Things are heating up just in time for Summer as Instagram releases new updates that are sure to keep us very, very busy this season and next…

Here’s what’s on tap.

1 – A fancy new camera for Stories, aka Create Mode.

Stories finally got a much-deserved redesign last week as Instagram rolled out a brand new camera, making users’ favorite tools available at the swipe of a finger. Haven’t seen it? Head on over to Stories, click Camera Mode and soak in the new look and feel. See the semicircular mode switcher? Cool, now swipe right to find Boomerang, Superzoom, and Rewind or swipe left to add stickers, GIFs, text and more.

Also coming soon to Create Mode are pure text stories. Instagram will no longer require users to snap or upload a photo/video first before adding text. Now it’ll give them the option to start with a text-only story.

What does that mean for you? More tools, more fun. You’re welcome.

Create Mode gives you more tools to customize your Stories.
Image via The Verge

2 – Introducing the new Creator Profile – should you make the switch?

Some of us have seen our favorite influencers post about IG’s new Creator Profiles and have been wondering what that’s all about. Well, apparently it’s a new profile option similar to Business Profiles, that’s rolling out this year. Like with Business Profile, users will have access to in-depth analytics. However, with a Creator Profile, users will also have the ability to:

-see exactly what content is resonating with their followers by following/unfollowing data,

-prioritize direct messages (DMs) by filtering what messages they want to see first, whether it’s by brands and friends or ranking them by relevance and time,

-and designate their preferred method of contact (email, text, call or DM), giving them new ways to interact with their audiences.

But with all the pros, there are cons. Unlike Business Profile, Creator Profiles will not be connected to the Instagram API, which means creators will have to post on-the-go vs. using a third-party scheduling tool. Plus, rumor has it that these profiles will only be available to influencers with at least a 10K+ following.

What does this mean for you? Honestly, nothing as of right now. This feature is in testing mode and will slowly roll out. Our recommendation: let Instagram work out the kinks before you make the switch. We’re positive that Creator Profile 2.0 will be the much improved version. And who knows? You might just be able to schedule your content instead of posting it on the fly.

3 – Following influencers just got more fun or more expensive, depending on how you look at it.

You’ll soon be able to buy products from your favorite influencers (woohoo!). Instagram is testing a new dedicated shopping tag that’ll let influencers, artists, and celebrities tag what they’re wearing, so followers can shop until they drop, without ever leaving the app. Sounds pretty stellar, right? Well, don’t get too excited yet. These shoppable tags are only available to the cream of the crop including the likes of Kim K., Ronnie Fieg, Chiara Ferragni, and a few others. Keep your eyes peeled for their sneak peek.

What does this mean for you? It means $$$. If you’re an influencer/celeb/artist/creator, then get ready to rake in the cash. If you’re a user, get ready to spend it. With the new shopping tag, influencers will act as real salespeople for the brands they love and drive purchases directly within Instagram, making it easier for brands (and social media managers) to attribute Sales directly to influencer marketing and measure ROI.

Instagram is making it possible to shop directly within the platform.
Image via Instagram

4 – Hidden Likes.

The rumor mill has been buzzing lately, as users have seen their likes come and go. Disappearing likes are part of Instagram’s not-so-secret campaign to return the platform to its OG days when people connected with friends and shared what they wanted when they wanted without caring about the increasing pressure to generate likes. Also on the agenda is Instagram’s all-out war on fake likes and third-party bots that compromise the authenticity of the platform and create unrealistic expectations for the average user. According to the new head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, these efforts are part of Facebook’s larger campaign of wanting users to…

“worry less about how many likes they get and a bit more on connecting with the people they really care about. As you scroll through your feed, you won’t see like counts. You’ll see who liked a photo or video, and can tap to see the full list. If you have time, you can add them all up, but only the owner will see the actual number of people who liked the photo, if they ask.”

So far disappearing likes have only hit the Canadian market, but our intuition says that we’ll soon experience the phenomenon on this side of the border.

As with most changes, the idea of hiding likes may seem scary at first. But we kind of love the idea of helping Instagram return to its brighter, more authentic days when the app focused on community over competition. We think that this new change is bound to encourage users to have more fun, be more creative and try new things, which is a welcome change of pace from the overly polished, fake feeds that we’ve all grown too complacent to challenge.

What does all this mean for you? We suspect that the biggest impact of “disappearing likes” will be felt at the influencer-level. Historically, brands have chosen which influencers to partner with based on their following but later transitioned into viewing engagement as a more telling metric. Likes, as a result, were a critical piece of this puzzle. Without this metric, brands will have a tougher time connecting with influencers, which means influencers will have to get creative on how they attract and retain relationships.

Some experts even say that it could mean a move away from influencer marketing into other areas. But, at Gallardo Labs, we aren’t jumping onto that bandwagon anytime soon. With shoppable tags on the horizon, we see the use of influencer marketing only going up. What was once a guessing game of how many people saw, liked and then purchased a product, will become a trackable impact on the bottom line.

From a user level, we see this as a HUGE opportunity to have fun and be yourself without the unnecessary pressure to “perform” at all times.

Image via @wongmjane

5 – Create your own filter.

Yes, you read that right. Starting this Summer, you’ll be able to create your own augmented reality (AR) filter on IG Stories, using Spark AR, a recently closed beta software that allowed select brands and designers to create filters. At this year’s F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced that over a billion people used Spark AR effects last year across the Facebook universe, including on Instagram, Facebook, Messenger and Portal, and that as a result, Instagram would be rolling it out to all users.

What does this mean for you? Like with Create Mode, you’re about to get a whole arsenal of creative tools that’ll help you take your Stories to the next level.

6 – Fundraising made easy.

Now, you can raise money for nonprofits directly on Instagram Stories with donation stickers (currently only available in the US). How does it work? Snap or upload a photo to Stories, swipe up to see the sticker tray and find the donation button, tap it and search for the nonprofit you wish to support. Click on the organization, customize the button however you like and hit done. Now you’re ready to share with your followers. Once shared, you can view how much you’ve raised by swiping up on the Story and the full amount will go directly to the nonprofit you chose.

What does this mean for you? Well if you’re a nonprofit, it means an easier way to fundraise. If you’re an average user, it means you can easily advocate for and support your favorite organizations all without ever having to leave the app. Sounds like an all around win to us!

Image via Facebook

7 – Safe mode on.

Instagram has declared war on bullying and has promised users that it “cares deeply about the issue.” The app is exploring new ways to make the platform safe again including testing “Away Mode,” a feature that lets users opt out of Instagram during sensitive periods (i.e., during a break up). The hope is that “away mode” will give users the chance to silence notifications without having to go to extreme lengths (i.e. deleting their account).

Also, in testing is Instagram’s new “nudge” feature that aims to stop bullying before it happens. How does it work? Well, let’s say you’re about to leave a not-so-nice comment on someone’s post. Before you can hit “publish,” you’ll receive a “nudge” from Instagram asking you if you really want to post that. The idea is to warn you away from leaving a hurtful comment.

What does all this mean for you? It means giving you more resources to combat internet trolls and to take a breather from the platform when you need it most.

Image via Engadget

That’s all for this week!

What do you think about all of these changes? Excited? Nervous? #CantEven? #OverIt? Spill the tea on Instagram @GallardoLabs!

Posted by:Lore Zeledon

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