In December 2018, Instagram officially launched its new story feature, “Close Friends.” This feature allows you to create a list of “Close Friends” you can exclusively share stories with on a day to day basis.
This “Close Friends” feature was initially made for followers to share more private moments, one of many attempts Instagram is taking to make their app more about human connectivity.
Every marketer and entrepreneur knows that most, if not all, Instagram features made for pleasure can always be used for business.
So we found five ways to use Instagram close friend list for business. First, here’s a quick guide to creating your first close friend’s list.
Who Should You Add to Your “Close Friends” List?
As a business, you’ll need to be a bit more innovative with who you’ll be adding to your “close friend” list.
Instagram’s close friend’s list is an opportunity for you to start crafting your engagement and building rapport with real fans and customers. Since it’s so perfect for posting exclusive content, that means you’ll need to decide who gets access and who doesn’t.
Who should be added to your close friend list?
We did the math and found out that it all depends on your goals, and since you only have one close friend list, you’ll have to pick one goal and stick to it.
Here are some suggestions for the type of goals you should pick for your close friend’s list:
Brand ambassadors or Affiliates
Manage your brand ambassador and use your list to update, encourage, and engage with them. If you have affiliates, let them know when you’ll be having exclusive webinars or new ways for them to make more money with your brand.
Superfans or VIP customers
If your goal is to grow your fan base then create buzz about an exclusive VIP program by adding super fans or giveaway winners to your close friend list. They can receive discounts, heads up on surprise sales and more.
If your goal is focused on building employee engagement and advocacy, then use your close friend’s list to share company exclusive content and updates with your team.
Instagram Pro Tip
Still not sure who you should be adding to your close friend list?
Run a contest or giveaway with a prize and give winners access to your close friend list. Allow people who want to be added to your inner circle to come to you!
Five Ways Your Business Can Use Close Friends List
It’s time to decide what kind of content you’ll be sharing.
1. Exclusive Promotional Discounts Codes
Let’s say that you need to get a certain number of sales by the end of the month. Create a teaser for followers to join your close friends list on Instagram for exclusive discounts.
Ask followers to comment on a post in your feed and tag a friend, and when you’ve selected followers try to limit the number of people you’ll add, this will:
- Give your brand more exposure as followers will be tagging friends, so you’ll be sure to see an increase in followers.
- Create a sense of urgency to join. When people feel like something is scarce, their more likely to act based on their fear of missing out.
- Limit the amount of discounts but still entice other people willing to buy at pay full price.
Instagram Pro Tip
Calculate how many discounts you’ll need to hand out to meet sales for the month, then hand out 20-40% times that amount. Some people may opt to use the discount code, while most might not complete a purchase.
2. Exclusive Product Launches
Share news on a product before it launches of new collections or items before they hit the store. If you’re using your close friend’s list for brand ambassadors, this could be the perfect opportunity to reach out to you about promoting your products.
Give them the first pickings so they can show off your products on social media. Not only great for marketing, but it makes your brand ambassadors feel special.
3. Exclusive Freebies & Downloads
If you’re an entrepreneur, you can add clients or followers in your community that you’d like to offer exclusive freebies.
Freebies work in your favor, It also helps followers to experience your credibility as a brand first hand.
Something as simple as an ebook is a long term investment, as your giving away a sample of your work for free to capture potential customers you’d like to upsell to in the future.
Not sure what kind of freebies to give your followers?
Here are five freebies you can give followers to grow your email list, blog traffic, and sales:
- Offer access to a free e-book or the first five chapters of your book.
- Offer exclusive access to free spot in your workshop or webinar.
- Offer free templates such as emails, checklist, or designs. Early access to video series you’ll be hosting soon.
- Offer free (15-minute) consultation services.
4. Secret Sessions/Interviews With Brand Influencers or Industry Expert
Maybe you’ve started your close friend’s list, but your engagement game isn’t as strong as you’d like it to be.
It happens to the best of us, but it’s time to start thinking outside the box.
Start pushing for content that’s going to draw your follower’s attention and make move from your story to your store.
Get your main followers jealous by host an exclusive interview or session with a famous influencer or known expert in your industry for your close friend list. For it to work, you’ll have to pick someone in high demand, a macro influencer who can draw in a big crowd.
Days before you’ll need to start promoting your live session ahead of time, to get the ball rolling use your feed.
You can also add a countdown sticker to your stories letting people know the date and time and that it’s exclusively for those who want to join your close friend list.
Be sure to ask your influencer or expert to share the secret on their own Instagram account to spread the word. The more people joining your session, the merrier.
Need some help crafting your Instagram stories? Use this guide to take your Instagram Stories to the next level with stickers.
Instagram Pro Tip
Use this secret influencer session to make sales by asking followers to make a small purchase from your store to be automatically added to your list.
5. Sneak Peek & Behind the Scenes
Everyone loves to take a peek behind the curtain; they want to see how something is made, and the synergy between your team.
Today’s marketing people want to see behind the perfected Instagram post; they want to experience real moments with a brand. According to Harvard Business Review, customers who have developed a bond with businesses are extremely valuable and are less price-sensitive, as their likely to pay 31-50%more for your products and services.
You aren’t just sharing behind the scenes content you’re growing loyalty with the quality of your products and the people behind it as well as building a relationship with life long customers.
Man Repealer is a brand on Instagram that’s known to capture the fun and witty BTS (behind the scenes) with their team and interns.
Here are some fun behind the scene ideas you can share with your close friend’s list:
- A photo of you or your team at work
- Photo-shoot of products or styling
- Take a picture of your work space
- How you source or create your products
Instagram Pro Tip
Not sure what kind of BTS to share with your followers? Ask them, use the question stick in your stories and see what followers are really interested in learning about you.
Once again, Instagram features have proven to help your business grow and connect deeper with followers. Here’s a quick recap on five ways your business can use close friends list:
- Exclusive Promotional Discounts Codes
- Exclusive Product Launches
- Exclusive Freebies & Downloads
- Secret Sessions/Interviews With Brand Influencers or Industry Expert
- Sneak Peek & Behind the Scenes
As amazing as these content ideas for your close friends are, you’ll still need a bit of creativity to make it yours. If you’re fumbling to come up with ideas, here are 30 Instagram marketing ideas, tips, and examples to guide you along the way.