NEW: Host a Personal Fundraiser on Instagram!

Have you heard? There’s a new way to fundraise on Instagram and it’s perfect for creators and small businesses! 

Instagram’s latest feature is a response to the rise of fundraisers to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And with the ability to create personal fundraisers on Facebook already available, it’s a logical next step.

In this blog post, we’re covering everything you need to know about fundraising on Instagram for your business:

Host a Personal Fundraiser on Instagram!

According to Instagram, more than $65 million has been raised for causes related to COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement this year — from raising money for medical equipment to funding educational resources. 

Previously, if you wanted to raise money on Instagram, you could use the donation sticker in your Instagram Stories or raise funds on an Instagram Live — specifically for nonprofits and charities.

But with the new fundraising feature, you can now raise money for a personal cause. So what does this mean for creators and businesses?

A small business owner could fundraise for an upcoming event, to help support their staff due to COVID-19 cutbacks, or to raise funds for a fellow business-owner in need. 

Likewise, creators could raise money for a cause they support, like Danielle Coke. Her fundraising goal is to provide educators in the US with prints and posters of her allyship and anti-racism artwork.

This feature takes fundraising on Instagram to another level — and allows for an array of causes to be supported and funded.  

Instagram confirmed it will be rolled out in the US, UK, and Ireland in the coming months, alongside plans to make it easier to share fundraisers in your feed and Instagram Stories. 

If you don’t have access yet, sit tight! It could be coming your way soon. 

How to Create a Fundraiser for Your Brand or Business on Instagram 

If you have a social cause you care about and are aged 18 or over, Instagram’s new fundraising feature could be perfect for your business. 

Here’s how to get started:

Step #1: Set up Your Fundraiser

First, tap “Edit Profile”, find “Add Fundraiser”, and then click “Raise Money”. 

You’ll be prompted to select a cover photo, add a title, pick a currency, and the best category for your fundraiser. 

There are 14 fundraiser categories to choose from, including:

  • Business 
  • Community Projects and Groups
  • Crisis Relief
  • Education
  • Family
  • Hobbies, and more

After adding a description of your fundraiser, you can enter your banking information for Stripe (Instagram’s payment processor for donations). 

TIP: Treat your description as an Instagram caption — don’t rush it. It is an opportunity to tell your story, the cause’s importance, why you’re passionate about it, and to encourage donations.

Step #2: Set Up Payouts to Your Bank Account 

Now that you have your cover photo, description, and category all set, you’ll need to connect your fundraiser to a valid bank account. 

After your payment information is added and saved successfully, your fundraiser will be reviewed before it goes live. Once it’s given the green light, you’ll be able to fundraise on Instagram! 

Technically, your fundraiser will last for 30 days, but you’re allowed to extend it an unlimited amount of times. 

Once your fundraiser is live, you can promote it across your social channels. 

It should feel part of an overall content strategy, so it’s a good idea to remind your audience about the fundraiser on Instagram Stories or through the captions of your feed posts. 

You’ll be able to see who donates, along with how much they donated. 

TIP: If you have time, send everyone who donates a Direct Message thanking them for their support — this personal touch is a great way to acknowledge contributors and strengthen the sense of community around your business.  

Will you try this new feature and fundraise on Instagram? Let us know! Join the conversation on AV Digital’s Instagram account.

8 Popular Instagram Trends of 2020 (So Far!)

We’re a little more than halfway through the year, which means it’s a great time to review the best Instagram trends of 2020 — especially the trends we predict will stick around!

From Instagram’s sharp turn into e-commerce, to hashtag challenges, carousel posts, and even branded AR filters, a lot has (already!) happened in 2020.

To help keep your business ahead of the game, we’re highlighting 8 of the biggest Instagram trends of 2020:

Instagram Trends 2020 #1: The Rise of Instagram Shopping

Instagram has always been a shopping destination of sorts — even before it launched any e-commerce tools.

But with the introduction of tools like Instagram Checkout, where shoppers can buy products on Instagram without leaving the app, and Facebook Shops, which allows businesses to build online stores on both Facebook and Instagram, shopping has become an even bigger part of how people both view and use Instagram in their day-to-day lives.

instagram trends 2020

Even as COVID-19 forced thousands of businesses to pause operations, shopping on Instagram is live and well. In fact, Instagram released more e-commerce features in the past few months than they did in all of 2019!

Here’s just a few that caused a stir:

  • Facebook Shops and Instagram Shop: both announced via Facebook Live in mid-May
  • Instagram Live Shopping: currently being beta-tested with a select number of businesses
  • Expansion of Instagram Shopping: a global rollout to more businesses and creators which was announced in late-June
  • and many, many more!

instagram live shopping

There are also plenty of shopping features that are in closed beta and set to be released more widely this year — like Instagram Checkout and Shopping from Creators.

shopping from creators

So it’s no wonder why businesses are investing in Instagram Shopping! Thanks to all of these features, businesses can build immersive digital storefronts to promote and sell their products directly on the app.

