1 billion – that’s the number of monthly Instagram users. With numbers like that, it’s only natural that many brands, bloggers, influencers, and eCommerce websites are harnessing the power of social media and integrating it within their websites.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms and its growing fast. Combining it with WordPress can give you the power you need to leverage your website traffic.
The benefits of displaying your Instagram photos and videos on your website vary across multiple disciplines, but three things remain in common:
- Frequently updated content – Adding a constant stream of visual content to your site keeps it looking fresh and vibrant.
- Social proof – Displaying your likes and comments adds authenticity and credibility to your brand.
- Increase your followers – Your website visitors can be easily converted into Instagram followers and vice versa.
In this Spotlight Instagram Feeds review, we’ll take a look at how you can do just that on pretty much any type of WordPress website – from blogs to WooCommerce stores.
Spotlight lets you display your Instagram posts on your WordPress website in customizable feeds. The plugin was designed to be used by anyone, from beginners to advanced WordPress users.
Read on to learn about what the plugin has to offer and follow a hands-on approach to designing your very own feed.
Spotlight Review – Feature List
The free version comes with a plethora of features – more than enough for most users to successfully import and embed their Instagram posts on their website. The free plugin comes with over 40 customization options and one classic Grid layout.
Spotlight allows you to connect to as many accounts as you want and create an unlimited number of feeds to be used across your website.
Upgrading to the PRO version unlocks several other features that can take your Instagram feed to the next level. Some of the main features include:
- Tagged post feeds
- Hashtag feeds
- Caption and Hashtag Filtering
- Visual Moderation
- Instagram Stories
- Highlight Layout
- Masonry Layout
- Display Likes and Comments
The free version can be found on the WordPress plugin directory by searching for Spotlight Social Photo Feeds.
Spotlight PRO version currently comes in 2 different price points for single-site licenses:
- PRO – $59/year
- PRO Lifetime – $179 (one-time payment)
If you’re interested in using Spotlight on several sites (ideal for agencies), you can also opt for their multi-site licenses:
- Up to 10 sites – $119/year or $299 (one-time payment)
- Up to 30 sites – $189/year or $449 (one-time payment)
- For more than 30 sites, you can contact the team through their contact form to discuss possible options.
An Example of Spotlight in Action
With Spotlight you can display your feeds anywhere you want on your site, in many different layouts and configurations.
Below are a few examples:
Display your feed in your website footer with a sleek Grid layout. Opt for zero padding for a cleaner finish.
Keep your audience interested with a sidebar feed. The grid or masonry layout works best for this type of feed.
Give importance to your feed by using the Highlight layout in any post or page.
Hands-On With Spotlight
For this section, I will be using Spotlight PRO to highlight all the features you can get access to.
A Word About Instagram Accounts
First things first, you need to connect your Instagram account. Most users will probably have a Personal account. However, Business and Creator accounts are gaining popularity not only among business or eCommerce companies but even among individuals.
Upgrading your account to a Business or Creator account is free and lets you gain access to business features and Instagram insights. These include statistics such as how many people your post has reached, their locality, whether your posts are viewed by male or female users, among others.
Spotlight works with all types of accounts, however, having a Business or Creator account means that you will unlock further features within Spotlight. This is largely due to Instagram’s restrictions on Personal accounts in their API. You can read more about that here.
Connecting Your Instagram Account
With Spotlight, connecting your account only takes 3 clicks from start to finish. First, choose your account type, then authorize Spotlight to access your account.
In a matter of seconds, your feed will automatically show up in the live interactive preview – right in your WordPress dashboard!
Designing Your Feed
One of the main things which set Spotlight apart from the rest of the plugins in this niche is its live interactive preview.
The cool thing about this feature is that it eliminates the need to switch back and forth between your plugin page and your front-end to constantly check what your feed looks like. You don’t even need to embed your feed to get an accurate preview!
As we’ve mentioned before, Spotlight comes with over 40 different customization options. The free version comes with a Grid layout, whereas the PRO version allows you to choose between Grid, Masonry, and Highlight layouts.
One thing that I like about this plugin is that you have full control over the way your feed will look. As expected, you can set basic things such as the number of posts, columns, and the number of pixels around your posts (image and feed padding).
You can also:
- Set images to open up in a lightbox or popup box (free)
- Upload a custom profile photo and bio (free)
- Customize hover over options (free)
- Add Follow and Load More buttons (free)
- Edit the background color of your feed (free)
- Show off your Instagram stories in your profile header (PRO)
- Display Instagram likes and comments in lightbox (PRO)
- Create a photo-only or video-only feed (PRO)
- Opt for a centered feed header with profile details (PRO)
- and many many more.
