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Instagram Notes is Growing at a ‘Wild’ Pace: Here’s How to Use the Feature Strategically

How to use Instagram notes as a creator or brand — and why it's a new feature not to be ignored.

Jun 25, 2024 6 min readInstagram
Photo of Kirsti Lang
Kirsti Lang

Content Writer @ Buffer

Ever noticed those little bubbles atop certain people’s profile pictures in your DMs? Those are Instagram Notes, and — despite a slow uptake on the platform — they’re starting to gain traction. 

“Notes usage has grown at a wild pace, particularly with young people,” Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri shared in an update on Instagram. 

“Notes have quickly become a popular way for people to share thoughts or status updates with their Close Friends or people who follow them back. They're sort of like AIM status, for those of you old enough to remember that reference,” he joked. 

Mosseri also pointed out in the update that notes are designed for “starting conversations with people you care about” and are, as such, only visible to people you follow and who follow you back. 

And there’s the rub: why should brands or creators care about this friends-and-family feature?

Well, for one thing, Instagram’s inbox is a well-traveled section of the social media app, particularly for younger Instagram users. Having your name and a message atop that important real estate on the crowded platform could give your content a helpful boost.

In this comprehensive guide to Instagram Notes, I’ll explain exactly how — and why notes is a new feature not to be ignored as grow your following on Instagram.

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Wait, what are Instagram Notes?

As Adam Mosseri explained above, Instagram Notes are little updates you can share with mutual followers that appear in Instagram’s direct messages section. 

Like Instagram Stories, Instagram Notes last 24 hours, after which they disappear. Notes can be up to 60 characters long, and you can only share one note at a time. 

When the feature rolled out on Android and iPhone in 2022, it was limited to text-only, but now users have a host of options, including music, videos, and even replies. Here’s how Mosseri explains it:

  1. Music note: Share your current favorite song or one that captures your mood
  2. Video note: Tap the photo in your notes tray to record a two-second video to post as a note
  3. Replies: Respond to a friend’s note using audio, photo, GIFS, and stickers
  4. Likes and mentions: You can now like a note or mention a friend in one

These options are still being rolled out to all regions — so if you don’t have the ability yet, you should soon!

How to use Instagram Notes

Viewing others’ notes on Instagram is simple — just head over to your DMs or inbox. You can get there within the Instagram app by tapping on the little message icon (either a paper plane or a speech bubble, depending on your region) on the top right-hand corner of your screen.

How to create an Instagram Note 

Creating a new note only requires a few extra taps. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Tap on the DMs icon on the top right corner of your screen. 

  • Tap ‘Note…’ above your profile picture at the top of your Instagram inbox.
  • Type in your note (1). To add music, tap the audio icon (2). To add a video, tap your profile picture (2) and then the blue button at the bottom to begin recording your video. Videos can only be two seconds long. 
  • Choose who to share your note with (followers that you follow back or your close friends list).

  • Tap Share in the top right to share your note.

How to delete an Instagram Note

The note will disappear after 24 hours, but you can delete it at any time. To delete your Instagram note, simply tap on the note, then hit ‘Delete note.’

How to leave a note on an Instagram post or Instagram reel

Instagram recently introduced a clever new way to add a note to another piece of Instagram content. For personal Instagram users, this is a neat way to share content with a comment without having to navigate over to your inbox. 

To use this feature on a post or reel:

  • Tap the paper plan icon on the post.
  • Tap ‘Add note…’ and enter a note of up to 60 characters.
  • Choose who to share your note with (followers that you follow back or your close friends list). 
  • Tap Share in the top right to share your note.

These notes work a little differently from the ones you add from within your Instagram inbox. For one thing, they last for three days before disappearing, not 24 hours. 

Notes you create on posts or reels will be visible to only followers who follow you, or your close friends list (depending on which option you chose before sharing).

Interestingly, the person who shared the content will not be able to see your note (unless you mutually follow each other or they’re on your close friends list).

People on this list can either like or reply to it. If someone replies to your note, their reply will start a chat between you and them only. 

Why use Instagram Notes

Notes is a subtle way to get your follower's or customer’s attention in a far less crowded space. Think of it as pinning up a signpost on a quiet lane that you know your most engaged followers often wander down. 

If you’ve gone the extra mile and followed your most engaged followers and customers back (and why not?), Notes are perhaps most useful in alerting them about new content. 

Given how noisy their Instagram Feed and stories bar are, it’s far more likely they’ll see a quick note that says ‘New Reel!’ or ‘Giveaway in feed!’ than new content. 

So it’s well worth leveraging Instagram Notes to send your followers to your new content — this may well prompt their engagement on your new posts too! Engagement is the strongest signal to the Instagram algorithm that your content is valuable, helping boost reach.

3 Instagram Notes ideas for creators and brands

Here are some creative ideas for your next Instagram Note:

1. Point followers to your new content

It’ll take less than 10 seconds to share a note alerting followers to any new content you’ve just published — it’s worth baking this update into your Instagram publishing process. A simple “New reel” or “New post!” could do the trick, but it’s worth adding a little intrigue to entice your followers to tap over. 

If you can squeeze it into the character limit, you try to include what the content is about, too. What value is your new content providing? Think: “Newborn sleep for new moms in new post!” or “[Product] tutorial in new reel!” If you have space, add in some colorful emojis to help the note stand out. 

2. Tease a launch or announcement

Whet your followers’ appetites for any big news with a brief teaser in Instagram notes. If it’s a product launch, share a sneaky video of the new item or simply drop some text hints. 

For example: “HUGE announcement 6 p.m. EST tomorrow!” or “T-2 days until new range drops!”

3. Share exclusive content or discounts

Given Instagram Notes are reserved for followers who you follow back, the feature offers a unique way to strengthen your relationship. 

For example, you might be a creator launching a new guide or course — use notes to give your most engaged followers a sneak peek with a note like, “Reply here & I’ll DM you a link to my new guide!” If you’re a brand, you may opt for a 24-hour discount code you share in your notes with your best followers. 

Instagram Notes is an evolving feature

It might not be the new Instagram Stories, but notes offer a unique way to connect with your most engaged followers. 

And whether you’ve leaned into it yet or not, it’s clear that Instagram Notes is an important feature for the powers that be at Meta — which means it’s worth leveraging as part of your Instagram strategy.  

Have you experimented with Instagram Notes yet? We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Find us on all social media platforms @buffer or @bufferapp. 

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