They can also market their products by partnering with influencers (via Instagram’s soon to be released Shopping for Influencers feature), getting products featured on the Explore page, running Instagram Shopping Ads, or by sharing Instagram posts and stories with product tags.

And these tactics work — according to internal data, 130 million Instagram accounts tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month.

Instagram shop

Instagram Shopping presents a huge opportunity for brands not only to influence and inspire shoppers but also to sell to them. If you’re an e-commerce brand looking to increase your online sales and you haven’t gotten started with Instagram Shopping yet, 2020 is definitely the year to do it.

Instagram Trends 2020 #2: Carousel Posts Level-up Information Sharing 

Instagram has always been a place of inspiration, but in 2020 we’re seeing a real shift in informational content coming through!

And the best way to share detail-dense content on Instagram? With carousel posts!

With the ability to share up to 10 images in one post, carousels are the perfect tool for storytelling, as well as breaking down heavy information into digestible bites.

Carousels posts have long been popular with brands looking for a fun, yet detailed, way to show off their products. Brands like Supergoop have mastered the perfect carousel to not only highlight their products but to also help followers make an educated purchasing decision:

But 2020 has seen a shift in brand sales and purchasing behaviour, and in its place, Instagram has become a space for social awareness and education.

Throughout May (and beyond!) the Black Lives Matter Movement saw millions of informative and educational posts on Instagram. And the carousel post has never been more valuable for mass information sharing:

We’re seeing brands, creators, and influencers alike use Instagram as a place to educate, and we predict this “destination education” trend is going to stick around!

From how to support small business through COVID-19, to brand’s social missions, and deep-dives into detailed topics, the carousel post has been a great asset:

And with the arrival of Instagram Guides, along with visual carousel posts and long-form captions, we could see Instagram be the new place to blog.

So if you’re a blogger, vlogger, or creator, it might be time to invest in carousel posts on Instagram and start micro-blogging your content!

Instagram Trends 2020 #3: Instagram Live Goes Mainstream

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force people to stay inside, some pretty interesting trends have emerged on Instagram — like how everyone is suddenly flocking to Instagram Live.

And no, it isn’t just you! According to Facebook data, Instagram Live views increased by 70% from February to March 2020.

instagram live

Of course, within the context of COVID-19, the sudden surge in live streaming makes a lot of sense.

Instagram Live broadcasts are one of the best ways to connect with your followers in a direct, transparent, and authentic way — especially when real-life get-togethers are impossible.

As brands and creators look for new ways to interact with their followers during lockdown, Instagram Live offers a practical, easy, and effectivey way to keep in touch.

instagram trends 2020

Given this surge in live streaming, Instagram announced several new features for Instagram Live, including a new button to upload your Instagram Lives directly to IGTV when you’re done, the ability to watch live broadcasts on desktop, and support for businesses and creators with Instagram Live Shopping and Instagram Live Badges.

While shopping and badges are both still in closed beta, we expect them to drive even more Instagram Live usage in the coming months.

instagram live badges

There’s no question that hosting a virtual event is a great way to provide a valuable service or entertainment for your audience to take part in, which can work wonders for building brand loyalty and trust.

Plus, you can strategically use your Instagram Live to promote your paid products or services and use Instagram Live’s built-in features to help drive traffic back to your site.

Instagram Trends 2020 #4: IGTV Takes Center Stage

IGTV has been on the up for some time now, but 2020 is the year the long-form video platform takes center stage!

Part of this can be linked to the improvements that Instagram made to IGTV last year, like allowing users to cross-promote their IGTV videos on Instagram and providing support for both vertical and horizontal videos.

But another major factor that is certain to drive-up usage even further is that creators can now start making money from IGTV with ads!

instagram monetization: make money on instagram

This is big news for the platform as it’s the first time creators will be able to make money directly from IGTV since its launch in 2018.

According to Instagram, the 15-second long IGTV ads will begin showing up in IGTV from a select group of partners and advertisers in the US with plans to continue expanding globally.

Look out for ads from brands like IKEA, Puma, Sephora this week as they, along with other test partners, will be the first to launch IGTV ads.

Popular creators such as Avani Gregg and Salice Rose will be among the first to test out the new monetization feature, with a wider, international release in the coming months.

But even if you aren’t a creator, IGTV is a great channel to reach new audiences, grow your engagement, and even capture leads!

Which is why we’re seeing so many brands create content for IGTV — like Lululemon and Mejuri.

Influencer marketing on IGTV is definitely a trend we expect to see more of in the future. And while a lot of brands are starting to take to IGTV, it definitely isn’t overloaded yet — meaning it’s a great time to get started with the platform and flex your video muscle!

