iOS & Android apps updated
Instagram has finally released a significant app update to both the iOS and android platforms. The main changes revolve around discovery and a much needed upgrade to their maps/location feature. The full functionality of the changes are limited to users in the US, although everyone will get a slightly reworked explore tab. (Kinda jealous).
Trending Tags & Places (currently u.s. only)
As seen in the picture above; they've reworked the explore tab to include trending tags & trending places. This will be useful to get a real-time glimpse into the events that are specific to your local area - kind of like what Twitter and Snapchat is good for.
CURATED COLLECTIONS (CURRENTLY U.S. ONLY)
Instagram will start curating theme-specific galleries which will be updated regularly. I'm guessing the images within each gallery will be rotated in/out over a specific period. The themes themselves may change. It also states that these collections will "feature interesting accounts and places".
This new feature might also be a new way for Instagram to promote users (and thus help them gain a larger following) much like the current Suggested User List system. If your photo or account was to be featured here, I'd bet you'd gain thousands of followers not unlike the Suggested User system.
This is a feature that I am very interested in. Curation has always been an element that has been missing from the Instagram experience. Besides posting photos of your own, it has been overall very difficult to curate images that you like in any cohesive way.
IMPROVED SEARCH (EVERYONE)
Search is now more powerful. You can now search people, tags and places. Yep, places! Now the places / geotagging feature of Instagram is a lot more useful! You can use this feature to scout out locations to photograph and to visit all within the Instagram app.
Going off their screenshots, it seems Instagram will either curate or determine via algorithms the "Top Posts" from location searches. This will definitely help you gain followers and likes if you can make it in this list.
These New features = new ways to gain followers & likes
On top of the #WHP (Weekend Hashtag Project), Suggested User List, and Instagram account features to try and win, you can now add the Curated Galleries to your list of things to try and get on.
It's also in your best interested to start adding locations to all your photos to try and make the "Top Posts" list in the places search.
Being featured on either of these new features will definitely help you in gaining new followers & likes!
Read more about the changes here.
You can find me on Instagram @itchban