Instagram just released their newest feature called “close friends.” It is a customized list of people you’ve decided to label as your closest friends. Now, you have the option to share content with either your “close friends” or your entire following. If you are on someone’s “close friend” list…you will know, as a green icon will appear. If you post a story to that list, your close friends will see a green ring around it. Say you’re not on a list or were removed, no one will ever know, as there is no notification!
When creating your “close friends” list, you will be able to add and remove people whenever you please. The “close friends” feature is only for IG stories. It has not yet rolled out to static posts. If you decide to add a “close friends” story to your highlights, only those selected followers will be able to see it. The “close friends” feature appears in your Instagram Story Archives too and is marked with a green tag.
This “close friends” feature competes directly with the ‘Finstagram’ subculture. Finstas are accounts users create to share content with their immediate social circle. Finsta content ranges from wanting to hide Halloween costumes from your family, to posting embarrassing videos of your friends. Instead of having a separate account to communicate with close friends, Instagram now allows you to chat with them directly on your main account. I can only imagine that this would make the lives of influencers and celebrities easier as they can now communicate directly with their own friends rather than their entire following.
How can brands use the “close friends” feature? Spotify sets a series of concerts for what they call “superfans.” They are able to figure out which fans engage the most with certain artists and reward them for streaming with Spotify and staying loyal to the artist. Brands could implement this feature by share exclusive content with their superfans. Brands could also use the feature to directly interact with strategic partners. The regular stories channel could be directed to regular consumers, where the close friends” feature could speak directly B2B.