Instagram Trends 2020 #5: New Instagram Stickers to Support Small Businesses

There’s no denying that 2020 has already been a challenging year for small businesses and startups.

With so many businesses forced to close their doors and pause operations during the lockdown and social distancing, Instagram became a lifeline for many brands to stay financially afloat.

And Instagram responded with a ton of great features and tools to help small businesses that went beyond shopping tools!

With the new Support Small Business sticker for Instagram Stories, people can mention the small businesses they love directly in the sticker to give their followers a preview of the account.

support small business sticker

When people use the sticker, their story will be added to a shared Instagram story, so their followers can see it along with other businesses that people they follow are supporting.

And it didn’t stop there! Instagram also released new stories stickers and profile buttons for buying gift cards, ordering food, and donating to fundraisers.

When a user sees gift cards or food orders, they’ll be able to tap to make a purchase through a partner site — creating an opportunity for small businesses to offer affordable products for their following, while still delivering a service!

Almost overnight, Instagram saw a shift from the mega-brands holding center stage on feeds and stories, to small businesses and brands getting tons of exposure from their supportive community.

Facebook also announced its small business grants program, offering  $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.

This shift towards supporting small businesses is a welcome change in 2020, and one we hope will continue. Along with the new Instagram Stories stickers tailor-made for supporting small businesses and the expansion of Instagram Shopping to more creators and businesses, we’re excited to see how the Instagram community will work together to weather the storm.

Instagram Trends 2020 #6: Instagram Challenges 

From #FliptheSwitch to #TrickShot and #DontRush, 2020 has been the year of social media challenges — and not just on Instagram! TikTok has also been hugely important in driving the challenges trend.

But the biggest driver has been… well, quarantine life.

As more and more people stay home to flatten the curve, social media challenges have blown up as a way to stave off boredom while having fun with friends and family.

In fact, challenges have been so popular that Instagram created its very own challenge sticker for stories to streamline the process of giving and receiving nominations for challenges!

Now if you see a challenge you want to participate in while scrolling your friends’ stories, you can join instantly by tapping on the sticker.

instagram challenges

This will bring you to the Instagram Stories camera where you can record your challenge and then nominate a few friends.

And while challenges are best suited for regular users, we’ve also seen a lot of brands take part in (and initiate their own) Instagram challenges.

Take the design app @over. Their monthly #OverDesignChallenge is a perfect fit for their community of design enthusiasts, while also increasing awareness of the app’s creative editing and design tools and features.

LA-based brand @cultgaia also jumped on the trend with their #cultgaialetsdance challenge.

For every dancing video posted on Instagram, CultGaia pledged a $25 donation to the No Kid Hungry charity.

Whether you’re simply taking part in a challenge or launching your own, Instagram challenges are a great way to keep boredom at bay while entertaining your followers!

Instagram Trends 2020 #7: Memes are Taking Over

Memes are really popular on Instagram — like really, really popular.

But for a long time, they were reserved for meme accounts — accounts on Instagram that exist for the sole purpose of creating and sharing memes like @fuckjerry@ladbible, and @mytherapistsays.

instagram trends 2020

But that’s beginning to change.

In the last year or so, brands and businesses have also started jumping on the meme bandwagon, breaking away from the highly curated feeds of 2018 in lieu of something a little more authentic and a lot more fun.

It was really just a matter of time. Memes are meant to be relatable, relevant, and highly-shareable so they’re perfect for increasing engagement and even driving product interest.

instagram trends 2020

Take @ritual for example. The modern vitamin brand often posts fun, pop-cultural memes that show off its ethos and brand values — all while engaging their audience in a relatable way.

The same is true for @hims. They often share playful memes that entertain their audience while drawing attention to their product in a peripheral way.

These are just a few ways that businesses can use memes on Instagram! Just remember that while they’re fun and super-versatile, it’s important to stay on-brand with the Instagram memes that you post.

Instagram Trends 2020 #8: Branded AR Filters

Ever since Instagram opened Spark AR Studio in mid-2019, the platform has become inundated with artists and designers creating their own unique effects for Instagram Stories. And the results have been, well, pretty amazing!

In case you’re unaware, Spark AR Studio is an augmented reality platform for Mac & Windows that allows you to create AR effects for mobile cameras. Think of it like Photoshop or Sketch, but for augmented reality.

Until last year, if you wanted to submit your own custom AR effects on Instagram Stories, you had to be accepted to the closed beta program… but now anyone can create and submit effects!

And one of the biggest trends to emerge from this is branded AR effects.

instagram trends 2020

Take @summerfridays for example. The skincare brand has several AR effects that you can access directly from their Instagram profile:

instagram trends 2020

There are many reasons why AR can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses — but one of the biggest has to do with freedom of creativity.

