What we know so far about Meta’s Broadcast Channels

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A neon sign that reads hello

Broadcast channels are a public, one-to-many messaging tool for Instagram creators to connect with their most engaged followers.​ For receivers, Broadcast Channels are like mass WhatsApp group texts you can’t reply to, because only creators can send messages, while fans can simply react to content or vote in polls.​ According to Meta, Broadcast Channels are ‘giving millions of creators a new way to directly engage with their followers, at scale, in real time.’

How does it work?

Those with Creator accounts can start a broadcast channel straight from their Instagram inbox. You can choose your channel name, audience, when the channel ends, and whether you want the channel to show on your profile – see Mark Zuckerberg’s as an example, which has already amassed over 546k members. Followers will receive a one-time notification to join the channel when the first broadcast message is sent.​ After joining a channel, it will appear in your Instagram inbox next to your other DMs. ​You can still mute, hide or leave the channel at any time. Currently you can only access Broadcast Channels from mobile devices but there are plans to roll out on desktop, as well as on Messenger and Facebook.

Creators can choose to create a channel open to all their followers, or can also create specific broadcast channels for segments of audiences.​ For creators with Subscriptions, there’s also the option to create a channel limited to paid subscribers, for example, ‘VIP customers’, or those interested in a particular event or product launch. This is a great opportunity for individuals or small businesses looking to create exclusive content, for example yoga teachers, musicians, fashion influencers etc.

A demonstration of Meta's Broadcast Channels

Who can broadcast?

The sad news for businesses is that currently you can only start a broadcast channel if you have a Creator account, and switching from Business to Creator accounts means losing some of your Business account benefits, like owning a Meta shop or being able to schedule content via third party apps. This could change in future; in the meantime Meta is testing the adoption of Broadcast Channels amongst creators.

What are the early signs?

Creators are using broadcast channels to help followers stay in-the-know using text, photo, video, voice notes and polls. While it’s still early days, the features and controls offered by broadcast channels signal a significant shift in brand-consumer interaction on the platform. For those who embrace the tool, there’s a distinct opportunity to get closer to audiences, make deeper connections and create stronger communities. 

Our conclusion? Broadcast channels could be the next big thing for business-follower relationships, but just like every other new app or update, it requires time, dedication and a whole lot of fresh content ideas.