Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday announced a new broadcast chat feature on Instagram called “Channels”, which creators can use as a casual, quick way to keep their followers up-to-date.
According to Zuckerberg, the new Instagram Channels feature lets creators share “a public, one-to-many messaging tool for creators to invite all of their followers into and engage with their most interested fans.”
Zuckerberg announced the feature by starting his own broadcast channel, which he says will be the first place where news and updates on all the products and tech that Meta is developing would be shared.
The broadcast channel will allow Instagram creators to send text, photos, video, and voice notes, as well as share their latest updates and behind-the-scenes moments directly with their followers. They can even create polls to crowdsource fan feedback.
Instagram points out that only creators can send messages in broadcast channels, while followers can only react to content and vote in polls.
The Meta-owned photo and video sharing service has plans to add more features in the coming months, such as the ability to bring another creator into the channel to discuss upcoming collabs, collect questions for an AMA via question prompts, and more.
How Does It Work?
Once a creator gets access to channels, they can start a broadcast channel from their Instagram inbox. Once the creators send their first broadcast channel message to their followers, they will receive a one-time notification to join the channel.
The moment the broadcast channel is live, creators can also encourage their followers to join by using the “join channel” sticker in Stories or by pinning the channel link to their profile.
Creators who have subscriptions and want to create a broadcast channel open to all followers, need to ensure that the audience is set to “all followers.” Creators also have the option to create a broadcast channel that’s restricted to paid subscribers for their most exclusive content.
How Can One Join A Broadcast Channel?
- You need to access the link to the broadcast channel on a mobile device via a creator’s Story sticker, or the link pinned to their profile or, as an existing follower. It will send out a one-time notification sent when a creator starts a new channel.
- Tap “Join broadcast channel.” If you are not a follower of the creator, you will be prompted to join the channel.
- Once you join the channel, the broadcast channel will appear in the Instagram inbox next to other message threads.
- Followers can react to content and vote in polls, but cannot send messages. They can also share a link to their favorite creators’ broadcast channels so friends can follow and join.
Anyone can discover and view the content on broadcast channels. While all followers will receive the first notification inviting them to join the broadcast channel, only those who have joined will receive subsequent notifications for new updates from the creators.
At any point in time, followers can leave or mute broadcast channels, or completely turn off a creator’s broadcast channel notifications.
Currently, Meta is testing broadcast channels with a handful of U.S. creators and plans to expand in the coming months.
Those interested can sign up here to be considered for early access. You will require to access the waitlist on your mobile device. Please note that spots for early access are limited and will be provided on a rolling basis.
While Instagram is the first Meta platform to introduce the broadcast channels feature, the company will also be testing the new feature in Messenger and Facebook in the coming months.