Get ready for creators sliding into your DMs with Instagram Broadcast Channels.
Meta has just launched Instagram Broadcast Channels in the UK as a tool for creators (or dare we say it, ‘influencers’?) to share candid moments with their followers at a larger scale. Creators can invite all of their followers to the channel and directly engage with their most loyal fans.
Mark Zuckerberg himself announced the feature through his own channel, sharing that Meta is always exploring new ways to help creators reach their audiences. Nice of them.
Can brands play with it?
Alas, regular personal and business accounts can’t make broadcast channels on Instagram - the cynic in us suspects this has something to do with wanting brands to pay to reach audiences on Instagram instead. It’s a one-way broadcasting channel though, so not too dissimilar to what brands have with branded WhatsApp channels, which we wrote about here.
For now, it looks like the brand opportunity lies with creators sharing branded content via Channels to their followers - useful for reaching people once, but less useful for paid promotion to reach audiences at scale and high frequency.
How do Instagram Broadcast Channels work?
Broadcast channels live in the ‘DM’ section of the Instagram app, so updates will pop up here as creators share their moments. We have to say it though - influencers sliding into your DMs to tell us about their morning matcha could get annoying. Likewise, for those die-hard fans, it can give them an even deeper peek into their lives.
Creators can invite followers to their channels in two different ways:
Sending a message to followers via their channel - Followers automatically receive a notification and message from the creator in their ‘DM’ section, inviting them to join. You probably saw plenty of these notifications when the feature dropped last week.
Sharing an invite link - A creator can invite specific users, or large numbers of people at a time, depending on what they want, and where they post the link.
So, why should creators use the new Instagram Broadcast Channels feature?
Creators can use channels to quickly update their followers and build an even stronger sense of community. It's a great way for creators to casually share moments, and has all the features you would expect like text, photos, videos, and voice notes, without the expectation of a perfectly curated feed post or story. Creators can even create polls to crowdsource fan feedback - perfect for selecting a new tour date or what their next video should be about.
There are no moderation issues for creators - followers can’t directly reply to a message, but they can leave emoji reactions or vote in polls.
Here are some creators that are already engaging with broadcast channels:
Valkyrae, Creator & Streamer: Follow @valkyrae
Chloe Kim, Two-time Olympic gold medalist snowboarder: Follow @chloekim
Flau’jae, Basketball and rap star: Follow @flaujae
Instagram Broadcast channels let creators get directly in front of their audience at scale, and create deeper connections with their community. Ultimately, we’re reserving judgment on whether this is the next big thing or just another example of Instagram feature-stuffing, and for now will be concentrating on WhatsApp channels for brand-friendly broadcast channels.