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Broadcast Channels: How Meta’s New One-Way Chat Works

Broadcast channels are a public, one-way communication tool for creators to message their followers on Meta’s platforms.

Colleen Christison May 8, 2023
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Sometimes, progress can boomerang. Gen Z is bringing back bootleg jeans and “vintage” butterfly hair clips (please don’t let low-rise jeans come back). SNES emulators were a hit thirty years after the initial launch. And now, Meta has brought back a traditional one-way radio style of advertising in the form of broadcast channels.

In this article, we’ll take you through how broadcast channels work, how to join and create them, and how they can help creators and social media managers connect with your audiences.

Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.

What are broadcast channels?

Broadcast channels are a public, one-way communication tool for creators to message their followers on Instagram.

The posts in broadcast channels are like a mix between a standard post and a private message. They’re public like a post but are more casual, like a DM. They feel a little bit like Instagram notes that don’t disappear, kind of a one-sided Instagram chat.

Broadcast channels can be used to blast out news, updates, thoughts, or insights to the public using text, photos, videos, voice notes, and polls. Followers can engage by reacting to content and voting in polls.

Meta has started rolling broadcast channels out on Instagram, but stay tuned: the new feature will hit Messenger and Facebook. There is no official timeline for Meta channels yet, but Zuckerberg and team reassure us it won’t be long.

Besides, it didn’t take long after the initial announcement of Instagram’s broadcast channels for those to launch.

How do broadcast channels work?

Broadcast channels work as a form of one-way communication. Creators post updates to their broadcast channel, and followers can react to the news using emojis or vote in the poll posted. Crucially, followers can’t comment on any updates.

Right now, you need to be a creator to broadcast on Instagram. And you can only access broadcast channels on mobile, not desktop.

Once you create an Instagram broadcast channel, your followers will get a notification to join your channel. You’ll also have access to a “join channel” sticker in case you want to promote your channel in your Stories. And you’ll get a link you can share, so be sure to pin your link to your profile.

Creators who have Subscriptions are able to set their audience. You can either choose “all followers” or create an exclusive channel for your paid subscribers.

How to join a broadcast channel

As long as you’re following the creator, you can join their broadcast channel.

Step 1: Find the channel you want to join

You will get a notification when someone you follow has created a broadcast channel. Tap that notification to get to the Broadcast channels section.

You can also find broadcast channels in creators’ Stories or occasionally linked on their profiles. Alternatively, you can have a friend send you an invite link to a creator’s channel you’d like to join.

notifications with account names on instagram

Step 2: Navigate to the creator’s channel you want to join and tap it

navigate to creator broadcast channels

Step 3: Hit Join broadcast channel

Once you’ve joined a channel, you can find it in your Instagram inbox next to your other message threads.

DIY insider join broadcast channel

Step 4: Engage with emojis

If you want to react to a channel update, you can press and hold the message you want to respond to. Then, choose an emoji you want to respond with.

Step 5: Share your favorite channels with your friends

You can share broadcast channels with others, simply hit the Invite link icon in the top left to copy an invite URL.

How to create a broadcast channel

If you’re a creator, you can create a broadcast channel for your followers. It’s as easy as sending a DM, but instead of slidin’ into that cutie down the block’s messages, you’re sending thoughts out to all of your followers.

Step 1: Navigate to your message center

Head to your message center by hitting the airplane icon send or the word bubble messenger in the top right corner.

Step 2: Create a message

Hit the pencil icon in the top right corner.

Step 3: Tap Create broadcast channel

This will open up a new broadcast channel.

Step 4: Personalize your channel

Choose a channel name, your audience, and whether or not you want to advertise your channel on your profile.

Step 5: Go live!

Hit Create broadcast channel at the bottom of your screen to publish your channel.

Step 6: Start posting content

Time to start sharing that exclusive content with your followers! Just remember, they can’t write back to you, so make sure your updates are clear and easy to understand.

Frequently asked questions about broadcast channels

Broadcast channels are pretty new, but here’s what we can answer right now!

Which features are available in Meta’s broadcast channels?

Currently, creators can use text, voice notes, photos, videos, and polls. Soon, creators will be able to invite another creator into the channel for a discussion and be able to collect questions from the audience for, say, an AMA.

When will broadcast channels be available to everyone to create?

It’s unclear whether or not Meta will give non-creators access to broadcast their own Instagram channel. In the past, however, they have made popular features available to everyone, so we’ll have to just wait and see!

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By Colleen Christison

Colleen Christison is a freelance copywriter, copy editor, and brand communications specialist. She spent the first six years of her career in award-winning agencies like Major Tom, writing for social media and websites and developing branding campaigns. Following her agency career, Colleen built her own writing practice, working with brands like Mission Hill Winery, The Prevail Project, and AntiSocial Media.

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