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We’ve all heard that change is the only constant, and that’s never rung more true than in the digital marketing world. Social media is always changing and evolving, whether it’s social media demographics, the latest trends and memes or new algorithm updates.

In order to help you, as a marketer, stay on top of these changes, we’re touching on a few Instagram trends that defined 2019 as well as bringing you a few trends to expect in 2020.

Stay ahead of the curve by ensuring these top Instagram trends are ready to go in your 2020 social media strategy.

1. IGTV takes center stage

When IGTV first launched, it wasn’t quite clear how it was performing or what it would bring to marketers’ Instagram strategy.

However, after a few changes and updates to the Instagram platform as a whole, IGTV is still alive and well, and will likely continue to rise in importance throughout 2020.

First, Instagram has added an IGTV tab to their Explore page navigation, giving users even more opportunities to find videos and content creators they’re interested in.

Next, Instagram also added the option to include previews of IGTV videos within a user’s regular feed, helping people to discover accounts they follow that are also creating long-form video content. All you have to do is toggle the on button for this feature when you publish a video.

Not only that, but the platform has also allowed for landscape video content, making it even easier to share existing video content your brand has already created. While their initial venture was to increase the creation of vertical video, things like this need baby steps. Adding the ability to upload horizontal video content gives even more content creators easier access to IGTV.

So what does this mean for your brand? It means that you should absolutely consider adding IGTV to your Instagram strategy in 2020. Creators are seeing more and more views on their IGTV videos, making it a great tactic to test for your business.

Ways to use IGTV:

  • Share existing video content, including in landscape format, to reach a greater audience.
  • Create vertical video content specifically for IGTV.
  • Consider creating an IGTV series that your audience will love.
  • Share previews of your IGTV videos to your feed to reach more viewers.

2. Instagram Stories aren’t going away any time soon

Since their creation in 2016, Instagram Stories have been fast growing, reaching 500 million daily active users by early 2019. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop.

In fact, the company is only making it easier to share your stories with more and more people, adding in the option to share all of your Instagram Stories to Facebook automatically, so that your friends and followers can see them as well.

This feature exists for both personal Instagram profiles and business Instagram profiles, and is a great way to cross-promote your content so that you can reach a greater audience.

Instagram has so many great features to take advantage of within your Stories as well. Add music, make them interactive – we’ll touch on this more in a bit, incorporate animated stickers and more. Even as 2019 closes out, Instagram is still expanding the functionality of Stories, including the addition of multi-photo Layout collages.

More and more brands are focusing on story content even more than content for their feeds, and you should do the same. While feed content becomes less necessary – consider sharing content to your feed 2–3 times each week – you should be updating your Stories daily.

Ways to use Instagram Stories:

  • Cross-promote your content to your Facebook Page.
  • Take advantage of the tools inside Stories, like fonts, coloring tools, Boomerangs, stickers and more.
  • Once you reach 10k followers, start linking to your website content regularly to boost traffic.

3. Generate revenue through Instagram shopping

Instagram has incorporated enough shopping features that the platform can almost become an entirely new revenue stream for your e-commerce business. And when over 130 million users are tapping to view Instagram shopping tags on photos each month, this is definitely a strategy you want to be using.

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If you have an online shop, you can get started by setting up your shop with Instagram. To learn more, check out our article covering everything you need to know about selling on Instagram.

Instagram has added so many features to improve shopping on their platform, like the ability to tag products in your posts, tagging products in your Stories, and even checking out and completing entire purchases on the platform.

There’s even a Shopping tab on Instagram’s Explore page, making it even easier for users to find products to buy.

Ways to use Instagram shopping:

  • Tag a product anytime it’s referenced in an Instagram post or Story.
  • Enable in-app checkout so your followers can easily buy from you directly through Instagram.
  • Incorporate the promotion of your products even further into your Instagram feed strategy.

4. Tweets and memes are taking over Instagram

It’s always interesting to see content and ideas from social media platforms make their way onto other platforms and feeds, and this has become exceedingly popular with tweets and memes.

Instagram isn’t always about having that gorgeously curated feed anymore. In fact, there are several accounts dedicated specifically to memes and other brand accounts that bring them into their marketing strategy.

But what has taken Instagram by storm and will continue to be a trend in 2020 is sharing screenshots of tweets in your Instagram posts and Stories.

These can be your own tweets or another user’s tweets, but be sure to include their Twitter handle and tag them if they’re on Instagram to give the creator credit.

Tweets on Instagram all tend to have the same look – a small screenshot of the tweet centered in a square background using one of your signature brand colors.

