Every year, at Facebook's F8 developer conference, the company gets on stage to share the latest changes coming to the company’s platforms. At this year’s event, Facebook announced a number of new initiatives that will directly impact various businesses. Let’s take a look at what they are and what they’ll mean to you.

Instagram is exploring private like counts

Starting as a test in Canada later this week, Instagram’s latest exploration will hide like counts as you scroll through your feed. Post owners will be able to see their like counts, but only if they choose to. Followers will only be able to see who liked a photo, and manually count one-by-one if they wish, but won’t see that infamous number.

This is part of a more complex discussion but right now hiding like counts is all the rage in social media. For some, that number acts as a social validation system. For others, an absolute nuisance. Just don’t beat yourself up if you can’t gauge how many people liked that pic of your margarita at the pool.

Influencers are becoming a one-stop shop

For businesses, this is probably the biggest, and my favorite announcement, from yesterday’s event. Instagram is launching a new Shopping from Creators feature. This enhancement will allow influencers to directly tag a business’ product in their photos and give followers the ability to buy the item right then and there.

In one of their examples, we see Camila Coelho showing off a Michael Kors smartwatch. A follower of hers will be able to tap on the photo, get pricing details on the watch, and then purchase it immediately. All without ever having to leave the app. This is the 90’s equivalent of a celebrity endorsing a product on QVC. But so much better.

Instagram's Shopping from Creators
Source: Instagram

Companies like Linkin.bio have been attempting to close the e-commerce loop on product discovery and purchases with Instagram for years now. No matter how good the service was, it always eventually pushed the user out of Instagram to buy the item.

By keeping everything together in the app, influencers, businesses, and shoppers all benefit. Influencers will be able to charge sponsors more money to have them tag the product. Shoppers will be able to buy the product in seconds without having to traverse a multitude of websites. Businesses will now able to accurately track the biggest metric that matters to them: money.

The feature will be rolling out to a few select “creators” (what Instagram is now calling influencers) next week. Some of my own personal highlights from that list include: Aimee Song, Camila Coelho, GQ, HypeBeast, Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, Parker Kit Hill, Refinery29, and Ronnie Fieg.

Stickers are actually helpful now

Almost altruistically, Facebook announced Donation stickers within Instagram. Users can now add stickers to their stories to help raise money for various charities. Facebook made clear that 100% of the profit goes to each charity.

Instagram's Donation Sticker
Source: Instagram

As a business, you’ll now be able to creatively share Instagram Stories and easily ask for donations to a specific charity. Tie this into fundraising events and you’re giving people another avenue to donate no matter where they are. Some of the charities available to donate to now include St. Jude, Black Girls Code, No Kid Hungry, and The ALS Foundation.

Ask questions without having to share

Instagram also announced a complete redesign of the Instagram camera called Create Mode. Now when creating content for Stories, users will be able to create posts featuring only text, quizzes, or polls without the need for adding in any media.

Instagram's Create Mode
Source: Instagram

By adding this feature Facebook shows it understands that not all Story posts need to be photos or videos. This is a great way for businesses to share small textual updates and ask questions without having to go in-depth with brand imagery.

A Holy Trinity Facebook Messenger is coming

Facebook’s going to make it so much easier to manage all their platform communications with the new Messenger. The updated app will be available on mobile and desktop and combines Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Messages all in one place.

By having all these channels available on the desktop, it should be significantly easier to handle and respond to long customer support messages.

Where that leaves you

As a business owner, the opportunity to start planning for these new features begins now. For features like Create Mode, you could see the ease-of-use benefits immediately. For Shopping from Creators, you’ll likely need some more in-depth strategizing (including signing up for Instagram Checkout).

No matter which direction you go, Instagram is a great place to be for your business. Keep diving in to find your space on the platform and then see your business flourish. (Be sure to follow me on Instagram too).