How to Use Instagram’s Close Friends for Your Business

Picture of Mia Buse Tarakcioglu

by Mia Buse Tarakcioglu

Since the new Instagram feature named “Close Friends” was released, this social networking app has been reinvented. This feature introduces intimacy in social media and allows users and even businesses to gain more control over their accounts when it comes to Instagram Stories.

Instagram’s Close Friends for Businesses

In this post, I’ll give you five effective tips that’ll help you understand how to segment your list and use Instagram’s Close Friends for your business. But I before we get to the tips, let me answer a few questions you might have about this feature.

What is Instagram’s Close Friends List?

First of all, let me start with a quick question that will get you closer to understand what the Close Friends List is and why you need it.

Have you ever wished you could share an Instagram Story only with your closest friends or with a selective list of followers? Your answer is most probably YES!

For this purpose, Instagram has launched the Close Friends feature which enables users to create a special list of followers, who you can share private Instagram Stories with. This is a great feature, not only for your privacy but also for a business that wants to share special messages or announcements with only a selective list of customers.

Why is Close Friends List Important for Social Media?

As Instagram has been growing exponentially over the last years, the line between “friend” and “follower” has become more and more blurred.

If in the beginning social media was a way to better communicate with your friends, nowadays our accounts are like mixed pots of people, from friends and relatives to ex-lovers, coworkers, bosses and even people we do not know.

Of course, we do not feel comfortable to share some aspects of our lives with all these people. On these lines, the Close Friends List can be the best ally to your privacy on Instagram Stories.

How Does Instagram’s Close Friends List Work?

When you post an Instagram Story to your Close Friends, only the members from the list will be able to see it. So, how can you understand if it is a regular story posted to all followers or sent only to a close friends list?

Instagram has two ways of showing you this. In the Story tray, your close friends will see a green ring around your profile, not the pink regular one. However, they miss to see it, while they are viewing the story, Instagram will show them the “Close Friends” icon in the right corner, at the top of the screen. You can post regular stories and private stories simultaneously. The stories sent to your close friends will always be hidden from the rest of the audience.

Instagram close friend feature

You can still add to highlights your Instagram Stories posted to your Close Friends List. However, when regular followers enter your profile, they will not be able to see anything. Only the friends from your list will have access to them.

How to Set Up a Close Friends List?

Set up a close friends list

The first thing you should know about this feature is that you are fully in control of creating the list. It is private and nobody can request to join it or see your actions of adding and removing members. You can create your list from two different locations.

1. Profile Settings

Profile setting

Go to your profile on Instagram and tap on the three-line button situated in the right corner. Then simply select Close Friends.

The list of close friends will automatically open with suggestions of people you may want to add. To find specific persons, you can use the search field. Once you find the wanted user, just tap the green button “Add” which corresponds to that person. Once the user is moved in your list, a new “Remove” button will appear next to it. Later on, when you decide to exclude someone from your list, simply tap that button and the user will be removed.

This method allows you to access the list and edit it any time you want. It is also important for you to know that Instagram does not send any notifications to users when they are added or removed from Close Friends Lists. Moreover, there is no limit of how many users your list can contain. Everything is up to you!

2. From your Instagram Story Post

Keep in mind that this option of adding people to the list only works when the list is empty.

Start creating your story as usual and before sending it, tap the green icon at the bottom. If the list is empty, a pop-up will open. Tap the “Add to list” and you will be able to start adding people to the list, using the same process I have already explained above. If your list is already created, when you tap the green star icon, the story will be automatically sent and shared with those from the list.

Important: You can only add in this list people you are following at that moment. If you have a business and would like to share special messages with your top customers, make sure you follow them first. Also, don’t forget to track the metrics and results.

How to Send Instagram Stories to Your Close Friends List

One important aspect of the Close Friends List is that it can only be used while sharing stories, not to the regular posts in your feed – they will remain public.

