Instagram has added a new option that will enable users to restrict the audience for their Instagram Stories content. Now, if you want to share your Instagram Stories in a more private group, you can, which could encourage users to more freely - and regularly - share quick updates.
As shown above, the new option enables users to create lists of specific groups of friends, which will then appear as sharing options when you go to send your Stories (you can see the 'Close Friends' group icon at the bottom of the final frame). This means you no longer have to share all your Stories with everyone, which, as noted, could open up the option for more use.
As per Instagram:
"Only you can see your close friends list and no one can request to be added, so you can feel comfortable adjusting it at any time. When you share to Stories, you’ll see the option to share with just the people on your close friends list. If someone has added you to their list, you will see a green badge when you’re viewing their stories. You’ll also see a green ring around their profile photo in the Stories tray."
The option moves in line with broader social media trends towards more private sharing. The top messaging apps now have more users than the top social networks, and an increasing amount of engagement is now occurring via messages and within private groups. That's why Facebook's been working hard to find new ways to monetize Messenger and WhatsApp, and to put increased emphasis on group usage - as social media, in general, has evolved, people have become more aware of the potential negative aspects of sharing everything with everyone online, and most have sought to pull back.
On Instagram specifically, private sharing has been steadily on the rise - around half of all Instagram users now also use the platform’s messaging options, while previous reports have shown that 85% of the messages shared on the platform are distributed to the same three friends, underlining the desire for more intimate sharing.
Instagram's been working for some time to cater to this - social media code hacker Jane Wong spotted the option to share Stories with specific friends in development back in June, while the platform has also been working on its ‘Friends Lists’ feature for more than a year, with The Verge first reporting on it in June 2017.
Really, given the trends and development, it's somewhat surprising that it's taken this long for Instagram to launch it, but the logic of the option is fairly clear. Now you can separate your audiences and feel more free to share whatever you like, which is an option that will no doubt be welcomed by many.
From a marketing perspective, the addition could provide value by giving brands a way to share their posts with specific lists of users based on content relevance (promotions with specific audiences based on list segmentation), or maybe for exclusive groups and offers. That is, if the tool is available for business profiles (waiting on confirmation). But if it is, there are new options to consider.
Instagram 'Close Friends's is being rolled out from today in the latest version of the app.