The Next Instagram Feature We'll All Obsess Over

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Did you update your Instagram app today? If so, then you probably noticed the new "Instagram Direct" feature, announced this morning on the photo app's blog. The new feature allows you to share pics with a select group of up to 15 followers. Which means that now you don't have to spam your entire feed with that pic of your morning coffee — you can choose just your closest friends in your Latte-Art Appreciation Club.
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If Instagram Direct sounds a whole lot like Snapchat, that's probably the point. The only major difference is, unlike that platform, your pics don't disappear from the recipient's phone after a while — so, it's probably best to save those sultry selfies for Snapchat.
And, if you were wondering how quickly this new feature would be used for PR purposes, the answer: almost immediately, of course. Today, Gap became the first brand to host a contest via the new feature. So, if you're keeping track, the contest was announced a mere hour after the update was released. Way to stay on top of things, Gap!
The details behind the contest are that Gap posted a photo, and promised to include the first 15 commenters in the challenge. Those 15 individuals then received an invitation via Instagram Direct to post their outfit photos for a chance to win a tech case. As of this writing, the photo has a healthy 3,000 likes and 70 comments — way more than the brand's average. We're predicting that other companies and retailers will follow suit when they see that level of engagement.
For users, Instagram Direct offers a much more intimate way to interact with the brands they follow. So, with just 15 other people in the conversation, it's like being at a cozy cocktail party with the labels you follow versus the noisy kegger that is a brand's main Instagram feed. Social media's about access, after all. And, Instagram Direct is about as intimate as it gets. (Fashionista)

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