Instagram, News, Social media,
A round-up of recent updates to Instagram
With more than 2.3 billion total users globally and more than 1.3 billion monthly active users , Instagram remains one of the biggest social media players and has the potential to help veterinary practices around the world connect with target audiences in meaningful ways.
One of the reasons why Instagram has maintained its position at the forefront of the social media landscape is because it constantly adapts and develops, introducing new features and functionalities for both individuals and businesses to leverage in order to increase reach and engagement.
So, let’s take this opportunity to run through some of the most recent Instagram updates and look at how you might incorporate them into your veterinary practice’s social media strategy.
Notes and location tags
The Notes feature launched at the end of 2022 and are essentially brief status updates that can be delivered directly to the DM inboxes of your audience.
Instagram is currently trialling location tags within its Notes feature, which, if fully rolled out to all users, will mean that you can show local pet owners exactly where they can find your practice in just one tap.
One of the most talked about new features is Threads, which allows users to share links and text, video and photo updates, all in one handy place. Additionally, other Threads users can reply to updates, follow accounts they are interested in, and quote, share, like and repost content to their own page.
Plus, when new users create a Threads profile, it is automatically linked to your Instagram account, which makes it incredibly easy for people to find you.
Now, we’re not suggesting that your veterinary practice should be on Threads right now, however, it is always worth claiming your Threads handle because it might be a feature that becomes relevant to your social strategy in the future.
If you do want to get started with Threads now and you have the time to invest in this new feature, there are so many opportunities here for you to connect with your pet owners in new ways. As well as broadcast style announcements highlighting new services or special promotions, you could also use Threads to ask questions and gather feedback from owners that will allow you to further tailor your content to their needs, wants and expectations.
If you’re familiar with Facebook Groups, Instagram’s new Group Profile feature is very similar. Essentially a Group Profile allows people to share Reels, Stories and feed posts with other group members, which Instagram hopes will help people to connect with other people over shared interests in a centralised space.
This feature is in the process of being rolled out, but by all accounts, the testing phase appears to have been a success, so it is reasonable to expect that it will be available to all users shortly.
There are many ways that your practice could utilise this feature, depending on the ways in which you want to engage with your audience on Instagram. It could, for example, be a good way to interact directly with new puppy or kitten owners, both sharing information about your services and your expert advice whilst also encouraging conversation and the sharing of everyone’s individual experiences.
Links in bio
Yes, links plural!
Before this update, it was only possible to share a single link in an Instagram bio. We know what you’re thinking and, yes, there are already existing workarounds. However, they rely on third-party providers such as Linktree to function.
It may have taken longer than expected, but Instagram has clearly recognised that a single link is no longer enough and has made it possible to add more than one external link to your bio.
To start making use of this feature, tap on ‘edit profile’ and select ‘links.’ When you have added your additional external links, make sure to organise them so that your most important link is at the top. Think about the pet owner’s user journey as well, what do you want pet owners to find on your website easily?
We don’t recommend including more links than is necessary. We are all already presented with so many different options when we’re browsing the internet, so you don’t want to risk adding to the decision fatigue that your audience may already be experiencing. It can, however, be helpful to link to your registration form, your appointment booking and perhaps health plan information.
The Instagram app has been updated to allow posts to be scheduled in advance, which is something that users have been requesting for a very long time. While this feature is currently fairly basic and doesn’t allow users to cross-post content to more than one Instagram account or another social media platform, it’s great to finally have the ability to schedule content in advance for publication at a specific time.
It is not possible to pin up to three image posts or Reels so that they always appear at the top of your profile page. Evergreen content works best here, such as an introduction to your practice and your team. However, if you commit to regularly switching out your pinned content, you can also emphasise seasonal offers and educational content by placing them front and centre on your page.
In September 2023, broadcast channels were officially rolled out to Instagram users in the UK. Broadcast channels are designed to help you connect with your community in a deeper and more direct way, as you can invite your followers to your channel and share everything from quick text updates to images, videos, and even voice notes. Only you will be able to send messages, but your followers will be able to react to your broadcast content and share their thoughts via polls.
In the future, we expect that it will also be possible to invite another creator to your broadcast channel, allowing you to collaborate and provide even more value to your audience.