With the constant social media innovation, it’s no surprise that Instagram recently announced that its platform will support live streaming as well as disappearing video and messages. Sound familiar? Disappearing messages and videos are what made Snapchat famous, and Facebook (which owns Instagram) rolled out Facebook Live earlier this year to promote live streaming within its app.

Instagram has hopped on the bandwagon and is vying to be the social media platform of choice. It’s already one of the most highly used social media apps around, but with these integrations, it may just become the one-stop shop for social media.

If you have an Instagram account, you should have received a direct message video from Instagram which detailed the new updates and functionalities. If you missed that video or aren’t on Instagram, we’ll explain what’s new and how to use it for your small business social media marketing.

Instagram Stories: Live Video

In August, Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, which provided users with the ability to post as many video clips as they’d like to curate their day without clogging up their profile stream. Now, the Live Video update from Instagram upped the ante for ‘of the moment’ interactions. Users can now stream video live a la Facebook Live. When someone is live streaming, a selection of their followers are notified so they can watch, engage, comment, and interact in real-time with the person streaming. It’s an amazing way to connect with your followers and give them access to your brand in an authentic and spontaneous way.

Similarly to Instagram Stories, Instagram Live Video notifications are sent to users who are most likely to find your stream interesting, based off of algorithmic parameters. How frequently followers engage with your profile and their overall Instagram activity will dictate who sees your streams. This is all in service of providing the most useful and relevant content to users, as was Instagram’s overall goal when they introduced Stories.

Instagram produced this helpful instructional video to show you how to use the new Live Video feature.

Another notable piece of Live Video is that you can search for top videos in the new “Top Live” button, which can be found within the search page. This means your streams are not exclusive to your followers, and live video is a new way to gain followers and improve your social presence within Instagram. In case you’re having trouble envisioning the search function, screenshots of the Top Live button and searchable content are below.

top live video screenshot images

images courtesy of The Verge

Disappearing Videos and Messages

If you love the disappearing videos and messages on Snapchat, this feature is just for you! You can now send direct messages to specific followers or groups of followers that instantly disappear once they’ve been seen. Personalize each message by drawing on it or adding effects just like Snapchat. A fun benefit is you can see who has watched it, if the video has been re-watched or if someone took a screenshot of the message. Disappearing messages take only a few seconds to make and you can send them off with a tap of a button.

For the step-by-step details, here’s another tutorial straight from Instagram.

These updates are certainly fun additions for casual Instagram user, but what does this mean for small businesses? These two updates allow businesses to market themselves more effectively on social media. Posting at strategic times and with specific outcomes in mind, a small business can glean major success from Instagram. These ‘of the moment’ and limited time content drive engagement and participation from audiences. If done well, they’re a means to developing loyal followers and more customers.

Consider including Instagram as a major component of your business’s social media marketing strategy to get the most bang for your metaphorical buck. If your small business adopts this technology before big name influencers, your brand can generate significant social media traffic and awareness. Beware, though, as Instagram operates based on an algorithm, so organic content can get lost if you’re not engaging your target audience and followers on a continual basis. Monitor what your followers are responding to and analyze your social media data to create the most compelling media campaigns within Instagram.