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Hot Off the Presses: Now You Can Send Voice Messages in Instagram Direct

Hot Off the Presses: Now You Can Send Voice Messages in Instagram Direct Blog Feature

December 12th, 2018 min read

Ahhh yes.

It was only a matter of time until Instagram integrated voice into its platform, don’t you think?

On the surface, it seems as though this is just another way for the platform to evolve (and you’re not wrong) but there are a lot of other things to keep in mind with this update.

Why Does Voice Functionality Matter?

One of the most basic reasons is to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ if you will.

Facebook introduced this functionality for messages back in 2013 and more recently, they began testing voice clips as status updates in India back in March, 2018:

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 5.52.02 PM

Image from the TechRadar article linked above.

LinkedIn began allowing users to add voice clips to their messages in July of 2018:

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 5.57.27 PM

Image from LinkedIn.

And let’s be serious, voice has always been a huge part of WhatsApp BUT worth noting that they’re constantly tweaking and improving it:

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 5.49.08 PM

So, because this isn’t anything groundbreaking -- why should we care about this update for Instagram:

It matters to marketers for a few reasons…

Voice interactions are growing dramatically

I could go on and on in a few paragraphs about how it is changing the industry, specifically search, but why drone on when you can check out these hard-hitting facts from WordStream:

13% of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker in 2017, per OC&C Strategy Consultants. That number is predicted to rise to 55% by 2022. Plus, as of January 2018, there were an estimated one billion voice searches per month, per Alpine.AI.

The list goes on.

Sure, we’re not necessarily focusing on SEO when it comes to how we strategically use Instagram in 2019 and beyond, but if that’s where people are migrating when it comes to sharing information, it’s important to keep it in mind.

If apps, such as Instagram, fail to adapt to changing behaviors, users may forego using the app for others, which means our audience may not be as engaged.

And who wants to spend budget marketing on a platform that’s losing users?
No, thanks.

It’s a more heartfelt way to service customers

At the end of the day, social media platforms should be used for social purposes.

If voice is a more personal, easier, way to get your message across to someone else, why wouldn’t you use it?

For personal use, perhaps you’re using it to sing “Happy Birthday” like in the example shared by Social Media Today but for marketers, this can allow us to take things to a whole new level.

An apology is far more sincere when it’s not being typed out. A message of thanks is much more exciting and heartfelt when you hear someone expressing it. It may be a stretch to move forward in this way for bigger businesses to connect with everyone but I don’t see why it can’t be used in the right moments to really reiterate that you’re listening.

It’s Time to Get Started

Or, at the very least, start testing it out with a few key employees.

I’d suggest first taking a deep dive into seeing how your target audience is using Instagram or, if you’re already on it, making sure that you’re seeing success there before dedicating more time and resources to the platform.

Then, identify a few key players from both marketing and sales to who are committed to implementing it and testing the results.
(Certainly worth noting that there are a few steps in between there including getting buy-in from the decision makers at the company, creating a script outline of what’s approved to be said via. Voice, and so on.)

Once you’ve got your team identified, open up the app and start try it out by holding down the microphone button.


Image from Social Media Today

That will allow you to record a short voice message (up to one minute long), which will appear in the chat as an audio wave.

Don’t worry about the message disappearing either; it will stay until the recipient is interested in listening to it and, even better, the message is permanent.

There aren’t metrics to test out the success currently, so I’d recommend keeping an eye out in the way of screenshots to get a better understanding of how users are reacting.

Make screenshotting a requirement for this team rather than a ‘nice to have’ so that not only can you put accountability against it but you can begin compiling your insights to make smarter, more educated decisions on whether or not to move forward with Voice Messaging in 2019.

What do you think?
Will you try it out?

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