How Marketers and Influencers can use Instagram’s Close Friends feature to their advantage.
This past week, Instagram’s Close Friends feature for Insta stories rolled out. You may have noticed that extra button when posting your latest story, or you may have accidentally clicked it several times thinking it was the “Your Story” button like I did! This new update allows you to give exclusive viewership access to only those on your hand-selected list. Each close friends update appears right in line with the rest of your Instagram story, but only your close friends can see the stories you post specifically for their eyes only.
At first glance I ignored it and went about my day, then much like Raven Baxter when she has a vision, my marketing light bulb went off and I started to realize the potential this new feature had for influencers, micro influencers, marketers, social media managers and beyond. To the everyday user, this might just seem like an attempt for a Snapchat crossover or a pointless addition to the platform, but I see this as an opportunity online community influencers and managers can surely take advantage of.
Here are three creative ways to use Instagram’s Close Friends Feature
Influencer Communities = Instagram’s Close Friends list.
Some of my favorite online gal pals that I tune into daily, like Rachel Hollis, Jenna Kutcher, and Julie Solomon all have these vast growing communities who want to be in the know before anyone else. What’s the latest on their book releases, when can I download their new digital guides to up my Instagram presence or photography game, when will their next product drop, where can I find online business coaching information? These are all questions I see daily on their Instagram posts or answered out loud during their live streams. What if they could go a step further and give the real inside scoop to their exclusive coaching communities?
Influencers often offer workshops or business coaching courses on a monthly or yearly basis. While they share most of what I mentioned before with their general audience, there are certain topics and details that are reserved for paying members. Instagram’s new Close Friends feature gives these influencers a private space within a space they are already using daily to share exclusive content with their smaller more exclusive communities by simply tapping a different button. They can post about their day as normal, and slip in some extra behind the scenes stories, tips, tricks, updates, and even reminders for their VIP community members. This feature can now be added as a benefit in their coaching and membership packages, an extremely simple way to give more without compromising time in their busy schedules.
* “Close Friends” will appear at the top right corner of your own story when sharing. The tag is only visible to you, the publisher, and your friends will not know whether or not they are on your Close Friends list unless you disclose.
The Social Media Managers New Inbox
Emails can get lost in the shuffle with all that our clients have going on, but I bet the clients you do social media management for watch the Instagram stories you create for them, no? I run the social media for a large shopping center so think of it as having 40 clients in one. Getting content and updates from everyone can be a struggle! By simply adding all of the business owners in the shopping center as close friends, we can strategically cater reminders to them on a platform which they’re likely scrolling through during downtime. This allows the requests for content, event calendars and more to feel casual, and hopefully, we’re catching them when they have the time to complete the request.
While this may be a unique idea based on client type, think about your client list and how you could use Instagram’s Close Friends list to your advantage if you don’t see the feature being used by the client for their own exclusive content or VIP previews.
The Social Media Managers Content Sandbox
Another great way to use the close friends feature whether you’re an agency, marketing department, influencer or just someone who really cares about how your content comes across on stories, is as a content sandbox. Add your marketing partners, a friend, anyone you trust in your circle to your Close Friends list and allow them to preview the content you plan on pushing out on your story to your followers. This allows you to get real-time feedback, check that GIF of Oprah and make sure it isn’t cut off and killing her vibe, you know, the important things!
Beyond these examples, there are many other ways you can use Instagram’s new update to your advantage. Whether you’re using Instagram’s close friends feature as a new way to interact with your community, or as a business tool to test your content, this new update is definitely of value to anyone who is in the digital marketing space. How do you envision using this tool? Let us know in the comments below, or follow us on social media to join the conversation!
*All Instagram™ logos and trademarks displayed on this application are the property of Instagram.
About Meg Ahrenberg
Radford University & Quinnipiac University Graduate from Chesapeake, Virginia who ventured to The Port City upon completing her Master's degree. Lover of the beach, the outdoors, live tweeting, and a good Netflix binge. Sometimes you can find her singing around town, and she loves to stay involved in community events!
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