How to Use Instagram Close Friends

Stories is one of Instagram’s most popular features with over 500 million people using Instagram stories daily (reported in 2021). Stories have been a crucial feature for businesses to sell and build relationships with their followers. The less-curated element of Instagram Stories allows businesses to humanize their brand.

The Close Friends feature can be beneficial for both personal and business accounts. Personal accounts can utilize the Close Friends feature to share private stories with a specific selection of followers. For example, sharing content that is more private or for friends vs. family.

In this article, we will be strategizing how the Close Friends feature is beneficial for Small Business Owners, Creators, and Entrepreneurs.


The What

Instagram ‘Close Friends’ is a feature that allows you to create a collection of followers who are given access to private Stories. Stories posted using the ‘Close Friends’ feature will only be visible to those accounts you’ve added to your Close Friends list.

Close Friends was released by Instagram in November 2018 and was quoted “With Close Friends, you have the flexibility to share more personal moments with a smaller group that you choose.”

See the FAQ section at the bottom for more details


The HOW (Creating, Editing, Posting)

Creating your list:
  • Go to an account’s page and select the “Following” button. Select the Star that says “Add to Close Friends List”

Editing your list (2 Options):
  • Option 1: Go to your Profile > Settings > Close Friends

  • Option 2: When posting a story, select the Settings gear at the top right > Story > Viewing > Close Friends

Posting to Close Friends:
  • Create your story and tap ‘Send To’ > Close Friends Only > Share > Done

The WHO

Using Close Friends for your business can be a true game-changer. With that being said, you will need to strategize before randomly adding everyone to this list. Here are some tips:

  • Create a poll in your stories. Post a story explaining how you will be utilizing the Close Friends feature and asking if they want to be added. You will then view the poll results and manually add those people to your list.
  • Review your DMs. Check for accounts to DM you frequently or have built a connection with you. 
  • Check out your prioritized accounts. The first few stories shown on the top bar of your feed are accounts you’ve interacted the most with. 

The WHY

Visibility:
  • The circle around your story will be changed to bright green when you post a story to Close Friends only. This attracts more attention to your Stories can lead to more story views
  • Using the Threads app, you can create a Status that is visible to Close Friends. This creates prime real estate on your profile to promote sales or events (Only Close Friends who have downloaded Instagram’s ‘Threads’ messaging app will be able to view your status)
Building Trust:
  • Create inclusiveness by posting a story making your Close Friends feel special and telling them how being on this list will benefit them. Ex: “If you’re watching this Story, that means you’ve been added to my Close Friends list! Here you will have first access to sales & exclusive discounts!”
  • Offer a series of mini-trainings for Close Friends only. Share this event with the public enticing them to join the list. Post polls regularly for more followers to be added to the list.
Converting Sales:
  • Warm leads will be added to your Close Friends list which means they need more nurturing and are more likely to purchase from you
  • You will now have a list of warm leads that you can visit later and reach out to those people individually via DM for special discounts and promos

The FAQ

  • Can people see a list of my Close Friends? No. The list is only available to you (not even the people on it will have access, aside from seeing the green circle around your story)
  • Are they notified when I add them to my list? No. They will never be notified if you add or remove them from this list.
  • Can anyone request to be on my Close Friend’s list? No. There is no way for someone to send a request unless they reach out to you directly to ask.
  • Is there a limit to how many Close Friends I can have? No. You can add an unlimited amount of accounts to your list. 
  • Do I have to be following someone to add them to my list? Yes. You must be following the account you want to add to your Close Friends.
  • Can I use this privacy for any other features besides stories? No. You currently can’t use the Close Friends privacy for any feature besides Stories
  • Will stories visible to Close Friends be visible longer? No. Stories posted with this feature will be available for the same amount of time- 24 hours
  • Can I make multiple “Close Friends” lists? No. As of now, there is only one master list.

UPDATE: Instagram is rumored to be creating “Fan Club Subscriptions” by adding the ability to start a Live video for your subscribers (as of Oct. 2021)

How will you be using the Close Friends feature? Let me know in the comments!