Instagram is arguably one of the more exciting places for medium sized businesses to be these days.

With huge ease of use and a seemingly endless amount of potential, it is attractive for agencies and their clients.

But what does 2017 hold?

We will take a look at some of the potential changes coming up in this new year, and how they may affect your work for clients on the platform.

What’s 2017 Looking Like On Instagram?

Mobile will become even more important

Instagram works astonishingly well for businesses on mobile, and that’s a good thing. It is fairly obvious that mobile is becoming even more vital for business, and any agency that ignores this is simply fooling itself. More people than ever spend most of their time on social through their mobile.

If you’re an agency and you manage a business account on Instagram, it’s time to have a quick but thorough look at how things are going. As a way to engage with an audience, it’s powerful stuff, but only if it is managed well.

If you’re in need of an Instagram audit, get stuck in. Ensure your client’s bio is short and snappy. Make a resolution now to create imagery that shows your client’s personality as a brand. Set up your own personal quality standards for the images that your client presents to the world on the platform. Believe us on this. Instagram is a key place for engagement, and the more comfortable your client looks on mobile, the better.

Instagram mobile

Watch as Instagram video (and its spin-offs) blow up

If you’ve not encountered Boomerang yet, it’s time to get acquainted with it. It’s just one part of how the platform manages video, but the neatness and the fun aspect of Boomerang have already made it a great way to engage with people.

But Instagram has also debuted live video too, which is currently rolling out worldwide. The whole thing is becoming professional, quick and a marketer’s dream. We reckon that this year will see all Instagram video products being used by the savviest brands, and that’s where you come in as an agency. Get comfortable with it, and start to explore how you can make video on the platform an established part of your client’s Instagram presence.

Instagram live video

Stories? It’s going to settle down a little

Instagram Stories has been something of a huge success, with 100 million plus users already established and enjoying the tool. But we think 2017 will also have a couple of little extra surprises with this aspect of Instagram’s dominance. There won’t be huge changes this year, but we think 2017 will show some tweaks that make the Stories experience that little bit smoother and easier to use.

There have been a number of speed issues reported by users, and you may have experienced them yourself as an agency. The problems are not pretty, and they may have even turned your clients off using Stories. We expect that is going to change in the next twelve months. As with most things even remotely Zuckerberg related, a polished product will gain even more sheen as it grows. Expect to be exploring Stories in even more depth this year.

We also expect the filters from Facebook to be more of a feature in an upcoming update on Instagram. Okay, it’s a Snapchat steal, but Facebook isn’t shy about that, and as a way of making sure that Instagram becomes even more attractive to brands, it’s an obvious move.

Instagram Stories

In fact, we reckon that a filters ‘update’ will be well in place by halfway through 2017. It just makes sense to bring it on over from Facebook and make it a big part of how Instagram can be ‘pretty’ and ‘cool’. Watch this space.

We also fully expect Stories being added even more to the Explore functionality in Instagram which will make it a bigger and more accessible feature. Who knows, with the winding down of Vine, video makers have to have somewhere to go.

And Direct?

You will be forgiven for not hearing much about Instagram Direct. It’s the messaging tool the platform hosts. It’s had a reasonably low profile, but we think this year will show Instagram jumping on it, and making it even more accessible.

It has the ‘disappearing’ messages thing that Snapchat pioneered, but we think it will move towards more functionality, especially along the special effects road. Expect to see a prettier version, and more marketing dollars spent on it. For your clients, this means even more ways to connect, and disrupt the landscape.

It’s generally going to get bigger

Instagram is owned by Facebook. Don’t forget that. You can expect to see a platform that grows massively and one that changes too. But the figures behind that growth tell the same story.

It’s just going to get bigger and bigger in 2017. And the best thing about this is that it allows brands to truly express themselves through it visually. With video sharpening up and the platform gaining numerous tweaks throughout the year, you will see a platform that becomes essential for any brand that is seeking more engagement.

Growth is not an issue. If we were to pass any piece of advice to social media agencies, it would be to ensure that your client’s current presence on the channel is optimised, and to ready yourselves for a year that will make Instagram one of the key social media platforms for brands.

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