Now, anyone who knows me knows my favorite form of social media is Instagram—and Instagram just happened to make some pretty cool updates that social media junkies—like myself—are very excited about.

Instagram recently updated its search and explore feature to be more user friendly and Twitter-like. Before, the search and explore feature only allowed users to search hashtags and people.  It also provided content based off of what a user recently liked or searched.  It was a pretty basic feature that was not very beneficial for brands. It made it difficult for brands to serve their content to their intended potential audiences unless they used paid supported posts.

Now, with the new updates, the first thing to pop up under the search and discover tab on Instagram is “trending tags.”  The “trending tags” section displays the hashtags that are currently trending on Instagram.  As a result, it makes it easier for people to use the platform beyond their personal feed, which is good news for brands.

The new update also displays a collection of posts from various groups on Instagram, and allows users to click on the sections to discover interesting content.  These sections will change twice a week, currently the sections include:

  • Extreme AthletesInstagram
  • Towering Rocks
  • NBA Rising Stars
  • New People
  • Trending Places

So what does this new feature mean to social media pros, or in my case aspiring social media pros?  It allows them to create content focused around already trending conversations.  This in turn, allows social media specialists to better promote their brand on Instagram without paying for a promoted post.

Before the updates it was hard for brands to get other users, besides their followers, to see their content.  Now the new update makes it possible for users to discover content they will find interesting and enjoyable, but might not have ever known existed.  It is a great place for users to explore different brands, and not just the few friends they follow.

These new features do not only change the way Instagram users think about the app, but changes a social media specialists strategic strategy for a brand.