With 1.38 billion users that spend an average of 53 minutes daily on the platform, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms out there. 

What makes it so engaging and entertaining is not just the way content is presented to users but that the platform has evolved over time to fit the needs its users have.  

Instagram offers tons of opportunities for your small business to not only build brand awareness but also to drive sales. However, to expand visibility and reach your audience with Instagram, you must leverage every feature available to you. It’s highly likely that you’re making the most of the common Instagram features. You’re creating stories, reels, and posts, but are you truly getting the most out of this powerful marketing tool?

In this guide, we’ll discuss six Instagram features that are underutilized. We’ll tell you what these features are and the benefits of using them. Let’s dive straight in! 

1. Link in Stories 

Previously, the option to link to a specific webpage was only available for verified accounts or those with more than 10,000 followers. In October 2021, Instagram abolished those requirements and expanded the ability to add links to stories to all accounts. 

The Meta-owned social media giant made the new feature even better. The link sticker is now more conspicuous, and you can add it anywhere on your story. In addition, the sticker shows story viewers the domain of the destination link, allowing for more transparency

This is a must-use feature if you want to boost organic engagement, increase conversions, and make it easy for your followers to access your content. To achieve the best results, add a clear call-to-action and customize your link sticker to marry your brand and design.

2. Sell on Instagram

Instagram is a huge marketplace and an effective channel for boosting sales. More than 200 million Instagram users visit more than one business account daily. Out of this number, 44% use Instagram to shop.

This brings us to the next underutilized Instagram feature: shopping tags. Instagram shopping tags enable you to tag your products in the photos and videos you share. They contain the product’s details like price, product description, characteristics, and link to purchase on your website.

Viewers simply tap on the shopping tags to purchase or learn more about the product. If you use Instagram to attract new customers and drive direct sales, the shopping tags are a must-use feature for your business. They help followers discover and even buy your products with ease. 

3. Collab with Partners

The Instagram Collab is a relatively new feature that’s catching on in social media. If you haven’t been using this feature, you aren’t giving your post the impetus to trend and earn high engagement. 

Before the introduction of the Collab feature, there were a lot of duplicate posts on Instagram, especially if you needed to use collaborators to widen your reach. You had to post to your account; then the collaborator would repost the same content to their own account. This created a scenario where you were competing with yourself for likes and views, leading to low engagement rates for both of you.

Secondly, when you used to tag someone on a Feed, it added an extra step for the users. They had to click the photo to see the tags and tap again to get to the tagged user’s profile. This unnecessary step is one reason why customers drop out of the funnel. 

Instagram Collab remedies both issues. When you create a post, you invite the collaborator. Once the collaborator accepts, the post is shared with both sets of followers. The most interesting and crucial part is that Collab posts live in both Profile Grids with a shared view count and comment thread, enhancing engagement and discoverability for both accounts. 

According to Vishal Shah, VP of Metaverse, Collab posts are currently in beta, and you’re limited to one collaborator per post.  

4. Geotag Your Location

Instagram enables you to reach people from all corners of the world. An Instagram post or video can potentially be seen by buyers from Brazil to Australia and everywhere in between. While that reach is great, sometimes all your business needs is a more granular, local reach. 

For example, you’re a renowned cowboy bootmaker in New York. Your latest design is highly acclaimed for style and durability and is giving the Lucchese boots a run for the money. While you’re based in New York, your largest customer base is in Texas, and you want to reach that clientele more than anywhere else.  

Your caption on an Instagram photo or video won’t help you in that regard. What’s important in this case is the Instagram geolocation tag. As the name suggests, the geolocation tag lets you tag a specific location in your posts and stories (in this case Texas). 

This way, your post will be visible not only to your followers but on location pages in Texas. This helps your target audience discover your latest custom cowboy design. The geolocation tag is an effective way for local businesses to reach nearby customers or for global brands that want to engage users in specific regions. 

5. Send Push Notifications

Push notifications are another feature that many businesses deem to be of no real value. While you don’t necessarily have to turn them on for your business account, you should ask your followers to accept push notifications from your business. Here’s why: 

According to one study, users who have enabled push notifications to engage with respective brands three times more than those who haven’t. When users turn push notifications on, they’re notified every time you post, and that could be the key to boosting your engagement levels. 

6. Use Alt Text on Instagram

Alternative text, or alt text, is the description that appears in place of an image if the image fails to load. It’s useful in search engine optimization (SEO) as it tells search engines like Google what’s happening in the image.

When it comes to Instagram, alt text is such a vital element that shouldn’t be overlooked for your images. Alt text improves the searchability of your Instagram posts and increases the probability of your content reaching a wider audience. 

Moreover, adding alt text to images helps you reach visually impaired followers who don’t use Instagram the way other people do. This group of followers has to use assistive technologies like screen readers to get your message.

Screen readers don’t translate images. Instead, they read out the alt text of on-screen images. If the images don’t have alt texts, the screen readers will have nothing to read aloud — so your message won’t reach these specific audiences.  

Use These Instagram Features to Boost Performance

Social media is constantly evolving and changing to make the experience more engaging for users. It’s important to become familiar with all the different tools and releases that Instagram has to offer. Create unique, engaging content that performs well. Using these features will improve your reach, enhance your engagement, and boost your conversion.