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Micro Influencers see a bumpy road ahead to monetizing a like-less Instagram

Instagram is moving towards being a like-free content sharing platform. This is likely to democratize creativity by giving the power to like back in the hands of the users instead of being influenced by the numbers of likes garnered by a post. It is likely to offer an equal opportunity to micro influencers and to diverse content which did not find its way for the lack of acceptability amongst masses and without the vulnerability of being judged by the likes.

While the overall sentiment around this change seems positive the micro influencers are feeling short changed as they believe that the current trend of gaining followers is driven by the likes and the macro influencers will have an advantage over them as in the absence of likes number of followers will emerge as the single largest parameters to bucket the influencers. Particularly for the brands and audience that prefers quality over quantity being judged by no of followers or comments would not reflect the true reach and appreciation of the story. 100% of mid-tier and macro influencers love the new feature while this sentiment completely reverses with the micro influencers who feel display of likes are the fastest route to grow the following as well as negotiate with the brands showcasing higher rate of engagement.

64% of the influencers surveyed believe that negotiating deals with brands in the absence of display of likes will get tougher and it may overall compromise their ability to command a premium for delivering better engagement than get measured by their follower base. Most of the influencers that believe that the new feature will not impair their ability to negotiate with brands are either macro influencers in travel as they have already gathered a good following or the tech influencers it being very niche and relatively smaller community.

Influencers usually build their subscribers on at least 3 platforms which can go up to 5 depending upon the genres they operate in. Facebook being common to all. Travel influencers usually operate on simultaneous channels including LinkedIn, Blogs, and Twitter while their tech, lifestyle and food counterparts do not generally like to build a community on LinkedIn.

The new feature is unlikely to see any exits from Instagram. However, they are likely to add other platforms to build parallel communities and strengthen their negotiation with the brands they endorse. TikTok is the first preference of Food and Lifestyle influencers while LinkedIn could be the first preference for the Technology and Parenting influencers.

Chetan Mahajan, founder & CEO, The Mavericks: “The like-less social world is likely to reduce the stress due to self-inflicted pressure of getting public validation to stories posted on Instagram. This practice is likely to be followed by other platforms as platforms take on more responsibility to rid the society from this pressure of performance. The platforms are likely to benefit even more as brands may want to invest more money in advertising rather than hiring influencers who may find it difficult to justify their impact.”

Prince Khanna, CEO of Eleve Media: “For content creators, working on branded content is one of the key sources of revenue. And for brands, Instagram likes is one of the key metrics to assess the impact of an influencer. With the recent update that hides likes, influencers can focus on creating quality content rather than chasing likes. Hiding likes is not going to "kill" Instagram influencers; it's just intended to change their mindset. “

(We got this information in a press release.)