As with many plugins in this field, Spotlight is fully responsive. This means that your feed will look and work great on any device, be it desktop, tablet, or mobile.
Spotlight, however, takes it one step further. With every feed you design, you can easily switch between devices to set different design options. You no longer need to make do with the plugin default.
For example, you can have a header enabled on mobile, but remove it on tablet and desktop. The features which have variable options per device are easily recognizable – just search for the device icon!
The live interactive preview changes when switching between devices to give you an accurate portrayal of the layout you are designing, and whether it is suitable for that specific device.
Tagged and Hashtag Posts
With the PRO version, in conjunction with Business or Creator accounts, you can choose to show posts in which your account has been tagged. This is a useful feature, especially when it comes to social proof.
Spotlight also lets you bring in posts from all over Instagram by setting hashtags. You can type in as many hashtags as you like, and the plugin will promptly display them in the live interactive preview.
One of the great things about Spotlight is that you can combine different accounts, hashtag posts, and tagged posts into one feed at the click of a button.
Filtering and Moderation
Perhaps one of the most concerning things about displaying your Instagram feed is whether you will be able to hide certain images or videos.
Spotlight takes on a thorough approach to tackle this. You have two options: filtering and visual moderation.
Firstly, by heading over to the Filter tab, you can specify specific words or phrases (in post captions) or hashtags to filter by. All you have to do is type in your desired word(s), hit Enter and Spotlight will show or hide the relevant posts.
This comes in handy when weeding out posts that have foul language or profanity, for example.
Secondly, you can visually moderate the feed by going to the Moderation tab. Here, you can manually select specific posts to show or hide. This gives you full control over your feed and what your website viewers will have access to.
This is a great feature to exclude personal images from your portfolio page, for example.
Embedding Your Feed
To display your feed, Spotlight users can use shortcodes or the dedicated Spotlight widget. (A block is on its way).
If you’re using the shortcode, simply add a shortcode block or widget to your desired location and copy and paste the shortcode associated with your feed. It’s that simple. Every time you go back to your feed to adjust it, the shortcode will automatically update itself.
If you’ve decided to use the dedicated widget, simply drag and drop it to your desired location and choose your feed from the dropdown menu. Since Spotlight lets you design an unlimited number of feeds, it’s important that you name them accordingly to avoid getting confused. Once again, any changes done in the Spotlight plugin will be reflected on the front end.
Manage Your Feeds
To get an overview of where your feeds are being used, head over to the Feeds page. Here you will get access to a list of all your feeds including their shortcodes, which pages or posts they are being used on, and which accounts are connected.
Likewise, go to the Settings page to manage your connected accounts and set up a few optimization options for Spotlight to perform at its best for your site.
How Spotlight Can Help You
Instagram feeds can be used in a number of different ways. Below are some of the best use-cases we could think of:
- Portfolios and Landing Pages
Create a landing page for your new or upcoming business or blog using your carefully curated Instagram profile. Keep visitors on your site for longer periods of time by opening up your images in a lightbox, avoiding the need for them to be transferred to the Instagram website or app.
- eCommerce and WooCommerce websites
Use hashtag and tagged feeds to add social proof to your brand, product, or service. Make use of hashtag campaigns to get the conversation started and entice your customers with the possibility of being featured on your website.
This technique acts as free marketing which is a great asset to have for any eCommerce website. Use the filter and moderation feature to curate your content.
- Wedding Pages and Event websites
Ask guests to upload their photos and videos using a dedicated hashtag, then display their posts on your WordPress website. Create a sense of community for virtual and live events alike.
- Personal and Influencer Blogs
Connect and engage with your audience on a personal level by showing snippets of your day-to-day life, your inspiration, and your stories.
Final Thoughts on Spotlight
Instagram is steadily gaining more and more popularity every year. Displaying your Instagram feed on your WordPress website not only boosts your brand but also allows you to connect in a deeper way with your audience.
Converting website visitors into followers further increases brand awareness and solidifies your relationship with your clients to hopefully create a long-lasting one and boost conversions. Basically, not displaying your Instagram feed can mean leaving money on the table, especially when it comes to eCommerce websites.
The plugin doesn’t slow down your page load times and has a clever caching system which ensures that your feed will be visible even if Instagram goes down.
Use this visual storytelling medium to take your website to the next level with Spotlight. If you’re just starting out, the free version will most likely work great for you. If you’re interested in something with more customization options and more features, or if you’re coming from an eCommerce background, opt for the PRO version.
To get started, click below to visit Spotlight: