Brands and creators have a new way to get chatty with Instagram audiences, thanks to the Thursday rollout of “Broadcast Channels,” a test feature powered by the Messenger platform.
Guaranteeing that it will see at least some usage, Meta chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg announced through his own “Meta Channel” that he will share news and developments through Channels first. The case illustrates at least one way companies and rising web celebs can use the feature, as a way to keep fans in the loop on updates.
“Creators can use broadcast channels as a casual, quick way to keep followers up to date,” a post on Messenger’s company blog read. “They can use text, photo, video and voice notes to share their latest updates and behind-the-scenes moments and even create polls to crowdsource fan feedback.”
Channels, as a one-to-many broadcast tool, will not trigger a firehose of comments, like a typical social media posting. Follower responses are limited to polls and reactions.
Eventually Instagram plans to expand the feature to allow for more types of content, like conversations where two creators can dish on their latest collab, without leaving the app.
Although Messenger powers the tool, it’s not available within the Messenger app, at least not yet. But it will be at some point, in addition to Facebook. For now, it debuts as an Instagram-only test feature for a handful of select creators in the U.S.
Once they get access, they can tap into Broadcast Channels from their Instagram inbox. The first message sends followers a notification to join the channel, but creators can also add a “join channel” sticker in Stories and will later be able to pin the channel to their profiles. Those with subscriptions have the option to create an open channel for all followers or an exclusive one for paid members only.
Otherwise, anyone on the platform can discover channels and see content. But to be notified when updates are posted to particular channels, fans must join. And if they tire of a Broadcast Channel, they can always mute it or even leave, as well as adjust their notification settings.