A Guide to Instagram’s New Subscription Feature

This New Feature Allows Brands to Monetize Exclusive Content

Instagram continues to roll out new features on their platform to make the content you create more engaging than ever. 

It’s important to remember that brands and creators should always experiment with new features to decide if it is right for them. 

But sometimes, you want to know a little bit about that new feature before diving in head first. We are here to help you with that today for one of Instagram’s newest features, Subscriptions. 

What is Instagram Subscriptions?

This new feature allows creators and brands to monetize their content on Instagram. Essentially, it allows a creator or brand to offer exclusive content and benefits to their most engaged followers for a monthly subscription fee. 

While it can be a fun added bonus for larger brands and influencers, this is massive for smaller brands and creators. It can actually be a way for small businesses and creators to have a more predictable and sustainable income from their content. And Instagram doesn’t take a cut of your profits! 

The Benefits of Instagram Subscriptions

The biggest benefit of Subscriptions is that it allows you to showcase your work and connect with your most engaged audience on a deeper level. As your community grows, it can be hard to connect with all of your followers. But with this exclusive content space, you’ll have a spotlight on the most engaged followers, so you know exactly who to give your time and attention to. Plus, these highly engaged audience members can give you reliable insights about your broader audience. 

The other big benefit is more reliable monthly income you can gain from creating regular content. This can allow micro-influencers more freedom to create additional content without worry. Even for small brands, creating content takes time and energy. But with this exclusive content, you’ll get something back monetarily, which can be a nice little bonus on top of the audience insights!

Instagram Subscriptions Features

The beta testing of this feature offered only three features, but since implementing Subscriptions on a broader level, they added a few more features. Here are the features you’ll get to use when you implement Subscriptions. 

  • Exclusive Content: These are reels and feed posts that are exclusive to subscribers. While disappearing content creates a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out), it’s been proven that content that lives permanently on your profile is an effective way to attract new subscribers and the same can be true with permanent exclusive content keeping loyal subscribers. With this feature, your subscribers can always come back and enjoy the content you created for them at any time. 
  • Subscriber Chats: You will have the ability to create a subscriber chat where you can discuss different topics with your subscribers directly. Up to 30 subscribers can join your chats from a “join chat” sticker that you must post to your Story. This feature is powered by Messenger and can be created directly in your inbox or Story. However, it’s important to know that these chats end in 24 hours. 
  • Subscriber Stories: Just like you can post Stories to your close friends group, you can also post only to your Subscribers group. Giving you another way to post exclusive disappearing content that encourages engagement! 
  • Subscription Live: Subscriptions also allows you to create Subscriber Lives. Whenever you go live, you can choose to host exclusive Lives for your subscribers. When you do go live, your subscribers will get a notification so they can access your Live. This gives you another opportunity to engage with subscribers in real time. Some examples of Lives you can do include a Q&A, a tutorial, or a class. For example, a fitness brand could run a weekly subscriber only workout class! 
  • Subscriber Badge Icon: Finally, the last feature is a special subscriber badge given to people who subscribe. When they interact with you, that badge will be displayed next to their username. That way when they send you a message or comment on a post, they’ll stand out to you and you can engage with them even on your non-subscription content. 

How to Implement Subscriptions

Instagram hasn’t rolled this feature out to everyone as of yet, but if you see Subscriptions appear in your professional dashboard, you are eligible to enable subscriptions and set your monthly price. If you change your monthly price later on, know that it will only apply to new subscribers, and existing subscribers will continue to pay the same fee they signed up for. In the professional dashboard, you’ll also be able to manage your list of subscribers and edit your payout account. Visit the Instagram Help topic on Subscriptions for more. 

Tips for Growing a Sustainable Subscribers Base

When you implement a subscription based model, you want to deliver on your promise of exclusive content or you’ll lose subscribers and the trust of your audience. Trust is huge in marketing as that is what leads people to buy into your brand. Before you can get to effectively using Subscriptions to market with, you have to build your subscriber base. Here are some tips to do just that.

  • Stay true to your personal brand. Your subscribers already love you for what you do on the platform, so don’t change or lose yourself trying to do something that can easily be found elsewhere. 
  • Show some appreciation for your subscribers. These people are your biggest supporters, so make sure to get back to them when they comment or send a message. Welcoming new subscribers each week can also be a nice way to show some appreciation. 
  • Be consistent. When people pay a monthly subscription to have exclusive content, you can’t just post only when you feel like it. You should post on a predictable schedule so that your subscribers can plan ahead to not miss your new content.
  • Be transparent. Communicate what subscribers can expect from you when they subscribe. We recommend posting about your plan publicly to entice new subscribers.
  • Do something special. Give your subscribers a surprise Live or chat every once in a while where you can all catch up with one another. You can also ask them for feedback about your content or you can discuss a new idea to feel out if it would be something popular with your subscribers. This can make them feel special and like they are a part of your work, helping them stick around!

Key Takeaways

This new feature will ultimately bring many benefits for brands and content creators alike on the platform. Not only can it be a more secure source of monthly income for smaller brands and influencers, but more importantly, it helps increase engagement from your already highly engaged followers. Remember that if you are able to try out this new feature, be yourself, have some fun, and work on creating content your target audience will enjoy.