Believe it or not: Instagram isn’t just for selfies. 

It’s a social media platform that is constantly improving and frequently updating to enhance businesses like yours. Instagram is not only a way to connect you with your clients, but it’s a way to showcase the quality of your business.

And, their most recent updates introduce new ways to do this with style.

While Instagram has already had great features for quite some time (i.e., live streaming, the discover page, Instastories), their newest updates have given them an even greater platform that you can use to your advantage. And, you should! Though the average Instagrammer may use it to post what they’re eating for lunch, or who they’re with, or what they’ve been reading lately, you can use it to help increase the availability of your services and take advantage of the high platform Instagram has built specifically for you.

Let’s first start with direct messaging (popularly known as, DMs)—a technique you may be familiar with already. It’s a private conversation between you and, for your business’ sake, a potential client through social media, where a client can voice any concern to you directly versus leaving a comment on one of your public posts.

This method is one of the most important ways for you to connect with clients.  

Not every client may have your email, (though you should probably make sure that they do), which is why you should favor a technique as personal and private as direct messaging. And, with Instagram’s newest update, direct messaging just got even better! Let’s just say that some private conversations are better face-to-face, especially when it comes to explaining important aspects of your business.

This is one of Instagram’s newest, and smartest, ideas. Video Chat Instagram updates

 That’s right! Video-chatting is now available through direct messages. YAY!

What does this do? 

Well, say a client has a problem only you as the owner of the business can help fix. It’s true that you can write out a step-by-step way on how to resolve the issue, but to avoid the impression of writing like a programmed robot, you can make it more personable by using Instagram’s video chat feature. While you both could be on two opposite sides of the globe, you can still be able to help them access a crucial part of your business. Therefore, whether a client may need more information about your availability, how to purchase a product, how to customize a product—whatever!—you can be right alongside them, guiding them further into the benefits you offer with your business.

Can you do this with other programs like Facetime (the obvious) or even Google Hangout? Of course, you can! Instagram is just extending the opportunity to use this fun, professional platform as a means to attract more clients with a personal touch.

How to access the video chat in your direct messages: 

1) Start a conversation normally through direct messaging first.
2) Click the small camera icon on the top right corner.
3) Wait for the client to respond, as your call will ring to alert them!

And, you should probably know that you can do this with up to three other people in the chat!

Pretty cool, right?

Instagram thought outside of the box when it comes to direct messaging even further with another new update alongside the video chat. While direct messages are as private between you and your client as you’d like, Instagram introduced a way to make the conversations of your choice public with question stickers for your Instagram stories! These question stickers can go both ways. You can invite your followers to ask you a question, and you can reply publicly (or privately—Instagram gives you the option to choose). Or YOU can ask the question, and your followers can answer!

It works like this:  

You take a picture for your Instastory, attach the ‘QUESTIONS’ sticker, and invite your followers to respond back. Once your followers begin to respond, you have the option of keeping those answers public or private. Whatever you do decide to post publicly, your followers will see. This will inspire engagement in conversation and put a positive perspective on who you are as the owner of the business they’re interested in. And, the best part? The more you post the answers to your story, the more you appear on each follower’s homepage. It’s a great, easy way to make sure followers are seeing your page often. And, the more your followers see you, the more chance you’ll have of other Instagrammers seeing your page too!

Discover pages, otherwise known as the “Explore” page, have been there from the beginning. However, Instagram completely changed the game with a recent update in July. Discover pages are no longer filled with irrelevant posts from people you’ve never even seen before but are now the exact opposite. The truth about video chat in direct messages and question stickers to your Instastory is that these new features are ultimately for the client’s benefit. The beauty about Instagram’s completely redone discover page, as they introduce “Topic Channels”, is that it’s more for you—the owner! How?

The channels show you which tags you can use to drive more people to see your posts.

They are big hints from Instagram, showing you the tags that people search for the most often. Basically, if you tag your post with them, you may end up on a channel relevant to a possible client. Consider your question as to how to get more reach on each of your posts answered with these Topic Channels. By sliding through each channel on the discover page and using the most popular tags listed along the top, you will be targeting a larger audience outside of those already following you. Tagging your posts with ones most searched for by other Instagrammers will increase your chances of getting noticed.

A good question to ask would be…

What’s next for Instagram?

Well, rumor has it that they’re working on ways to prevent hacking, along with the ability to remove certain followers.   No more blocking, and then unblocking. Pretty convenient, I’ll say!  Of course, a nice little badge to have by your Instagram account name to ensure your credibility. (Yes!) So, while we’ve covered three of the most convenient updates Instagram recently installed (and, we’ve really only scratched the surface), you should stick around for what’s next! Don’t be afraid to loiter around your phone’s app store either. As soon as you see an available update from Instagram, get it immediately! They are always fixing bugs, adding new features, and building their platform to be more fun and easier to use.