In its constant push to become the dominant social media platform for brands, Instagram has unveiled a new feature that lets users pack more images into one post.
The feature, similar to Facebook’s “carousel” option, lets users upload up multiple photos or videos compiled into one post.
The content is then shown as a single post on users’ feeds, with a series of dots below the post indicating users may swipe horizontally to view the additional images.
The posts can only be the traditional Instagram square size, and only one caption can be applied to the images as a whole.
Announcing the feature on its blog, Instagram believes the update will make it easier for users to “share your experiences with your friends”.
More creative license for imaginative businesses
Some experts think the changes will be benefit businesses on the platform, noting it will give brands more “creative license”.
Dionne Lew, a partner and social media lead at Zoetic Agency, told SmartCompany the change will let businesses show entire stories, rather than just individual snaps.
“You can already do this on Facebook and it’s great because you can tell the whole story, rather than a story one snap at a time, which is what Instagram has been about,” Lew says.
“The new change will give businesses more creative license to effectively build on their brand narrative.”
Lew notes having a brand narrative is important, as it’s “the story of who you are that your content portrays”, and customers will discover it when seeking out your business.
The new tool can also let businesses find a point of difference on a sometimes crowded social media channel, says Lew.
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“As more and more content comes out it’s important for businesses to get more creative in order to differentiate themselves,” she says.
“It also provides more options to leverage live video, which is something that has really taken off and that we expect to see get even more powerful this year.”
Lew says approximately 70% of brands are expected to be on Instagram in 2017, and 90% of the top 100 brands in the world maintain an account.
Despite this, Lew advises the platform might not be for every business.
“Instagram lends itself to visual communication, so makes complete sense for a visual brand like fashion retailers, cake shops, but also any business that can convert its message to a visual format,” she says.
“For B2B and professional services companies you have to be clever with the way you use Instagram, but it can work really well if it’s personal, emotional or creative.”