Instagram on Tuesday announced new features for businesses, soon after launching a payments feature that lets customers buy products and services directly on the social media platform. The Facebook-owned service has introduced a simplified inbox for those businesses that utilise Instagram Direct, and in the coming weeks will begin testing quick replies. It has also brought new action buttons, helping businesses convert interested parties into actual customers. Finally, Instagram says it will soon release a new series of in-product tutorials to guide business on the best practices to use the service to connect with customers. In its statement introducing the changes, Instagram said over 200 million daily active Instagram users visit a business profile each day.
Let's start with the new simplified inbox for Instagram Direct users. The company said over 150 million Instagram users have conversations with businesses through Instagram Direct each month, and that a third of those messages beginning with an Instagram Story. From Tuesday, businesses will be able to better manage messages from users - they will now see new customer messages in their Direct inbox, rather than in the pending folder. Businesses will also be able to star and filter conversations to help them easily navigate to messages they want to follow up on. Finally, the company said it will start testing a quick replies feature in the coming weeks that will allow customers to quickly respond to common questions.
Next up, are the new action buttons - claiming to make it easier to "turn discovery into action", the new action buttons include such options as Book, Get Tickets, Reserve, or Start Order, powered by third parties such as delivery firms and payment processors. This will give end users the ability to perform these actions without having to leave Instagram. The buttons are initially rolling out powered by a limited number of partners, including: Acuity, Atom Tickets, Booksy, ChowNow, Eatstreet, Eventbrite, Fandango, GrubHub, MyTime, OpenTable, Reserve, Restorando, Resy, SevenRooms, StyleSeat, Tock, and Yelp Reservations. Partners that will be onboarded soon include Appointy, Genbook, LaFourchette, Mindbody, Schedulicity, SetMore, Shedul, and Vagaro. More details on how to add action buttons can be found on the company's support page.
Finally, Instagram says it will release a series of in-product tutorials, containing tips on how to plan posts, create engaging content, and also grow your community. These tutorials will be available in the settings of the app, under Tutorials, Instagram said.