Instagram Commits to Safely Improving Post Engagement

By BKV in Social Media on January 19th, 2017

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Engagement with targeted prospects is a primary reason companies are so enthusiastic about social media marketing. However, image-bookmarking tool Instagram has trailed its peers in offering conversation and engagement features on user posts. The visual nature of the platform and company concerns about user safety have contributed to delays.

Instagram recently added some important engagement features into posts, and the company remains committed to safety. The following is a look at how these changes impact social marketing on this channel.

New Engagement Features

The two new major engagement features Instagram added to its platform are comment likes and replies. Previously, users had to indirectly tag others in a comment below the image to interact. This approach limited direct conversations.

The new like feature appears as a heart shape next to a follower's comment. This engagement tool motivates commenters and offers feedback on the quality of their comments.

The more impactful engagement opportunity is the reply tool on comments. Posters, or other followers, can now reply directly to someone who shares a comment. This reply function enables ongoing interactions between poster and users, or among users, which are in line with capabilities of popular tools like Facebook and Twitter.

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Image Saving

The ability to save images to your profile by clicking on a flag icon from your timeline is another new Instagram feature. Though not a direct form of engagement, this important option allows posters to achieve greater ongoing exposure for quality images.

For users, this image-saving option is private and safe. No one but the individual saving the picture can tell that the picture is saved. The image goes to your profile and you can access it at any time. For brands, this increases the lifeline for your posts.

Keeping Users Safe

Despite adding engagement features that help brands, Instagram is still protecting the privacy and security rights of its users. Posters concerned about negative comments can now turn comments off on a post-by-post basis. The user goes to "Advanced Settings" and selects to "Turn Off Commenting" at the time of publication.

Some Instagram users have special privacy concerns, and opt to maintain a private account. Up to this point, approved followers were difficult to remove if problems arose. Now, you can remove people who follow your private account. The company is also promoting a new self-injury reporting system that encourages people to submit anonymous reports when they're concerned about posts that imply a desire to harm oneself.


Whereas other social media platforms seem to take an engagement-first and safety-second approach to features, Instagram has steadfastly prioritized safety. These new engagement opportunities present tremendous branding potential, but hold to the company's safety commitment to users.

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