In an age of connectivity and freedom of content creation, being an influencer is a thriving trade. We want to dress like them, we want to be fit like them, we eat the food they recommend and buy the products they use. After all, that’s what they are paid for – to influence our decisions and to represent brands that pay them to do it full-time. It sounds like a dream job. Yet, influencers, especially on Instagram might be living on borrowed life.
Here at our content writing agency, we keep a close eye on what happens in the world of social media and we find the wind of change in this area of the digital space very interesting.
Have we had enough of all the influencers? Is the Instagram hype slowly dying or just evolving? How does that affect your business? We’ll go over all of it in the following lines.
Let’s Talk About Likes
The currency of the social media world
With the rising of the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) culture and the strong link between mental health issues and social media, companies are trying to adapt every day. In 2017, Instagram was deemed as the worst social media platform for young people’s mental health. This is not a label that anyone would want to be associated with.
And so Instagram decided to make some changes.
Perhaps the most significant one is the removal of likes. Frankly, that was a bit shocking to me but having read more into the reasoning behind this decision, it made a lot of sense. The idea is to hide the number of likes on photos and videos for everyone else but the content creator.
This was already tested in Italy, New Zealand, Japan, and many other countries and it all started in July. Other social media apps are sure to follow.
What about the algorithm?
Well, for starters, it is getting much better at knowing what type of content you would like to see but also at what to restrict from reaching your feed. Since its complexity has increased, this poses another challenge to influencers.
What Happens to Influencers Then?
Without their main metrics, who will they influence?
It might not look like it but the game changes. Significantly. I am thinking about brands and finding the right influencers to approach. Before, it was all based on popularity. Metrics like likes and followers were key. Perhaps many influencers will shift towards videos on YouTube since this seems to be the most popular platform that shares so many similarities with Instagram.
Furthermore, the lack of likes may push Instagrammers to start building relationships with more people in their community. This way they won’t just have a faceless mass of followers that are just standing at the receiving end but actual engagement with their audience. They won’t just stay for the pretty pictures and sponsored posts but the person behind them.
Adapting to the Changes
Adapting is pivotal in our digital reality
Perhaps, influencers themselves know that the industry is about to change and change again and its diverse nature is just a part of it. Perhaps it’s not news to anybody that a marketing strategy or brand growth based on polished pictures on an app is not a solid enough plan. Probably, sustaining an Instagram profile of a carefully-curated lifestyle isn’t going to be what people want to see more of in the future.
So, as the environment in which influencers “influence” changes, they will have to reconsider a thing or two as well.
So, if you are an influencer…
If you are someone who holds a popular Instagram account, who works with brands, and makes revenue from sharing content on the social media app, think about incorporating other channels to your personal brand if you haven’t already.
Besides, removing likes and such metrics might be a good thing for everyone. Yes, brands may currently select influencers, with whom they’d like to do business based on their followage, likes, etc. but if these metrics cease to exist, it will be merely content that will set you apart. And what’s better than that, really?
I am not just saying it as someone who works in a content writing agency, i.e. someone who produces content every day in many shapes and forms. Instagram is all about content too, whether it is words or visuals. Doing it well should be why you started this whole thing, not so much the mere fact you are influencing someone’s buying decisions. So just keep doing it to the best of your ability.
And if you work with influencers…
Just like Instagram creators themselves, start paying more attention on the type of content your chosen influencers are creating rather than likes or other metrics. Keep up with the platform as well. Some changes are being introduced that might help you expand your reach. Also, since there is a big turn towards stories as a more engaging form of content, you might want to tap into that as well.
In addition, with the change introduced in June, advertisers and promoters will be able to put influencer posts in people’s feeds as a form of paid advertising. This essentially brings the money flow back to the social media app and not just creators on it. If investing in branded posts is a major part of your marketing efforts, you will have to engage more with Instagram itself than just influencers.
So, Is It The End of Instagram Influencer Era?
My point of view
I think we’re still far away from that moment but it is inevitably approaching. I don’t think this is a full stop, so to say. More of a dot, dot, dot – ‘ to be continued’ type of thing. Instagram is changing, so are the rules of the game and the roles of the players but they will adapt to the new environment. It just might not be that easy. Likes or no likes, I believe Instagram influencers and the hype around them is not coming to an end, simply entering a new stage.