If you’re looking for a way to drive more interest in your campaigns, product launches, live broadcasts, and more, you definitely want to check out the Instagram close friends list!
The feature offers a ton of opportunities for businesses to create exclusive content and share real behind-the-scenes moments with their followers.
But there are actually *tons* of different ways that businesses can make use of their close friends list — everything from collaborating with influencers to gathering customer feedback!
Not sure where to get started? Here are 7 creative ways that brands can use Instagram’s close friends list:
Note: If you’re just getting started with the feature, you should check out our step-by-step guide on how to create a close friends list in Instagram Stories.
#1: Create an Instagram Close Friends List for Influencers & Collaborators
One of the biggest trends in Instagram influencer marketing this year is brands giving more “independence” to their influencer partners.
Rather than coming up with strict messaging guidelines about what they can and can’t say, businesses are opting to let influencers to use their own authentic voice and create promotional content that feels natural to their account and audience.
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If you’re looking to create this kind of authentic influencer content, you should consider adding your influencer partners to a close friends list where you share key information about new features, products, and whatever else they can use to help promote your brand more effectively.
It’s about building a collaborative environment where influencers feel trusted to flex their creative muscle and come up with messaging that feels authentic.
Even if you aren’t completely comfortable with letting your influencer partners take the reins, creating a close friends list is still a great way to share key details about your campaign in the days and weeks leading up to the launch!
Just getting started in the world of influencer marketing? Learn everything you need to know with our free Instagram Influencer Marketing Strategy Guide!
Instagram Close Friends List #2: Gather Customer Feedback
Whether you want to collect feedback on your products or crowdsource ideas for your next campaign, close friends lists are a great way to engage with your Instagram audience and gather valuable information.
For example, if you sell ecommerce products, you could create a close friends list made up of people who recently purchased one of your products and then ask them to share their opinions via an Instagram Stories poll or question sticker.
Or, if you run a blog, you can create a close friends list of some of your most engaged readers (just make sure to ask them if they want to opt-in first!) and then send them a message to find out what content they find the most valuable or what topics they want you to cover next.
Luckily, gathering customer feedback is a lot easier today thanks to Instagram’s many interactive stickers.
You can easily poll your audience, crowdsource ideas with a question sticker, or even use an emoji slider to rate how they feel about a certain topic!
Instagram Stories are a free, easy, and effective way to stay engaged with your Instagram followers – even if they don’t see your regular posts. Learn how you can grow your business using stories in our free 45-minute video course:
Instagram Close Friends List #3: Take Your Followers Behind-the-Scenes
Exclusivity can be a powerful tool and one of the best ways to harness it on Instagram is to create an “exclusive” close friends list where you share sneak peeks of upcoming products and campaigns!
Think of it as a sort of VIP mailing list. When one of your followers joins your close friends list, they’ll get access to private content, including behind-the-scenes videos, special announcements, and more.
This is a great way to build an emotional connection with your audience and make them feel closer to your brand.
You can even incentivize other followers to sign-up for your close friends list to get the same VIP treatment! For example, you could use Instagram’s quiz sticker to share a series of trivia-style questions with your followers and the people who get all the questions right get access to your close friends list!
Instagram Close Friends List #4: Share Exclusive Offers
With higher engagement rates than any other social platform, Instagram is a great place to build a community of brand evangelists — people who consistently engage with your brand and share content about your products on their own channels.
Have a few brand loyalists of your own? Then you may want to consider adding them to your Instagram close friends list to share exclusive coupon codes, discounts, or early access to new products.
Not only will this make them feel appreciated and keep them coming back for more, but it can help drive word-of-mouth marketing for your brand as they’ll be more likely to tell their friends and family about the positive experience!
Instagram Close Friends List #5: Build Excitement for a Product Launch
Planning a new product launch on Instagram can feel daunting, but it’s also a huge opportunity to attract new followers, make sales, and convert your existing audience into customers!
If you’re looking to build more hype for your next product launch, you should consider using Instagram’s close friends list — it’s a great way to keep your audience engaged in the days and weeks leading up to the launch.
Start by sharing a post to your Instagram feed a week or so before your official launch with something like: “Follow us and leave a comment to be added to our close friends list and receive exclusive content about the upcoming launch.”
This will give your launch an element of exclusivity and encourage people to sign up to stay in the loop about what’s to come.
Once you’ve signed people up, you can send them Instagram Stories from influencers, behind-the-scenes content, and sneak peeks to build even more excitement.
Just remember that if you really want to make use of this strategy, it’s important to release very few details about the upcoming launch. The mystery will drive your followers into a frenzy!
Instagram Close Friends List #6: Let Your Audience Know When You’re Going Live
Going live on Instagram is a great way to connect with your audience in a fun an engaging way — but like all things Instagram, your goal with your live broadcasts should be to reach as many users as possible.
Luckily, this is another great place to use Instagram’s close friend list!
For example, you could share a story asking your followers to “request” access to your close friends list to stay notified about whenever you’re going live.
When you have an Instagram Live coming up, you can share a series of stories with details about the broadcast, including things like the topic of your broadcast, the time and date, and any other important information.
And on the day of your Instagram Live, you can share a story with your close friends list reminding them about the broadcast to drive even more viewers!
Instagram Close Friends List #7: Share Customer-Only Content
If you’re in the coaching business, like a personal trainer or nutritionist, or you offer some kind of consulting service, using Instagram’s close friends list is a great way to share exclusive information, tips, or advice with your paying customers.
For example, you could share daily workouts, video tips, product recommendations, and more.
And while the rest of your audience will still get your free content, they won’t see the higher-value content that you’re sharing with your paying customers.
This kind of VIP content is a great way to keep your retention high because it makes customers feel special. You can also share snippets of your exclusive content on your regular stories to entice more followers to become customers!
Stay on Top of Your Close Friends Conversations with Instagram’s Threads App
Instagram’s new standalone messaging app, Threads is another way to quickly get in touch with your close friends list — and it comes with some added perks and features!
According to Instagram’s announcement, the app was designed to help you stay connected with your closest friends and includes several appealing features, like the ability to create “statuses” and let your friends know what you’re up to.
But we think it could have some serious perks for brands using the close friends list on Instagram Stories too!
Threads allows you set a special status like Studying, or turn on Auto Status (On the move), which automatically shares little bits of context on where you are without giving away your coordinates.
For brands, you might want to let your close friends list know that you’re On a Shoot, or Closed for the Holidays, so they’re never left in the dark.
And Threads is especially geared towards a “photo first, text later” messaging style, so it’s easy to capture that behind-the-scenes content — but be warned, there are no filters and only some basic editing tools to hand!
When you open the app, you’re immediately met with a camera view that “allows you to add shortcuts, so you can share what you’re doing in just two taps.”
But the best news is that Threads is completely connected to the close friends list you created in the Instagram app — you’ll have a dedicated inbox and notifications just for them.
Messages from your Close Friends list will also appear in both Threads and Instagram Direct, so you have full control over how and with whom you want to interact with.
For brands and businesses, Instagram’s close friends list offers an entirely new way to communicate with select followers on Instagram — and there are really countless ways that businesses can use the feature to drive results both on and off of Instagram.
Did we miss anything? How are you using Instagram’s close friends list to engage with your audience? Let us know in the comments below!
Learn how to grow your business and stay engaged with your followers using Instagram Stories with our free Instagram Stories Course!