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Happy Birthday, Instagram! The Newest Features You Should Be Using

Do you remember when Instagram officially launched? Well, believe it or not, it has already been 10 years since the photo sharing app entered into the social media world. In honor of Instagram’s 10th birthday, we wanted to give you a few ways you could be utilizing some of the newest features Instagram has introduced this year. 

The Donation Sticker

Instagram Donation Sticker

As the pandemic caused businesses and other organizations to shut down, Instagram came up with a new way to help raise funds for causes. When used in stories, the Instagram donation sticker allows users to donate directly to your cause with just a few clicks. According to Instagram, over 500 million people use Instagram stories every day, so why wouldn’t you want to promote your fundraiser through them?

So how can this work for your school? Ask yourself a few simple questions. Does my school have a foundation? Does my school raise money for events? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then you should be utilizing the donation sticker. Once your school or organization is set up in Facebook’s charitable giving tools, and it is approved, it will be available for anyone who uses the sticker in their story. Posting the donation sticker in your story periodically can help reach people you wouldn’t normally be able to.

Instagram Reels 

By now, many of us have heard about or seen Instagram’s new video feature called Reels. It’s very similar to the oh so popular TikTok app, but it is designed specifically for Instagram. Instagram Reels allows users to make short, 15-second videos or combine multiple clips to create entertaining videos. Creating videos on Reels doesn’t take much video editing background, and the content can pretty much be about whatever fits your brand. Reels can be shared publicly and placed on the Explore page or they can be shared privately just with your page’s followers. Either way, they are a fun way to interact and connect with your students, parents, alumni and followers. 

If you have students active on social media, it’s likely that they have created a TikTok before (over 30 percent of TikTok users are aged 10-17 years old according to Statista), and that means they would be able to create an Instagram Reels video without any problems. Getting together a group of students and brainstorming some video ideas with them could set your school’s Instagram account apart from the rest. 

Instagram Reels screenshot
Photo via Instagram

Instagram Messaging on Desktop

For a very long time, Instagram was only a mobile-friendly app, but in recent years, many of the features have been adapted to accommodate users on desktop computers. Most recently, Instagram introduced its messaging feature for desktop users. After doing some research, Instagram found “an increased usage of the desktop website during weekdays and daytime hours (6am – 2pm), while the native apps see an increased usage during evening hours (5pm-7pm) and weekends.” The desktop usage time span coincides with the time most of us are in the office, and the time where our phones are probably in our hands the least. 

Now, it’s easier for whoever is monitoring your Instagram account to reply back to users without having to move from one device to another. Easier access makes interacting on the platform less of a hassle throughout your already busy day. 

Instagram direct messaging screenshot
Photo via Instagram

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