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Instagram has truly kept us busy this year, spoiling us with updates. It’s updated its algorithm, added topic channels, offered video chat, direct messaging and IGTV, as well as adding Q&As and poll options to its stories.

The updates have been so many, so often, that we thought a recap would be a great way to break them down.

The Instagram Algorithm

The algorithm actually changed back in March this year and means that posts now appear depending on relevance and ‘timeliness’.

What this means for you: It means you should post more frequently, when your audience is most active. You also need to encourage engagement and reply promptly in order for you to appear at the top of the feed.

Topic Channels

This is a very new feature for Instagram but it is already becoming a huge success and has potential to help brands in particular. It makes the ‘Explore’ feed show relevant topics that the user is interested in, which they can then click into and browse.

What this means for you: It means that you should definitely harness your hashtags. Topic Channels also show suggested hashtags at the bottom of each page, so using hashtags as a marketing strategy can help you get seen in these new areas.

Video Chat in DMs

Direct messaging is a popular way to send a user or potential customer more information, but Instagram has recently added a single-click Video Chat feature. It literally takes one click.

What this means for you: It means you can easily and instantly reply to questions with a handy video, whether it be a demonstration, showing directions on a map or speaking to your customer face-to-face, it’s a perfect way to show that they have your undivided attention.


This is one of the biggest introductions that Instagram has given its users this year. IGTV allows Instagram users to share longer videos that can last up to an hour, and create their own video channels.

What this means for you: If you post regular video content, you are updating a channel that users can follow. This is a very powerful tool because it’s new, exciting, educational and very immersive. If you keep your audience listening, watching and sharing hour-long videos, you can become well-established on a channel that has yet to peak.

There’s never been a better time to build an Instagram following and engage with that audience.

If you have any questions about your social media or need inspiration for social media posts, contact the Fill the Gap team on 01522 581 911 and we’ll be happy to help.