There are countless applications for the technology: cosmetics brands can use AR to let their followers virtually “try on” makeup, furniture brands can use AR to show what their products would look like in people’s homes, and fashion brands can use AR to create virtual fitting rooms, allowing people to try on shirts, sunglasses, or entire outfits to see how it fits their shape and style.

instagram trends 2020

Whether you’ve decided to create your own AR filter for your brand or incorporate some cool existing AR effects into your stories, it’s a great way to grow your account.

6 Tips For Shooting Videos Of Yourself On Your Own

How many times have you looked at your camera or phone and thought—today is the day I’ll shoot that video…

And how many times have you decided, “Eh… maybe I’ll do it tomorrow.”

🙋‍♀️*Raises their own hand*🙋‍

Shooting a video of yourself on your own is a daunting task, but we’re here to show you that it’s not as tough as you think. You can create high-quality videos at home or in your office, without fancy camera gear. Just using a phone, a quiet space, good lighting, and the right angle you can record videos that viewers will think involved a lot more fancy equipment.

Here are 6 tips for shooting videos of yourself on your own, so you can make high-quality videos for your followers, warm leads, and customers.

#1: Find a Quiet Spot

When you’re shooting video, there are 2 things you want to be most concerned with: audio and lighting. We’ll talk about lighting in Tip #2, but for now, we’ll focus on audio. Whether you have or don’t have, an external microphone—you’re going to need to make sure the environment that you’re recording is as quiet as possible.

Recording next to a window above a busy street is going to create a lot of background noise that you won’t realize exists until you’ve finished recording. That noise is distracting and gives your video a lower quality feel. By avoiding that street-side window, you’ll be able to amp up your audio, even if you don’t have the most expensive microphone on the market.

#2: Find Your Best Lighting

Aside from audio, lighting is a crucial factor for shooting videos at home. People (including you!) don’t want to watch a video of someone with loud background noise and dim lighting. It makes you feel less authoritative, weakening whatever conversion you’re trying to get from your video.

There are 2 options when it comes to lighting: find it or buy it. Natural lighting is always ideal, and natural lighting with extra lights around you is more ideal (but you don’t need that). To shoot with great lighting, find the brightest room in your home or office—this may change throughout the day—and figure out what the best time is to shoot videos. For example, the morning might be the best time or mid-afternoon. Between good lighting and audio, you’ll be able to fool anyone watching your video into thinking you have the best tech gear available… even if you’re just using your phone.

#3: Get Your Angles Right

If you’re looking down at the camera or up at the camera—your video is going to throw off the viewer. You don’t want them focusing on your chin or the top of your head, you want them looking at you just as they would if you were sitting across from them talking. Getting your angle right will ensure your video has a natural and conversational feel—which is exactly what you’re aiming for when marketing your business or products.

Tripods are by far one of the easiest video equipment to finagle at home. You can use drawers, nightstands, shelves, books, decor, etc. to prop up your camera or phone so that it’s at the perfect angle.

#4: Use The Best Camera Available To You

If you’re using a camera—then you’ve already got the best camera available to you. If you’re using a phone to record your videos, make sure to use the best camera on your device. For example, on the iPhone, the back-facing camera is the best camera. It takes better quality videos (4K) which means that’s the best camera available to you, not your front-facing camera.

Using the back-facing camera of a phone also keeps you from looking at yourself while you’re filming. You want to look at the lens of the camera while you talk—if you look at yourself on the screen your recorded video will look like you’re talking slightly away from the person watching the video.

#5: Do A Test Run

Ah, the infamous test run. The marketers who do test runs are the ones that have recorded a 10 minute (plus!) video only to find out that their angle was off, their camera was out of focus, or their microphone wasn’t turned around. And it always stings—always.

To avoid making these mistakes, do a quick test run of your video before you jump into the recording. Record for at least a minute to make sure that your lighting looks good, your audio sounds good, you are in focus, and the angle is right. Trust us on this one.

#6: Be Honest With Your Audience

If you’re usually in a studio recording high-quality videos OR if this is your first time recording videos for your audience—tell them. Being honest with your viewers, whether they’re prospective customers or paying customers builds the relationship between you and them. Instead of pretending that you’re not at home recording videos when you used to be in a fancy studio, tell them about it. Or, if this is your first few videos, tell your audience, “This is one of the first videos I’ve recorded.”

Then, ask them to give you feedback. If you’re recording videos for social media, their feedback, in the form of comments to your post, is going to boost your engagement and help them keep seeing your content (ah, the classic Facebook algorithm).

If you’re recording videos for a paid membership, asking them for their feedback on how to improve your videos is going to make them feel more attached to the final product. In both cases, you’re creating a better relationship with your followers, prospects, or customers.

We told you at the start of this article that shooting video of yourself on your own was a daunting task—but not a challenging one. Using these tips, you can record videos of yourself that have everybody fooled into thinking you’ve got the latest video tech, all while you are shooting from your bedroom.