Written By: Lyndon
At this point it’s become normalized for people to get annoyed at instagram for making LOTS of changes to the platform, algorithm, even the feed, and I’m not even going to get started on their NFT trials going on right now.
It feels like Instagram is alienating many of their core users and people that depend on the platform for marketing their products and services. Which brings us to the crux of this post: if they’re making all these changes that are pissing off so many people, do they really care about you as a user?
The answer’s actually more complicated than you might think. It’s essentially yes they care about you, but not about you today, they care about you in the future.
Wait, what?!? That doesn’t make sense – let me explain.
On February 2 Meta, Instagram and Facebook’s parent company, posted their fourth quarter 2021 financial results (this is required for all public companies). For the first time in the history of Facebook there was a decline in Daily Active Users of around a million people globally 😳.
Without getting too lost in the numbers, Meta was losing customers to other social media platforms since they weren’t innovating and trying new things, they got comfortable with the status quo.
Instagram and Facebook’s business model is based on selling ads based on users on the platform seeing those ads. If fewer people are on the platforms every day they can’t sell as many ads. For most companies when your revenue starts going down it’s time to start making changes.
Which brings us to this spring, Meta is now in a catch up phase. How can they adapt their platforms to stem the flow of users and return to growth. This means implementing some of the things that other companies have proven works like doubling down on short form video (thanks TikTok) or prioritizing original content (early days Vine anyone), while simultaneously trying to become a leader on new technologies as well with things like NFTs.
All of this to say, Instagram cares about you to the point that you will still be using and creating content on the platform in the future. This required some pretty drastic changes, which they’ll probably keep doing for the next couple months (or years) until they’ve come back on top as the dominant social media or died trying (okay that may be a little dramatic, but somewhat true).
Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” While he may have been talking about animals, the most common place I’ve seen this quote is in business contexts. Especially in the Social Media space, many, many platforms have come and gone, but Facebook/Instagram have proven they’re really good at being responsive to stay on top. They’re just doing it again right now.
So Instagram is changing, what can you do now?
Instagram is a platform that needs users to open their apps. But they don’t create anything that users come to see. They need users and creators uploading things that people will spend time on and keep coming back to see. Another way of saying that is engaging content.
If you reframe how you think about your relationship with Instagram to be a mutually beneficial partnership it starts to open up the possibilities of what you can do.
To pull a slide from the masterclass that we’re teaching in our membership on Friday, a simple way of understanding this partnership is to think about each party’s goals. Those goals reinforce a loop of posting good content, and based on the level of engagement IG will push it to more people who will come back to see more of your content.
One of my favorite quotes from Winston Churchill is, “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Right now there’s a lot of change: it’s causing scary drops in views/likes, things are glitching, many people are frustrated, some people are even leaving the platform, but there’s also tons of opportunities for anyone willing to try out the new features Instagram is rolling out.
For us, we’re excited about the opportunities. And we’re excited to share with you what we’re learning. On Friday May 27 we’ll be hosting a live masterclass (with replay) in our Membership called Activating Your Audience all about improving your engagement. It’s all about bolstering that left side of the loop so that Instagram will do their part to amplify your reach.