Since October 2010, Instagram has been a major social media platform that allows people to share pictures and comment on other people’s posts. One of the main features of Instagram is that it allows users to like posts which boosts that person’s profile. The amount of likes and comments a person receives on their photos or videos increases their engagement, which is what companies want to see when hiring influencers for a paid promotion. Instagram is starting a new experiment where users who own the profile are the only ones who can view how many people have liked their photos or viewed their videos. The experiment is said to start in Canada as early as next week.
But what will happen to Instagram Influencers? Instagram Influencers are paid to post promotional content because they have a large following and they can rack up a lot of engagement on their posts through likes and comments fairly quickly. Brands like to hire influencers for paid promotions because it is a quick and easy way to introduce new products to consumers. The idea is that if people see a popular influencer like Kim Kardashian using a specific product, they are more likely to purchase that product. Without the ability for brands to see how much engagement a person receives on their posts, how will influencers be able to get more brand deals? Better yet, how will companies know who to pay to promote their products?
According to Forbes Magazine, the amount of followers a profile has is the biggest source for sponsorships. But tracking the amount of active followers a user has is tricky. Someone can have one million followers but only have 100,000 people who are engaging with their photos because there are so many profiles that are no longer active, also referred to as ghost accounts, and a lot of people buy followers that end up being fake accounts. For people who have a lot of ghost followers or followers who were bought, the engagement on their photos will be a lot less than the number of followers that they have. Without brands being able to see how many people like their posts, they won’t know how well that influencer is really doing.
If this new update is going to cause so much trouble for businesses and influencers, then why is Instagram doing it? According to Forbes, Instagram wants its users to focus on their content rather than how many likes something receives. There are several articles written by Buzzfeed, The Guardian and Cosmopolitan that surround the culture and unhealthy obsession with the amount of likes their posts will get and deleting them if they don’t get enough. Although the followers won’t be able to see how many people are liking the photo, who’s to say that the posts still won’t get deleted if they aren’t receiving an admirable amount of attention? It was revealed that the experiment will begin in Canada, and depending on the types of reactions it receives, it may move on to other parts of the world as well as other social media platforms such as Facebook and maybe Twitter.
Instagram is constantly changing and adapting. Unlike other social platforms, there have been few updates Instagram has made that users didn’t like. Time shall tell if this change falls under that category or not. Stay tuned!
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