Top 4 NEW Instagram Updates for 2021

Skillwise Solutions
6 min readFeb 1, 2021

-Riya Sen

Instagram has grown to be more than just a photo sharing social media platform over the years.

It has become one of the most powerful channels for businesses to tap into their target audience, across different industries.

In fact, this popular social media network has introduced several new features recently.

1. Instagram Shopping

You can select the “Buy On Instagram” tab under the shopping section.

This will allow you to purchase items that you can purchase directly on Instagram without ever leaving the app.

Users simply add the item to their cart, insert their form of payment and buy it directly via Instagram.

Business owners understand that you want clients to be able to add and check out as few clicks as possible while creating a website.

Only one less move they have to take is consumers being able to buy from you directly via the Instagram app.

And one step closer to becoming another converted client, it takes you.

As the business owner, you’ll want to set up your Instagram products in a way that gives users as much product information as possible.

You can do this by:

  • filling out the description thoroughly,
  • including photos that accurately represent your product,
  • including sizing information, or
  • adding any other applicable, dynamic information that would be relevant to your customer

They can see any data you have included in your summary, your shipping and return policies and other items from your shop as viewers scroll.

Related products from other shops at the bottom will also be advertised via Instagram.

So make sure you catch the attention of your customers before then, with your product listings early on at the top!

By searching for the “Buy On Instagram” symbol, users can recognise which items are available for shopping directly from Instagram.

If you don’t own an e-commerce shop now, tuning in again! Shopping on Instagram doesn’t exclude you.

Remember earlier when we said Instagram Stories could be shopped by users? That doesn’t require product tags alone.

In 2020, to help promote small businesses, Instagram launched new stickers.

A few examples include the willingness of individuals to buy the business a gift card (which can be applied to businesses that sell services, not just products).

And also, the ability through delivery to order food.

In your Instagram bio, you can use these functions as stickers on your stories or as a key action icon.

2. Guides on Instagram

At the end of 2020, Instagram guides were released, and many are still slowly figuring out what they are or that they exist.

The guide icon is not yet common to many individuals.

Curated lists of sites, goods or posts are Instagram Guides.

And guides can be a great way to promote your business, depending on how your company applies to each of those three categories.

Pick the type of guide that will give your audience the most value while also being relevant to what you sell.

If you own an eCommerce shop, for instance, a product guide would be ideal for you and your followers.

A post guide that collectively tells the audience how to do something can be easier if you have a service, and so on.

3. Instagram Live Updates

Instagram Live is where you can record yourself on a selfie camera as a business owner.

Or you can record a process occurring directly inside Instagram in front of you on the front-facing camera, and your Instagram followers can see what you’re filming live, in real time.

As they are watching, the people watching will actively comment, and these comments appear in real time at the bottom of the screen.

Here are a few ways in which you might use Instagram Lives as a company owner to:

  • Do a session of Q&A with the viewers
  • Explain how your product works if it has a purpose, or how it suits if you wear it.
  • Share important or urgent business updates as they apply to your supporters
  • And lastly, Show your followers how to do something, such as the video version of a blog post, that is important to them and your business.

Overall, the point of Instagram Lives is to improve the relationship of your brand with future and current customers.

Doing so would also increase the interaction with social media, as well as the scope.

But what’s new with 2021 Lives?

You can live for up to four hours now, until you were cut off beforehand.

You would think an hour was long enough, let alone 4 hours, but you’d be shocked at how many brands used to get cut off suddenly from going over the hour limit!

Consumers appreciate the companies for which they are doing business with clarity, and Lives is a perfect way to have that.

In the Live Now portion, users can now also see who is live.

Users will tap the Explore section with this Instagram update, then tap the Live Now section and click through to discover more lives.

They can also get informed that your account is going online, depending on how your followers have their Instagram notifications set up.

That is if your particular account has alerts allowed (which is why you see several business accounts urging their followers to do this!).

For 30 days, live videos will now be available in your archive.

This Instagram update is important because it means that if you want to, you have more time to save them and re-use them for IGTV content.

This is for those who have not been able to watch the Live in real time as well as for those who want to relate to something later on that was said or seen in the video.

Again, in the hope of turning them into clients, Lives is just a perfect way to strengthen the interaction you have with your followers to nudge them down your sales funnel.

4. Check by Keyword

All right, this update is probably the biggest and most awaited update for 2021 on Instagram.

For the app as a whole, this might be a game-changer of how companies communicate with customers and vice versa.

A keyword search is the change we’re talking about.

To date, if they wanted users to discover their content, companies had to include hashtags and locations in their posts and/or Instagram bio.

This was because hashtags made it searchable for their content.

Yet Instagram is beginning to test keyword searches in 2021.

This means that, even if it’s not a hashtag or venue, users will search for a keyword in the Instagram search bar and find posts and accounts that have that keyword in their material.

This update to Instagram parallels how Google-like search engines function.

Putting the keyword you want to rank for in your content on your website is a popular SEO activity.

Similarly, an Instagram spokesperson said that the team takes into account “a number of variables,” including the “type of content, captions when it was posted,” and more to decide the search results for a search query that the app would display.

To “find the highest quality content that is relevant to you,” it also incorporates machine learning.

For now, according to the spokesman, only grid posts will be seen, and the search feature will be limited to “general interest topics and keywords that are within the community guidelines of Instagram.”

Some individuals, for instance, already see that they can look for puppies or pasta.

To help gain the extra reach from individuals looking for that exact keyword inside Instagram, you will want to be more strategic with the keywords you are incorporating into your captions.

And, like most modern social media features, if you can start using these new Instagram updates early before your rivals do, the algorithm typically gives you more favour.

When these patterns really start to skyrocket and take off, this will put you ahead of the curve.

You can use clickable links on Instagram and push free traffic from the app to your website with these easy-to — implement strategies.