To send an Instagram Story to your Close Friends list, create the story just as you always do and select the green star icon at the bottom. And that’s it. Another option is to tap on the “Send to” button. A new screen will open with a list of options, including your story, your Close Friends list, groups, and individual users. By tapping “Share” next to the Close Friends, your story will be shared only with the people from your list.

Now that you have learned how to set up and send stories for your Close Friends List, let’s take a closer look at how this feature can positively influence your business.

How Instagram’s Close Friends List is a Plus Point for Your Business

First of all, let me share some statistics to underline the importance of Instagram in marketing: more than half of the brands use Instagram and 90% of the top 100 brands in the world have an Instagram account. In the USA, 96% of fashion brands are on Instagram. These being said, there is no doubt that Instagram is one of the main tools for marketing and promotion tactics.

Using the Close Friends List while sharing Instagram Stories on your business account will strengthen your relationships with your team, partners and influencers who promote your brand.

1. Send Exclusive Content & Offers

Like every successful business, you may think to offer VIP memberships or create private groups for your constant customers and followers in order to give them privileged care.

When you use the Close Friends List, you can send exclusive content only to a particular group of people such as discount codes, offers of partnerships, special access to products before their actual launch, special announcements, and personalized messages or videos. See how Confetti Social put out an offer in their Story.

Put Offer in story

For example, if you are a nutritionist, you may need to share exclusive content only with your paying clients, such as a new nutrient-rich diet for vegetarians. This content will not reach the rest of your audience – ones who haven’t paid for your services.

2. Provide Rewards for Top Followers

A faithful follower who – always keeps up with your brand, likes your posts, shares, comments and advertises your products – is like a small step on the stairs to success.

Since rewards always represent a huge impact on everyone’s motivation, you may consider delivering special rewards only to your top followers if you add them to your Close Friends list.

3. Collaborate with Influencers

This is a new trend in social media marketing and can help your business grow exponentially in only a few months.

Add all the influencers you are working with to your Close Friends list and give them access to special offers, details about your new products, updates, discounts or information they can use to promote your brand effectively. See how Artifact Uprising shared information about their ‘guide’ in their Story.

Collaborate with influencers

This is how most of the brands became successful on Instagram. Keep in mind that influencers have a huge role here.

4. Share Private Content With Mastermind Connections

You should never neglect your business partners relationships and mastermind connections. For this purpose, sometimes, you may want to share private information with them, behind-the-scenes content and even vulnerabilities that rest of your audience should not have access to.

With Instagram Close Friends List you can create a beautiful community and a friendly atmosphere with all of your crucial partners. This will help you to strengthen and nourish healthy relationships for your business.

5. Show Gratitude to Your Loyal Fans

Gratitude is the source of prosperity and this rule also applies to your Instagram account. Sometimes you may be too busy to send handwritten notes or write private DMs to each and every one of your loyal followers and customers.

You can add all of them to your Close Friends List and share some “thank you” messages or videos to let them know how valuable they are for your brand. Of course, you can get more creative than this, there are lots of ideas on how you can show your gratitude towards your faithful fans. You can also ask such customers for their feedback – be it about increasing your product’s price or introducing a new service.


For businesses, managing multiple accounts may be tiresome and unproductive. But now, nothing will stop your business anymore from developing and validating your loyal customers or vital influencers, easier and more effective than before, by using the Close Friends List.

This Instagram feature will place your business on a high level of exclusivity. You can create a friendly environment with a selective group of people and share private contents that Instagram Stories never had before.

If you are looking for an easy way to publish and schedule Instagram posts for the right time and day, then our curated list of best Instagram marketing tools can help you.

Picture of Mia Buse Tarakcioglu

Mia Buse Tarakcioglu

Mia Buse Tarakcioglu is the Content Marketing Manager of Popupsmart. Also, she is the author of PopupSmart Conversion Optimization & Digital Marketing Blog. You can find her on LinkedIn, or you can directly reach her through PopupSmart’s website.

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