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Grow Your Brand Account With Close Friends

Billie Eilish just added 7M new followers in two days.

She added all of her followers to her “close friends” list. Then posted a cryptic teaser about her upcoming album to this “exclusive” group.

The result?

Her Close Friends message skyrocketed to the top of everyone's Story feed.

Fans freaked out, thinking they were the chosen ones privy to this secret information.

They shared screenshots that went viral and got her new album promo in front of 100m+ people.

Which got me thinking - how can brands leverage this?

Exclusive Behind-The-Scenes: Make Your Customers Part Of The Brand

Take Bandit Running, for example. They sent me a DM asking if they could add me to their Close Friends list to see behind the scenes of their upcoming campaign.

I immediately replied, "Dope, appreciate it."

I thought it was a personal message.

Even though they probably sent this to a lot of their followers, I felt special and like I was let into an exclusive club.

I was getting a peek behind the curtain. Seeing a side of the brand that not everyone gets to see.

Now I’m not just buying from a faceless brand. I’m buying from “close friends”.

Use Instagram's Close Friends feature to create a VIP section for your top customers.

Exclusive Drops And Experiences Only For “Close Friends”

Kith uses its loyalty program to give customers access to exclusive capsules designed for each tier. These items are made to order, solely for loyalty members, and never sold to anyone outside the program.

You can recreate and share access links exclusively in “close friends” posts.

Or offer experiences like Tracksmith's community group runs and 100-day marathon prep programs, again, with sign-up links exclusively shared with “close friends”.

Co-Creation With Close Friends

Listen to your audience, understand their needs, and innovate with them.

Poplight used Kickstarter to actively involve their backers in the creation process. Backers get to vote on exclusive colors, provide feedback on designs, and even suggest new features.

You can use your Close Friends group the same way. Invite them to be part of the product development journey. Let them vote on colorways, provide early feedback, and suggest products.

Personalized Recommendations For “Close Friends”

MM LaFleur offers a personal styling service that provides tailored product recommendations in-store and through virtual appointments.

Close Friends can act in the same way. Have your team interact with your Close Friends, learn about their likes and dislikes, and then provide personalized product recommendations.

This could even apply to specific events they're attending. For example, if one of your Close Friends posts about an upcoming wedding they're attending, reach out with styling suggestions from your latest collection, complete with ideas on how to accessorize and what shoes to pair with the outfit.

Member Concierge For “Close Friends”

The Browser Company, Arc, created an “Internet Concierge”.

So their users can reach the Arc team for easy customer service - but with class.

You can also create a dedicated concierge service for your Close Friends on IG.

This could include:

  • Having them reply directly to any of your “close friends” posts to ask questions, rather than going through a support page or contact form.
  • Setting up a private DM channel on Instagram where Close Friends can reach out for personalized support.

Whichever approach you take, the key is to make your Close Friend feel like they have a direct line to your brand.

Some people prefer email, others SMS, but others prefer social.

So this is just another tool in the toolkit to take your top customers and segment them on IG - to make them feel special, heard, valued - but with a huge bonus because it’s a two way street.

You get to see what they’re up to in their day to day lives, and you both have a direct line to each other to build even deeper loyalty.

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Hey! I’m Alex, the Founder of Marketing Examined. I send these case studies to over 200k founders, marketers, and creators every week, straight to their inboxes. And if you want, I’ll send it your way too :)

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