Instagram keeps evolving its product, releasing new features regularly nowadays. One of the latest is the Instagram Group Chat Sticker for Instagram Stories. This was first ‘leaked’ a couple of months early but is now officially part of Instagram.
The jury is still out on how useful Instagram Group Chat Stickers will be to influencers, but they are innovators, so they will undoubtedly make use of the new stickers in their Instagram Stories.
Instagram Group Chat Sticker for Influencers
What’s the Instagram Group Chat Sticker?
The Instagram Group Chat Sticker is effectively a request to start a small group chat, from inside an Instagram Story. Friends can request a group chat directly from your Story.
Introducing the new chat sticker in Stories. Now, there’s an easy way to start conversations with a group of friends right from your story. pic.twitter.com/A1An7d9TjJ
— Instagram (@instagram) July 2, 2019
This sticker appears with all the other stickers when you create a page for your Story. If you select it and add it to your Story, you can add a note telling your friends what you want to chat about. When one of your friends sees the Sticker, they can tap it and ask to join your online conversation. As the person who posted the sticker, you control the chat and can decide whether you allow an individual to join the chat.
It works with Instagram Direct and is another way for Instagrammers to communicate with their best friends, rather than talking to their whole following.
Move Towards Messaging
There has been a significant uptake in chat and messaging in recent times. Facebook Messenger is the second most downloaded app, and although Instagram has abandoned efforts to develop its separate Direct app, Instagram itself is now the 4th most downloaded app. Facebook also owns WhatsApp, which has even more users worldwide than Facebook Messenger.
Travis Montague, writing in Adweek, expects, messaging to dominate 2019. In 2018 alone, the four largest mobile messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Viber) held 4.1 billion combined users, and this ignores messaging integrated into other apps, like Instagram Direct. Seventy-two trillion messages were sent in 2018 across the top four platforms. Montague observes that “Sixty-eight percent of consumers note that messaging is the most convenient way to stay in touch with businesses.”
Facebook, as a company, recognizes the success of messaging/chatting, and it is no surprise that they have developed these capabilities in their products. More than half of Instagram’s users are now using Instagram Direct.
One of the recent trends in Instagram has been for people to communicate in small groups rather than broadcast to their entire audience. This could be a result of people being burned on social media because of public posts they’ve made. People are beginning to learn that posts in public places, such as Facebook statuses and regular Instagram posts, remain forever. If you post embarrassing pictures of yourself or make indiscrete comments, they are there forever, for future bosses and partners to find. Messages in chat apps, have smaller audiences, and are consequently more private.
What is Instagram Direct?
Instagram introduced its private messaging system in December 2013. Before that, if you wanted to contact another user, you could only do so by commenting on one of their photos or tagging them in a comment on another photo.
You can send an Instagram Direct message to anyone you’re following. You can also send them to Instagrammers you’re not following, and these will show up as message requests in their inboxes that they have to approve first. You can reply to an Instagram Direct message, much as you would with any other messaging app.
If you receive an Instagram Direct message, you’ll see a paper airplane logo displayed to the right of the Instagram logo are the top of your home screen. Tap on this, and you’ll go to your Instagram Direct messages.
As with Facebook Messenger, and most other messaging apps, you can set your device to give you notifications as new messages arrive. Click on one of these notifications to be taken directly to the message.
You can even share any standard post via Instagram Direct, by clicking on the paper airplane icon that appears as a possible interaction with the post.
You can easily create group conversations in Instagram Direct by simply writing a message to two or more people.
Instagram Direct also has its homage to Instagram Stories. You have both regular messages that stay in your message box forever (or at least until you delete them), colored black, and disappearing messages that you can replay once and then vanish, colored blue. You can easily send a disappearing photo or video either as a group or an individual message.
Now, the new Instagram Group Chat Sticker gives you another way to join an Instagram Direct conversation.
Why Would Influencers Use Instagram Group Chat Stickers and Instagram Direct?
Instagram Direct is particularly useful if you have a large number of followers but want to share information with only a select group of people. You can better target your message without sending them to inappropriate people.
Influencers might use Instagram Direct for their personal posts, to keep them separate from their more public followers. They might create a chat for their closest friends and family members only.
Alternatively, they might embrace Instagram Direct in their influencer marketing, perhaps creating a chat for people interested in a specific influencer campaign. They could tie this in with a customized Instagram Story on a particular day and invite interested followers to join the conversation in an Instagram Direct messenger thread.
Private Polls Are Also Taking Off on Instagram Direct
Instagram has regularly added to the feature set of Instagram Direct over the last few years. Another area of interest to businesses in their introduction in 2018 of private polls stickers to direct messages. You can add a poll to a direct message thread by choosing your audience and adding a poll sticker, in the same way, you add stickers in Instagram Stories).
This could be used by brands or influencers to gather the views of a select group of followers.
Instagram Close Friends List Also Helps You Limit Your Sharing
Another way you can create a smaller group on Instagram is the Close Friends List. You can use this to customize the group of people to whom you share an Instagram Story.
This means that you don’t have to share your Instagram Stories with everybody who follows you. You can make a Story and share it solely with the people in your Close Friends list.
This can be particularly useful to influencers and their clients who may choose to create Instagram Stories for highly segmented markets. They simply modify their Close Friends List on a particular day to match the intended recipients.
You can tie this technique with the use of an Instagram Group Chat Sticker to create an elite group of followers, who an influencer may wish to deliberately target.
Once you’ve created an Instagram Story targeting your Close Friends, your profile image will have a green circle around it, both on your profile page, and in your Close Friends’ feed. This helps you stand out from other Instagram Stories posts. Your other followers, however, don’t see the post at all.
If somebody shares a Close Friends post with you, it will stand out in the Instagram Stories section of your feed because of its green circle, unlike the pink circle showing on regular Instagram Stories.
You create a Close Friends list by going to your profile page. You then tap the hamburger icon in the top right corner of your screen. You will see the option, Close Friends. Tap it and add the names of the people you want to include in that list. When you’re ready to share an Instagram Story with the list, create the Story as usual, but tap on Close Friends in the bottom left corner of your screen.
Brands might create a Close Friends list of their influencers. Then, whenever they come across a post that might interest them, they could share that post with just their influencers, bypassing all their other followers. If the post includes an Instagram Group Chat Sticker, the brand might set up a group conversation with its team of influencers.
Smaller, More Exclusive Groups Can Help Build Connections
Whether it be direct messaging, chat initiated in Stories, or separate Instagram Close Fronds Lists, there is a clear trend of working with smaller groups on Instagram. For a while, there seemed to a race to the top; full steam ahead to have more followers than anybody else. Influencer marketing began using mega influencer celebrities with millions of followers. The problem is that large followings tend to be very impersonal. You come to a point where people follow you because it seems the right thing to do, rather than because they are interested in you.
This is one of the reasons why some brands now feel discouraged by influencer marketing. They made the mistake of going for large followings but little buy-in from their audiences. It is also why micro-influencers, even nano-influences, have grown in popularity recently. It is far easier to engage with smaller, proactive groups.
If you have a lot of flowers, you can’t just make them disappear. But you can segment your followers and focus your efforts on your most likely candidates. Instagram is now making this much easier with some of the new tools they have made available.