With hours in the day dominated by social network usage, a variety of apps are all vying for the attention. From Snapchat and TikTok to Facebook and Twitter, a myriad of the largest brands are trying to find new ways to connect to an audience that has their attention divided between multiple outlets.
Context Collapse and Instagram’s Remedy
The result is a constant flux of content available for the public to access. This excess of accounts makes itself the most apparent through the concept of “context collapse.” Certain people follow you on certain apps, whether you want them to or not.
This divide between intended and accidental audiences creates multiple, contextual personalities for account users, depending on what information they wanted shared with which people. When all those censored (and uncensored) personalities collide, you get a context collapse.
In an effort to salvage some of the collapse, Instagram released a feature called Close Friends where users can create personalized lists of people that can receive the user’s content. By adding an element of exclusivity to an otherwise public platform, Instagram is creating a way for users to further curate the people they let into their circles of trust. And influencers are using it in unexpected ways.
Influencers Use Close Friends Feature for Exclusive Content
By adding price walls to their public platforms, influencers can incentivize their followers to pay a monthly rate to get access to even more exclusive content–beyond the regular posts available on their pages and regular Instagram stories. These incentives vary by the influencer, with some offering personal Skype sessions or deeper looks into the thoughts and personal lives of the influencer.
Although this trend is relatively new, other people (influencers and consumers alike) are jumping on board–giving brands and advertisers a unique opportunity to position themselves within the trend.
What Does This Mean for Brands?
For brands, this presents an opportunity to connect with their audiences even further through more exclusive content. Combined with the recent release of Instagram Threads, brands can evolve their strategies to include a personalized touch for those specific groups of users that opt to join their Close Friends. Here are a few examples:
- If a brand is announcing the launch of a new product line, Threads could get that message out to loyal consumers while Close Friends could share exclusive images or videos showcasing the product.
- For brands in the fashion industry, Close Friends can also function as a platform narrative for a brand’s influencers or partners to give personalized tips on how to style a particular item or accessory.
- If a brand’s marketing campaign includes brand ambassadors, Close Friends and Threads would also present a way for these influencers to communicate with one another–effectively communicating their outreach with the brands they are working with.
Since Threads and Close Friends are still new and mostly underutilized, brands have lots of opportunities to explore how these new features fit into their marketing strategies. When used together, Close Friends and Threads can function as an inner dialogue for brands to use within specific campaigns or launches.
As Instagram and other social media apps continue to grow, brands and advertisers must also create new ways to interact with an increasingly digital audience–by taking the message straight into their DMs.