Five Instagram Features to Focus on in 2020

Esther Wyse Account Manager

Esther Wyse, Account Manager

Introducing the fourth in a series of blog posts brought to you by OST Marketing. In this chapter, our Account Manager and micro-influencer, Esther Wyse shares her favoured Instagram features and how to harness them as a part of your social media strategy for 2020. Download the ebook for the full 2020 social media marketing strategy checklist.

With one billion people using the platform every month, including thousands of influencers in their respective sectors, Instagram is the focus for many consumer brands on social media.

Engagement on Instagram remains roughly ten times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter. And with 80% of Instagram users following at least one brand, there are genuine opportunities to build powerful brand followings on the platform.

If you’re seeking to invest in Instagram in 2020, here are five of the key features you should be focusing on:


Over 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day, making it the predominant marketing feature on the social network. It may sound obvious, but if your brand is still only posting images and video clips to your stream, you’re really missing the biggest opportunity on this platform.

Close Friends

In 2018, Instagram added ‘Close Friends’. This clever feature allows you to share your Story with a chosen select group of people, rather than your entire following. This opens up a world of new opportunities, yet the feature remains little known or used.

Here’s what you could use it for:

  • Sharing exclusive content with influencers, invite them to events and give them previews of product/service launches. Exclusivity is the name of the game with influencers, so by offering special access to content, you can get ahead of the competition.
  • Rewarding your brand’s superfans by giving them VIP access to information and products. This generates strong relationships and rewards your reliable consumers.
  • Enhancing your employer advocacy by making your employees Close Friends and then updating them with company news privately.

The one current limitation of this feature is that you can only have one Close Friend’s group, so you’ll need to pick your most valuable audience to focus on.

Instagram Create Mode

Create Mode gives Instagram a flexibility that it’s never had in the past. Usually, an Instagram Story would start with a photo or video before users add text, stickers, polls, quizzes and countdowns, etc. But now, with Create Mode, photos and videos are not necessary. Users can create Story posts by using a variety of options, including GIF formatting, quiz suggestions and the very popular “On This Day” function. “On This Day” enables users to re-post a previous feed post, much like a throwback feature. Brands could benefit by sharing older posts that accumulated particularly good engagement rate on days where there is not much else to share. Everyone loves a bit of nostalgia!

Examples of Instagram Create Mode Filter building 

Instagram now allows you to build your own filters and AR effects using Facebook’s AR platform Spark AR Studio. This Augmented Reality filter tool has been designed to be used by any skill level and is quite intuitive and simple to navigate. Users can add textures, face filters, games and much more to their Instagram stories, and companies can increase brand exposure by creating and sharing images/videos comprising custom-branded filters.

Branded filters can only be used once consumers follow a brand or visit their page, so brands that already have large Instagram audiences should definitely be exploring this exciting opportunity.

Below are examples from Gucci, Kylie Jenner and Adidas.

Gucci Filter, Kylie Jenner Filter, Adidas Filter Discount codes

Reward your audience with exclusive Instagram discount codes. These codes can be linked to current events or television shows that you know your audience are interested in. For example, you could post a discount code, ‘LOVE10’, aimed at ITV’s Love Island show viewers and share it to the #loveisland hashtag during the TV broadcast.

You can also share your exclusive code for a limited time with the swipe up Story feature. This is only available for accounts with more than 10,000 followers – or on image/video posts.

Thank you for reading! If you want to find out more, download our full ebook here – or get in contact with us at hello@ostmarketing.com


Jeremy Taylor
Date: 15th January 2020
Category: Blog Influencer Marketing Social Media Strategy

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