Broadcast channels are a new feature of Instagram that allows influencers to interact with their audience in a fresh way. A broadcast channel is a one-sided chat that any creator (who has the feature) can fire up. All of their followers get notified. They can then share text, audio, photos, videos, and polls in this chat. Followers can react to messages and vote in polls. Participants cannot send messages.
These channels are designed to allow creators to share behind-the-scenes stuff, give updates and announcements, or just talk about an event or their day without committing to full-on live streaming.
Message reactors and polling are both ways in which followers can interact with the broadcaster in real-time. Once a follower has joined, the broadcast channel is added as a message to their inbox until the broadcast ends or the follower leaves.
The one-time notification can be used to directly jump into the broadcast channel to view your favorite content creator’s live updates. Each new message in the channel from the creator will notify you unless you mute the channel.
What Makes Broadcast Channels Good?
An Instagram broadcast channel is a one-to-many messaging tool. This can be used by influencers, brands, or content creators who have many Instagram followers interested in the small details of their lives.
- First of all, broadcast channels are public and they allow creators to directly engage with their followers in large amounts. This is a great tool for anyone who wishes to add interaction and a sense of “live” or “real-time” into their otherwise static story and reel updates.
- Broadcast channels allow creators to keep their audience in the know about what’s happening in their lives. This could be used for behind-the-scenes moments or planning the next project. The audience’s ability to vote in polls and react to messages additionally makes it an excellent tool to collect feedback and test new ideas.
- It’s as simple as a chat. It comes with none of the downsides of a live stream and can be accessed right from your Instagram inbox (once you’ve joined a broadcast channel, that is—It’s not listed anywhere else who’s broadcasting right now unless the creator puts it in their story or pins the link on their profile).
- Broadcast channels will be a great way to host a variety of community content. As such, it’s evidently a powerful tool to build and expand a community around your personal brand.
What’s in the Future?
This is a new feature that will soon be rolling out to new creators as well as to Meta’s other platforms such as Messenger and Facebook! Also, the team behind the broadcast channels has promised in their announcement that more features are coming to make the chat more exciting and interactive beyond just reactions and voting.
Most notably, broadcast channels will begin supporting two very exciting things very soon.
- Guest appearances will allow creators to collaborate with other creators within their broadcast channel. The guest(s) will be able to pitch in with their own texts, pictures, videos, and polls.
- AMA (ask me anything) features are also coming to broadcast channels. These sessions where the audience members and loyal fans can send questions that the creators will answer sound like a fun way to interact and build a healthy community. This feature will allow creators to collect questions using question prompts.
How Can It Help Me?
Well, that depends on what you’re attempting to do. For traditional businesses out there trying to market their products and services, this feature can certainly be used in some capacity but we won’t recommend it over, let’s say, some good old-fashioned ad planning and meticulous content creation.
Creators including niche-specific influencers who have hundreds of thousands of followers can make very good use of this feature. It helps build your community by bringing them one step closer to you.
If you can win here, you can win big.
Building a loyal follower base has always been pretty difficult even for the most motivated and appealing content creators. Broadcast channels might just be the way out for many. Get this feature soon and start using it as much as possible. This not only helps you bank on the newfound interest in this feature but also allows you to tell your audience that you care enough to spend more time with them and not just take 15 minutes each day to give them a series of stories or plan a live stream once a fortnight!
Broadcast channels can be a great tool to amplify your reach. People love to see more of other, good people. You don’t have to fuss over the details. Just send messages casually (though be sure to follow the Instagram Community Guidelines as it’s a public messaging utility not private) as you would normally share with your close friends and trust us—Your followers will notice this and love you all the more for it.
And oh, one thing to keep in mind.
If you have Subscriptions on your account then you can choose to make your broadcast channels subscriber-only or open to all followers (basically public). This allows you to offer something more exclusive to your paying followers!
Things to Keep in Mind
While broadcast channels have a lot of promise, this isn’t exactly a well-refined tool. And that’s alright—After all, Instagram is rolling this feature out in a phased manner, collecting feedback and seeing how creators utilize this new tool.
Here are a few things to keep in mind regarding Instagram’s broadcast channels.
- Channels are mobile app-only and cannot be viewed or participated in via the desktop or browser versions.
- This is a fairly new feature (announced on February 16, 2023) and hasn’t been rolled out for all creators. If it’s not showing up in your inbox, you can’t do anything about that but join the waitlist for early access. Link to the waitlist.
- The one-time notification only goes to the account’s current followers. To spread the word, the creator will need to add a sticker for the channel in a story and promote it for better reach.
Hopefully, broadcast channels will transform the way audiences interact with their favorite creators. Another tool in the arsenal, this can allow creators to build healthy communities around their personal brands while keeping a meaningful communication channel open with loyal fans.