Instagram’s New Stickers to Help Support Small Businesses

Instagram noted that, “small businesses are an important part of our community, and many are facing immense challenges during the COVID‑19 crisis.” The social media platform is now making it easier for small businesses to share gift card, food order and fundraiser stickers in their profiles and Stories. Aimed at increasing user engagement, Instagram is also trying out a new “Challenge” sticker for Stories which, when applied, would allow users to tag connections and invite them to partake in visual competitions.

CNET reports that, with the new features for small businesses, a user can “tap the sticker to make a purchase through the business’s site.” The stickers, which just rolled out in the U.S. and Canada, will launch around the world in coming weeks. The Fundraiser sticker, which has not yet launched, will, when tapped, open parent company Facebook to personal fundraiser pages created by business owners (or their supporters). Instagram users can also “spread the word and support small businesses by resharing the stickers in [their] own Stories.”

On its blog, Instagram says that users will find it easier to “support the businesses you love” with the new stickers. “Spread the word by resharing the stickers in your Stories,” it urges. “For many businesses right now, every sale helps. We’ll continue to work on features that make it easier to support the small businesses you care about.”

Social Media Today reports on Instagram’s new “Challenge” sticker for Stories, showing screenshots posted by “reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong.” It says that, “the inspiration here is TikTok,” adding that TikTok users have “the ‘Duet’ mode to respond to any other clip and have the two play side-by-side, which many use to reply to challenges and interactive elements built into the posts.”

It adds that, “challenges have become a key part of the TikTok ecosystem.” With the Challenge sticker, users can not only tag friends to participate but can also search for challenges “within the hashtag field, based on trending content.”

On TikTok, some of the hashtags that are “inspiring interaction” include #siblingcheck, #workdistractions, and variations such as #FlipTheSwitch.” These challenges garner “millions, even billions … of user responses, with people providing their own takes on the same, and seeking to tap into the fun of the topic, while also potentially boosting their own view counts.”

Social Media Today opines that Instagram’s version is likely to be “more confined … given privacy settings and the way the Explore tab highlights content.” “On Instagram, Explore is more topic-focused,” it adds. “Stories content is also not discoverable in the same way, while it also only exists for 24 hours, so it doesn’t seem like something that could become as big a consideration on Instagram. But it may spur more engagement.”