them creative suggestions on what they can get for their significant others. You can also share a simple and healthy recipe for your favorite Easter cookies – options are, again, endless!

4. Funny holidays

Did you know that there is a “Have an Ice-cream for Breakfast Day”? Or “Kite Flying Day”? Or even “Wear a White T-Shirt Day”? Those international days can be an inspiration for your content, and you can check the calendar here. We’re sure your followers will love these posts!

5. What’s in your bag

If you’re a blogger, chances are that you already done this. If you’re a business selling chocolate, gum or water, do a “What’s in my bag” post and make sure to incorporate your products. This can work even if you’re an investment company – what is it that your employees always carry in their bags for important meetings?

6. Behind the scenes

Creating marketing campaigns is usually a highly creative process. While doing that, take out your camera and take a few shots. Use those posts to tease your audience about new product launches or some big events that are about to happen.

7. Design a cocktail

Or a smoothie, or a snack. Whatever you think is suitable for your audience. If they are living busy lives, share some healthy-snacks ideas. If they are millennial girls, you cannot go wrong with unicorn food ideas!

8. DIY projects

Can your product be used for some DIY projects? If so, test it in your office and create a DIY tutorial for your followers.

9. Popular hashtags

There are always some popular hashtags on Instagram, such as “Monday Motivation”, “Throwback Thursday”, “Friyay” or “Sunday Funday”. Share a photo of your coffee on Monday morning, some old photo on Thursday, playing board games on Friday afternoon or picnic in a park on Sunday afternoon.

10. Ask a question

Asking questions on Instagram will not only boost your engagement – it can help you get some relevant insights about what your customers think about your products, which option of the product do they prefer, when they are using your product, etc. Use this inputs to create some further posts!

For example, if the customers tell you that they love drinking your lemonade on a Saturday morning – that’s another post idea!

11. Quotes

Quotes can serve as a great filler posts or when you run out of the ideas on what you can post! Google some relevant keywords for your business and create a nice image that will match your feed.

12. Giveaway

Giveaways are a great way of boosting the engagement on your account, as people will like your post, comment and tag their friends.

13. Interiors of your offices

Let your followers know what your offices look like. Do you have some really cool wallpapers, plants or chairs? Share them! You have an office dog? We’re sure that people will love him, too!

14. View from your office

If you have a stunning landscape or city view, don’t keep it all to yourself! After all, your followers are also your potential employees and you want to attract and keep the bes people out there.

15. A photo of your team

Your audience will be interest to see who are the people behind your brand. Show them that you’re cool!

16. Off-work team building activities

Board-game days, paintballs, escape rooms, zorbing or weekend getaways where you hang out with your colleagues are a great way to promote the culture and values of your company.

17. Regram from your community

People love feeling appreciated, so show your followers that you care about them and that you follow what they do, too. Regram their images of your product, thank them for a great photo and for being loyal to your brand.

18. Popular TV Shows

New episode of Game of Thrones coming out? Ask your fans what they think will happen. Or create some memes and puns that will boost the engagement.

19. Stunning sunsets

If you run out of the ides on what to post again, sunsets and landscape photos are a great filler images.

20. Products 

And of course, do not forget to post great photos of your products!

These 20 content ideas are a good start for your social media content calendar, but now that you have it figured out, it’s time to curate some beautiful Instagram grid layouts. Here are some popular solutions:

1. Checkerboard – This is a theme where you alternate our posts one after the other. There are many ways to tile your Instagram posts, but one of the most popular ones is to post a photo and a quote one after the other. You can use one or more colors to tile your feed. You can also use dark and bright images, or whatever else comes to your mind.

 

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2. Horizontal lines –  The best way to curate this feed is to narrate a story in three consecutive photos. The other way to do this is to use three similar images from left to right to maintain a consistency with aesthetics and with the story.

 

 
 
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3. Vertical lines – The most common example of this theme is where there is an entire row of words or quotes in the middle of the grid that’s running vertically down the page. By doing this, you’re encouraging your new visitors to keep on scrolling through your feed.

 

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4. A puzzle – This theme is hard to maintain and it involves a serious amount of creative planning. We don’t recommend that you do this type of layout as a regular thing, but to rather use it when you have some campaign or a new product launch.

 

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5. Stick to one filter or color scheme – This is probably the easiest way to maintain a consistent look on your Instagram. Choose a filter, a color scheme or editing process and stick to it always.

 

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6. White borders – Adding white borders can give a sense of calmness, and if you also stick with one filter and color scheme, your feed will look impeccable

 

Instagram trends

 

7. Across-the-grid – It’s another theme that is hard to achieve and it will take you a few hours to create a perfect “collage”. But you’ll have a stunning feed and it is definitely worth a try.

 

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You’re all set now to start creating Instagram strategy in 2018! And beside this major Instagram trends, we highly recommend that to keep an eye on artificial intelligence, automation software solutions and a new customer group – generation Z!

 

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