This can be a great way to share other expert opinions in your industry, bring a bit of humor and reshare some of your top content or best replies from fans across networks.

Ways to share tweets on Instagram:

  • Share opinions and thoughts from experts in your industry.
  • Bring a bit of humor into your feed with a casual feel that still invokes your brand colors and style.
  • Create a pattern in your Instagram feed of tweets and memes versus product or stock photos.

5. Find even more content in the Explore tab

Instagram keeps making it easier and easier for users to find new accounts to follow, which is a great thing for your business. More than 200 million users visit the Explore tab each day, helping your brand be seen by even more people.

As we mentioned before, there are tabs for “IGTV” and “Shop,” but you can see in the above example that there are other categories too, like “Nature,” “Decor,” “Travel” and more.

The content on each individual user’s Explore page is catered directly to their activity on the platform, so you need to ensure you’re marketing to your audience correctly if you hope to find a space in your target customer’s Explore area.

Ways to get on the Explore page:

6. Make your Instagram content interactive

I told you we’d get more into interactivity later in this post. Interactive content is huge right now for brands on many channels, not only trending on Instagram, but the platform does make it incredibly easy for you to jump on the bandwagon.

Instagram Stories includes features like polls, quizzes, questions and more to give your audience the opportunity to interact directly with you and your content.

To add interactivity into your Instagram content, open up the Stories dashboard, take your photo or upload your content, then tap the stickers icon to access all of your content options.

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This is a fun way to get your audience’s thoughts and opinions. You can add interactivity just for fun, or you can use it strategically for market research and to gather ideas for future products, services and launches.

Ways to use interactivity:

  • Create a countdown until the end of a giveaway
  • Add a poll or question sticker to get your audience’s opinions
  • Test your audience’s knowledge with a quiz
  • Allow your audience members to join a private Q&A chat

7. Authenticity in Instagram content

Instagram isn’t all about the flawless photos and hyper-curated feeds anymore–to an extent. It’s becoming more about real life, and what things really look like.

While many brands and influencers still ensure they have a gorgeous and cohesive feeds, more and more users are posting photos of real life, like bad days, behind-the-scenes fails, untouched photos and the like.

Take this carousel post from influencer Hillary Conheady (@hillheady) for example. While the first photo is of a professionally taken photo, her followers can swipe to the right to find a behind-the-scenes video of her tripping and falling.

While many of her followers see her in stunning outfits and professional photos, this type of content helps her to seem more real and authentic to her audience.

Brands are starting to incorporate this sense of authenticity into their own Instagram strategies as well. Whether it’s sharing unedited photos, messy workspaces, having real people behind the brand chat on Instagram Stories or focusing on writing conversational captions, authenticity is winning out again and again.

Ways to be authentic:

  • Use diverse, untouched models in your product photography.
  • Share real, behind-the-scenes content showcasing life as a CEO, social media manager, freelancer or other roles in your organization.
  • Focus more on connecting with your audience than curating a flawless Instagram feed.
  • Start incorporating content like memes and tweets for a relatable feel.
  • Use a carousel post to keep your feed beautiful while still providing behind-the-scenes images after a user swipes.

8. Influencer marketing on Instagram

Last, but certainly not least, influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere. This is a tried and true strategy that works, especially on Instagram. And while it may change and evolve, it continues to be a trend year after year.

What you’ll notice in 2020 is a lot less feed content and a lot more Story content. As a brand, you need to be aware of how influencers you plan to partner with post their content. Story content and feed content come at different costs – particularly because Story content disappears after 24 hours – so this is important to discuss when creating a package.

Micro-influencers – those with less than 25k followers – actually tend to receive higher engagement rates than influencers with a larger following, so keep this in mind when pinpointing which influencers to work with. More followers is not always better.

Working with influencers can look like a lot of different things. Whether they’re showing off your product, like in the example below, visiting your business, or talking about using your service.

Ways to incorporate influencer marketing:

  • Find influencers whose audience aligns with your brand’s audience
  • Reach out to them with your specific campaign goals in mind and what you’re hoping to gain from this partnership
  • Work out a package with pricing and what the influencer will do to promote your business
  • Create a hashtag to make it easy to track your influencers’ success with the Sprout Smart Inbox

What Instagram trends are you most excited about in 2020?

There are always new and updated platform features, so it’s important to keep up with what Instagram trends today are. Keep these eight trends in mind throughout 2020 and be sure to use our tips to start incorporating each of them into your strategy.

Get help with your Instagram management by signing up for a free trial of Sprout Social to see how much easier we can make social media management for your brand and your marketing team.

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