Instagram is a social beast in terms of growth and engagement. Despite the fact the social channel recently has seen its engagement numbers drop, it still dominates Twitter and the all-mighty Facebook. The platform is still growing too; back in September, it reached 400 million users and is still seeing consistent expansion. Videos watched on Instagram grew a whopping 40 percent in the past six months. Many brands have still yet to adopt the visually-driven network, however, which is beginning to seem like a very unwise decision.

Recently, Instagram has made some updates to its platform and implemented new features that are a potential goldmine for marketers and business owners alike. And while some fear that the news of Instagram’s algorithm change will all but kill organic reach, this is actually a good thing, which you’ll learn all about below.

If your business has yet to incorporate Instagram into its social media efforts, it’s time to change that. Here are a couple powerful reasons why your company needs to be on Instagram, stat.

The Algorithmic Update

Per the usual with most any social media algorithm update, marketers are calling this the death of organic reach within the entire platform. This is not exactly true. As Instagram pointed out, with the way the platform works, users currently miss up to 70 percent of the posts on their news feeds. When the new algorithm goes into full-effect, it will rank posts by relevance to the user, the relation the poster has to the user, and how recently something was posted. It will no longer be solely based on the time of publication.

While the relation factor may damage organic reach a bit, relevance will recoup those losses and then some; granted you are doing your job and posting fantastic content. For a brand’s posts to be truly valuable and relevant to users, the content produced has to be top notch. Too often brands are cranking out content just to get seen; not to provide their audience with real value. Curalate vice-president of account management Olivia Herron said the algorithm change will affect content offerings perfectly.

“I’m excited about the change to the Instagram algorithm given that consumers miss 70 percent of their feeds when it’s solely viewed in chronological order,” she said. “This change will surface the best performing content and ensure that images seen are both relevant and highly engaging. It also means that brands need to think more about the quality of the content and calls-to-action that they are posting, rather than the quantity of content.”

Fellow marketer Chris Tuff, 22squared’s director of business development, echoed this sentiment: “If you pay to create good, quality content, then pay to promote it. And don’t waste time creating sh***y content. … It probably just got more important to ensure the quality of anything you post. Only the best will succeed.”

The point is, this change will not kill organic reach; in fact, it may even improve your standings as long as you are offering up creative visual gems that your followers love consuming. Keeping in mind that engagement on Instagram is absolutely stellar when compared to any other social network, these new updates could potentially be a huge win for anyone promoting through the social portal.

Ad Campaigns Add Value

The most profound, and potentially impactful, change that Instagram made in recent months is the decision to implement the use of ads with all of the same options that can be found on Facebook. This is massive news because this will allow marketers to leverage Instagram in an entirely new way.

The use of user-generated content in ad campaigns will not only speak directly to the heart and soul of Instagram users, but will help to cultivate authenticity, trust, loyalty, click-ability and so much more for any brand that leverages UGC. And with Instagram already achieving double the click through rate of its parent company, Facebook. Additionally, according to a Nielsen Brand Effect survey, ad recall is already three times higher than typical Nielsen rates. What these metrics are pointing to is massive success and potential sales for advertisers. Plus, it will be very easy to implement as it can all be done from a mobile device.

With Instagram opening these floodgates, revenue is expected to reach an astounding $2.81 billion by next year. With everyone looking to cash in on the gold rush that is Instagram advertising, now is the time to claim your stake as well.

On top of the changes already discussed, Instagram is in the process of building out several other elements to help businesses optimize their presence. Soon enough, business profiles (akin to those on Facebook) will be available alongside more robust data metrics on postings, and more.

And did you see the huge announcement on March 29? Instagram quadrupled its max video time; videos can now last up to 60 seconds. That’s 10 times the length of Vine; and a great opportunity to tell your story in video form to a very agreeable and engaging audience. Instagram may not have instantly landed on the must-use social list, but these recent changes land it right near the top. If you’re already on this platform, these changes in no way reflect a setback, but a call to arms; a call to sharpen your spears and make your brand all the more efficient this year in the visual media realm. Dive in full force and enjoy these new features before your competitors.

How do your foresee Instagram’s updates effecting your business’s presence on the platform? Do you think the new ad features will balance out any negative impacts that occur? How will you use the 60-second video allowance?

By in Featured Social Media Social Media Marketing