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Instagram Adds Collaboration Options for Feed Posts and Reels, New Music Engagement Features



Instagram has added a new way for users to collaborate on feed posts and Reels, while it’s also adding some new music-focused, AR-aligned features to help encourage music engagement (*cough* TikTok) within the IG experience.

First off on its new ‘Collabs’ option – as you can see in these screenshots, users will now be able to invite others from the tagging screen in the post composer to collaborate on a post or Reel.

Instagram Collaborations

As you can see in the note in the third screenshot above, users will be alerted to collaboration requests with an in-app pop-up, which further explains that, if accepted, that collaborative post will then appear on both users’ profile grids, and be shown to each of their audiences in the app (based on regular algorithm parameters).

Both users will also appear on the final post/Reel, and each will be able to access organic insights, including view counts, like counts, etc.

Instagram Collaborations

Interestingly, Instagram is keen to point out that ‘this is not a way to co-create content, rather to co-author a post or reel’. Which makes sense, as the post will be coming from a single creator. But the underlying message here is that this is not a collaborative posting process, like a Brand Partnership post, but rather a means to tag friends, and maximize reach among connections in common in the app.

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Which leans into the TikTok-type engagement approach of getting friends involved, and building community in the app. TikTok’s Duet option is a more overt, creative approach on this front, while TikTok also prompts users to tag others in the caption of their clips to build participation (note: Reels also includes a ‘Tag friends’ prompt).

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Instagram’s collaboration elements align with the same, and will enable users to generate more reach and engagement by getting their posts seen by a broader, combined audience of each collaboration partner.

Which could also, theoretically, be applicable to brands. But again, Instagram already has its Branded Content tags and collaboration tools in place for these types of partnerships, so not really a brand tool, just for personal use. Though it’ll be interesting to see if, and how, it does get used for such purpose, especially given the FTCs recent crackdown on undeclared endorsements.

In addition to this, Instagram’s also adding some new music-focused creator tools, with ‘Superbeat’, which adds effects to a video, aligned to the beat of a song, and ‘Dynamic’ and ‘3D’ lyrics, providing new ways to display song lyrics during video clips.

Instagram music tools

Given the prominent role that music plays in TikTok sharing, Instagram is very keen to integrate the same, with the platform also adding a new ‘Audio’ tab to its search listings back in August, which enables users to find Reels that have utilized samples of any song.

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And these new music effects do look interesting – but whether they’ll be a hit, and keep users from switching to TikTok instead… probably not.

That’s always been part of the problem with Instagram’s approach here, and Facebook’s more broadly – while they are able to create good-looking, even innovative visual tools and options, they tend to lack the cultural nous to catch onto new trends, and build tools that then lead to viral sharing and engagement.

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Which is what I expect will happen here – these look pretty cool, and could, maybe catch on. But ultimately, TikTok’s robot voice captions will remain more popular, despite being far-less advanced, and TikTok or Snapchat will likely come out with another tool that looks less polished, and less advanced, but does essentially the same thing, and it will end up being a bigger hit.

Cultural awareness is key, and it’s difficult to hire for in tech roles. But as the trends keep showing us, again and again, it’s not just the best, most advanced features that win out, it’s those that catch on with users that drive the most awareness and value for apps.

Instagram’s new music features are being rolled out from this week, while its collaboration tools are now being tested with selected users.

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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August





Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …





Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android





Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly


We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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