This week saw the introduction of a new feature from Instagram: they introduced the ‘name tag’ feature which is designed to enable you to share your profile username more easily with others. Each profile has unique code and when this is scanned by another user they can access your user profile and choose to follow you. This works when you meet people face to face and also in print.
If you’re reading this and thinking ‘so what’, then you’re not alone! I asked my Digital Jodie Instagram followers and other small businesses to see what they thought. Turns out that we actually have a long wishlist of features that we wish Instagram would introduce!
So if you often find yourself getting frustrated with Instagram you might find solace in the list knowing that you’re not alone.
11 features that small business owners wish Instagram would introduce next.
1. Live links
One of the things that I get frustrated by is the fact that you can only have one live link on your Instagram account. In your personal profile you can add a link that people can click on, but when you are writing a caption on an image or replying to a comment, you can’t use a clickable link! You can copy and past a link for sure, but it doesn’t make it ‘clickable’ by someone reading your caption. They would have to manually copy and paste the text which is a bit of a faff.
Judy Bartkowiak from NLP family says, ” I wish I could link a photo to a page on my website rather than having to change the link each time in my profile. For example, if I am posting about parents, link to the parent page rather than the more general home page. Yes, my link is generic, but I may be posting about something quite specific.”. Helen Diplock agreed: Links! I don’t get why you can’t link in posts; it would make life so much easier.
2. Paragraphs on Instagram
Tahlia from ‘Tailored by Tahlia’ made a great suggestion: “I can’t wait for the day Instagram lets us use paragraphs in captions”.
This is such a great point! I see more and more of us writing longer captions (you can have up to 2000 characters), but even though you can create paragraphs when you write the caption, they get scrunched up when you hit publish. There are various workarounds: you’ll see people adding in full stops, dashes and emojis and one article suggested I copy and paste a space that was between brackets, but that didn’t work either!
3. Instagram Lists
Claire from ‘Flip Flops or Wellies’ suggested that she’d like ‘a list option like Twitter so you can catch up on some favourite feeds’. This would be very useful if you follow lots of types of accounts on different themes: one tap would mean you could see all the updates on a particular subject. Galiee from Social Sheen agreed: “Purely from a management perspective I’d love some form of lists of groups to help segment the people I’m following. But safe to say I don’t think this will ever happen!”
4. Chronological order
When Instagram was first launched all of the posts appeared in your feed in chronological order, but they have now changed it to an algorithm of what they think you will like to see, based on your interactions with other accounts.
Michelle from Fifty and Fab Blog said, “I’d love to have the option to see my feed in chronological order again or another way to choose what I want to see, I feel like I miss a lot!”
If you want to see more posts from specific accounts, then the best thing you can do is to like and comment on their content as this signals to Instagram that they are a relevant user.
5. Comments in order
It’s not just posts that aren’t in order, Paula from wildrootsmarekting said “when I go through a lot of comments in order to reply, they don’t seem to be in a sensible order? One is separated at the top from the others.”
I had a few suggestions on hashtags. Michelle from Fifty and Fab would like “a warning that I’ve used too many #hashtags rather than it just deleting my caption and me having to rewrite it because I forgot to copy it’!”
7. Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are fast becoming one of the most popular parts of Instagram, but they have their own quirks too. Antonina Mamzenko from www.mamzenko.com said: “I wish they added more stylish fonts to Stories, so I could match my branding better. There are external apps for that, but who has the time?” Marti from weebitsocial commented : “I just want Instagram stories to work!” I know what she means! My Instagram Stories crash every time I try to publish a short video!
8. Swiping up for links on Instagram Stories
You may have noticed on Instagram Stories that some accounts mention a blog post or product and then say ‘swipe up’ to read the post or buy the product. But this feature isn’t available to us all. In fact you need to have 10,000 followers before this works! I can understand that Instagram want to incentivise people to grow their accounts, but this sky-high figure seems to value numbers over engagement and is perhaps encouraging some to use ‘bots’ to automate their feed to help them get to their magic 10k number.
Laura from More than a Mutha agrees: “I wish they’d roll out the swipe up option to all business accounts not just those over 10k.” This was also mentioned by Claire from Making Words Come Alive. She says: “Dear Instagram swiping up for a link from stories for us mere mortals who are not at 10,000 followers yet! Plus at least one live link in captions and comments. Am I being greedy?”
Michelle from fifty and fab agrees too! “Swipe up please why are we not good enough because we are under 10k”
I’d like to see this 10k figure lowered, or for it to be measured on engagement instead of just followers. I feel like Instagram need to do more to support small businesses and bloggers and not just the bigger influencers.
Instagram has always shied away from built-in scheduling tools as they like the ‘instant’ part of their name: they want things to feel ‘of the moment’. But I find most people use Stories for these type of messages now. There are third-party scheduling tools available but in my experience, they still feel like a workaround or they can be glitchy.
10. Desktop uploads
In my ‘Instagram for beginners’ workshops, I often find that people are amazed that they have to do ALL of their uploading from their phone and that they can’t use their computer. I confess that this is also my excuse for buying the best iPhone that I can afford at any given time: from the palm of my hand I need to be able to do so much!
Shelley Betts from The Little Signers Club said: “To be able to upload videos from desktop. And cross post from FB to IG rather than just the other way around.we have a lot of lovely videos that parents send us and that we have done ourselves over the years. In order to load to IG I will have to upload to my phone from desktop and then transfer across. The videos are really the social proof for my little company and people love to see them on FB so I know they will be loved on IG too. It would be brilliant to have a better way to get them uploaded.”
11. Sharing posts
Social proof and user-generated content are big buzz words in marketing. If you sell a product and someone shares an image of them using it on Instagram it seems a bit daft that there isn’t just a ‘share’ button like there is on Facebook. There are apps that you can use (I use ‘Repost App’) and you can also take a screenshot, crop it as a square and then share it, remembering to tag the account, but this is quite a faff!
Lianne from Bertelli Communications said “I’d like an easier way to share posts that you like rather than having to use a separate repost app…It’s a pain thats what it is!
Mary Norman from the Patchwork Dreamer agreed: I would like to be able to share others things. I would like to be able to put links on individual posts all in the same Instagram page and not have to flick from this app to that.
So there we have it! quite a long wish list for Instagram to consider. I wonder what they will think of next! Do drop me a comment if you have something else you would like to add to the list!
I’m a photographer and content creator working specifically with small businesses. If you like what you’ve been reading so far then you’ll find lots of useful tips and tricks on my Instagram profile: search for @digitaljodie.