To strengthen the bond between creators and their followers, Meta-owned Instagram has launched a new ‘one to many’ chat feature called “Channels.”
The new feature will let creators connect with their followers, at scale, by sharing text, photos, videos, and voice notes using the broadcast chat feature. Creators can even create polls to get feedback from their audience. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced “Channels” by creating his own broadcast channel, where he’ll share Meta updates in the future.
“Only creators can send messages, while followers can react to content and vote in polls,” the company said in its blog post. Meta says it will bring a similar feature to Facebook and Messenger soon.
Channels has been rolled out just in the US, as of now, to a handful of creators. Following the testing, Instagram plans to expand the feature in the coming months. The company says it even plans to add more features to broadcast channels, such as the ability to bring another creator into the channel to discuss upcoming collabs and collect questions for an AMA via question prompts. Creators can also sign-up for the waitlist here to get early access.
Creators can start a broadcast channel from their Instagram inbox. When they send their first broadcast channel message, their followers will receive a one-time notification to join the channel. They can also ask their followers to join by using the “join channel” sticker in Stories or by pinning the channel link to their profile. Creators with Subscriptions can also create a broadcast channel limited to paid subscribers for exclusive content.
Meanwhile, followers can join any broadcast channel on a mobile device via a creator’s Story sticker, the link pinned to their profile, or, as an existing follower, a one-time notification sent when a creator starts a new channel. Once they join the channel, it will appear in the Instagram inbox next to other message threads.
Followers can only react to content and vote in polls as well as share a link to their favorite creators’ broadcast channels so friends can follow and join.