One of the latest Instagram features to be rolled out by the platform, the new Rooms facility made a short appearance last year before promptly disappearing.
Talk about a comedown!
Now however, it seems to be back and, in the words of Take That, back for good!
If you’re anything like us, you can’t a) resist a Take That lyric injection and b) a video chat with friends, which has sadly become our main method of communicating in this lockdown madness.
And quite frankly, one of the main ways of keeping us sane too!
So if this sounds like you too, read on to learn all about Instagram Rooms – what they are, how to set up and enter them and how they are likely to be great tools for both businesses and personal users alike…
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What Are Instagram Rooms?
So a quick intro here to Instagram Rooms.
Instagram’s latest feature, Rooms is essentially a video chat feature that feeds perfectly into the fact we’ve all been stuck at home, working away and socialising via our screens for pretty much the last year!
Fingers crossed this whole situation isn’t going to last another year, but just in case it does, we thought it wise to start exploring some other methods of video calling that weren’t Zoom and. low and behold, Instagram re-rolled out Rooms again just in time!
Initially, Instagram put Rooms out into the ether around May 2020, as part of its Facebook offering, but reports of it being very glitchy could be heard far and wide, so fairly quickly, it disappeared off the scene.
Now however, it’s back, with some good improvements, and is likely to be hitting an updated Instagram account near you very soon.
If you don’t have Rooms already, then keep checking and we’re sure it will be with you in the coming months.
When it does arrive, you’ll be able to use it to video call up to 50 people, none of who even have to be Instagram account holders – snazzy or what!
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How to Set Up & Enter Them
And that’s because Instagram Rooms, actually functions within the Facebook messenger platform.
Yes, once you create a Room, or an accept an invite to one, you’ll be transferred to Facebook Messenger, which means as long as you have an account here, you can chat away.
To navigate your way to this point, you’ll want to create a room, which you can easily do by heading to the Direct Messaging tab within your Instagram app.
For most people, that’s the paper plane arrow in the top right of the home screen.
From here, you’ll either see a video icon in the top right, or you’ll be able to see a Rooms tab, alongside your Personal and General message tabs.
Tap either the Rooms tab or the Video icon and then hit the “Create Room” button.
From here, you can then either invite your IG contacts to your Room by searching their names, or create a clickable link you can share with people across other platforms – be that email, WhatsApp or different social media networks.
Similarly, if you are invited to join other people in aRoom, you can do so by clicking the link they sent you, or accepting their invite in Instagram that you wish to join the room.
Once confirmed via either method, you’ll then enter the room, which will open automatically in your messenger app.
Currently, Rooms is free to use and has no time limits on the length of calls.
Numbers allowed in the group video chat are capped at 50.
You must however, have your Instagram account connected to your Facebook account to use Rooms.
What Can IG Rooms Be Used for?
Essentially Rooms can be used in a similar way to Zoom, except it is more informal and more suited to your handheld device.
Rooms can be used in a personal forum – to connect with friends, as well as in a professional capacity to meet clients or host events.
Rooms can also be used in a promotional way – similar to Instagram Live, but where the clients are invited rather than the transmission being totally open.
That said, rumours that Open Rooms are coming is circulating too… watch this space!
Otherwise, Rooms are extremely well-suited to the planning or hosting of events, especially those for small businesses, as well as connecting face-to-face with clients in a pandemic environment.
If your business operates in a formerly customer-facing environment, such as retail, then you can also use Rooms as a surrogate shop front, to demo products or to interact with customers in a way you would have done in person.
You can invite people to hop into a room if they’d like to know more about your business, if you need to schedule a preliminary consultation or if you wish to share your authority and knowledge in a more intimate format.
We also see Rooms having the potential to morph into webinar-like forums and group presentations, where people are able to feel present (and a sense of community) whilst being led by key speakers.
All of this means Rooms present lots of opportunities in the digital space, especially for small business looking to connect with their client base.
And let’s be honest, the way 2021 has shaped up so far, this is going to be as important as ever!
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So there you have it folks, all you need to know about Instagram Rooms – the latest feature to be rolled out across this platform.
Do let us know if you have the feature yet or if you have any other questions about using it.
We’d love to hear them…