In the app’s continuous effort to increase accessibility and stay up-to-date with trends, Instagram announced it will be globally rolling out voice messaging on Instagram Direct.
That’s right – as of Dec. 10, 2018, users are able to send and receive voice messages up to one minute long in both one-to-one and group chats.
While a similar feature has long been available on social media platforms Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp (as a reminder, Instagram was acquired by Facebook back in 2012), this is Instagram’s official launch after first testing voice messaging four months ago.
However, it seemed a natural next step for the photo and video-sharing app. Instagram Direct, the platform’s private messaging platform, was launched in 2013, and since then, voice messaging and search has only continued to gain relevance.
Are you rushing to test out this new feature?
Lucky for you, it’s pretty simple!
Sending an Instagram voice message is similar to sending a written or photo message, for those familiar with how to DM on Instagram. Follow along with our instructions below, or scroll down for a step-by-step video.
1. Start by launching your Instagram app and navigate to your messages.
2. Start or open up a messaging thread with your intended recipient.
3. When you open up the thread, press and hold the microphone button and start recording your message.
Note: if you release your hold, the message will be sent immediately.
4. To send your message, release your hold and it will be sent immediately. If you start to record a message and you aren’t happy with it, do not release your hold. Simply swipe your thumb left to the trash can and the message will be deleted. Then, you can try again.
When you send the message, your recipient will receive it as a waveform file. It’s also worthy to note that unlike iMessage, where audio clips disappear from threads unless somebody opts to keep it, your Instagram voice message will remain in the thread indefinitely.
Significance of voice messaging on Instagram
In recent years, we’ve seen major tech companies like Google and Amazon, as well as various social media platforms, like Snapchat and aforementioned Facebook, turning to voice as an alternative to text. So what is it, exactly, that drives this transformation?
In addition to making Instagram more competitive as tech companies leverage voice technology, this new feature also continues to increase accessibility for Instagram users who are visually impaired or have low vision.
Recently, Instagram introduced a feature that allowed personal and business profiles to add alt text to photos. Instagram alt text, which is a hidden caption that describes photos to those who are unable to see them, is picked up by screen readers and can help brands and individuals improve the experience for their visually impaired followers.
Similarly, Instagram’s voice messages will allow both business and individual accounts exchange messages with visually impaired users. If you’re a social media marketing professional, this can be a way to better communicate with existing followers, or more effectively reach additional prospects.
While this is an exciting feature for Instagram, they certainly aren’t the first company to embrace voice. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite brands who have already leveraged voice technology.
As a pizza aficionado, I’m a little biased, but Dominos’ introduction of voice ordering was an innovative way to stand out among its various competitors.
This technology allows consumers to dictate orders via mobile devices with the intention of increasing efficiency and accuracy. Users can communicate their order to the Dominos’ equivalent of Apple’s Siri, and receive minute-to-minute updates on the status of their pizza delivery.
If you have an Amazon Alexa and a tendency to make a mess, then Tide’s stain remover Alexa Skill may be your new secret weapon.
When Amazon Alexa users enable the Tide Stain Remover, they can ask Alexa for help removing tough stains like wine, dirt, and coffee. When it comes to removing stains, we know that time is of the essence. Tide’s introduction of voice technology was a clever way to keep consumers hands-free and moving when it really matters.
Starbucks, which recently opened their first U.S. sign language store, has also introduced voice ordering as a feature of their app. The popular coffee shop first previewed this capability in 2016, ensuring that it would increase accuracy (even for those especially complicated orders).
Voice technology is here to stay, and Instagram has officially jumped on board.
A final question for the Instagram marketing professionals out there. How do you plan on using voice technology in your 2019 strategy?
Claire is the content marketing team lead, coming to G2 after graduating from the University of Dayton. Born and raised in the Chicago area, her brief stint in Ohio gave her a new appreciation for deep-dish pizza, but left her well-versed in Cincinnati-style chili and "cities" with a population fewer than 400,000. While not writing, Claire can be found practicing calligraphy, seeking out the best dive bars in Chicago, and planning her next trip. (she/her/hers)
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