26 June 2017

Instagram Favourites - New Instagram Feature?

Instagram Fabourites - new Instagram feature, social media Hampshire, lifestyle bloggers, new Instagram feature 2017

Dear Instagram - what else can we expect from you this year? With so many changes to the platform, social media managers, bloggers, and businesses have been left scratching their heads as to how they can raise falling engagements without paying for posts; and audience has been left feeling deflated after so many influencers decided to take to photoshop and edit themselves into locations where they never were. Instagram is definitely keeping us on our toes - so what's the latest?

Instagram has added a feature that allows 'friends only' to see certain posts and Stories. This feature is called 'Favourites' and users can create a list of followers which they will share exclusive content with, and it will be labelled with a green badge to let them know it was shared with a 'select few'. Instagram has commented to say that this feature will allow more control over content, as at the moment it's kind of all or nothing with the platform.

But don't panic just yet - this feature is being tested amongst a small group of chosen Instagrammers, and the roll out of the feature is yet to be determined across the wider platform.
"People are trying to hack Instagram to create smaller audiences, and we're trying to recognise that" commented Robby Stein, the product lead over at Instagram.

Here, I have to butt in. Reeeeeally? I love Instagram for it's community feel, the ability to creatively promote my blog and my business, and more importantly to share my personality with my audience. And everyone's invited - at the end of the day, if people don't like what they see they will unfollow, and that's OK with me.

I mean, let's have a show of hands - have you ever felt the urge to share a drunken photo over your professional Instagram account? No. Have an aesthetically unpleasing photo which is funny/useful/personal that you want to share but don't really want to ruin your Instagram theme? Hello Instastories. Personally, I hope this feature doesn't make it past testing because to me this platform isn't about exclusivity and popularity, or even favouritism. If I have a funny photo I want to share with my friend, I'll send them a WatsApp. And hope it doesn't go public.

But let's brake the news down for businesses: what are the benefits of Instagram Favourites? Well, as a retailer you can really reap the rewards. You can create competitions, exclusive discount groups, all activity to help your customers fell 'special' goes a long way. Same with restaurants, pubs, and anyone who is selling a product.
Bloggers? Yep, you've got a winner too - create groups of people to share discounts with, get people to sign up to your email lists to enjoy exclusive Instagram content, have 'pods' where you share images.
There are many ideas I have on how I would use Instagram Favourites for my clients - but I won't be giving all of them away right now.

But what about the downsides of these Instagram favourites? The dreaded feeling of being excluded from a community, or your favourite brand/influencer not including you in their exclusive pod? You know this will go sour very soon.
How about showing more raw content on social media, and letting brands/influencers express their own personality? I have personally seen much more feedback on Instagram needing to be more 'real and raw' rather than requests on how to hide content. Isn't that the whole point? We're building our communities? And if you're really that uncomfortable for someone to see your content, there's always the block button.

Yes, some people may argue that there are personal benefits of 'Favourites' - I can already hear someone saying 'But you can hide posts from employers, etc' - my answer: you shouldn't be shady on your social media profiles anyway because you always get caught out. So don't think that this feature will let you get away with dodge activity.

I have mixed feelings about Instagram Favourites going live right now: I can see how my clients may benefit from the feature by building exclusive groups, but personally, and also for my blog, it's not something I think I would implement because like I said before: everyone is invited to the party and I have nothing to hide. Honestly, it would be like censoring cups of tea, episodes of Love Island, and crap photography of my dog!

What are your thoughts on this new (potential) Instagram feature? Are you excited about it, or do you think it's pointless? And if you want to follow my ramblings and a little bit of rawness on social, find me on Instagram and say hello!

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