Instagram's big shift

Published: 25th October 2021

By Kristy Gogolka, LGAQ Social Media and Corporate Communications Officer

This change is fuelled by the fact its competitors TikTok and YouTube are the app of choice for Gen Z-ers. These apps facilitate an authentic approach to showcasing content online. Instagram has traditionally been the app of choice for showing the best of who we are and only the highlights of life. Now, it’s distancing itself from this.

The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said in an announcement the platform is looking to embrace video more broadly, whether this be with full-screen, immersive, entertaining, or mobile-first video. They will be experimenting with several things in the coming months, namely prioritising ‘reels’— Instagram’s video sharing function. Because of this, the platform looks to be boxing out the competition rather than focusing on what it does best.

The same goes for TikTok. The platform announced it is now moving towards longer-form videos—essentially leaning into YouTube’s offering. TikTok made the announcement that 15-second and 60-second videos will still exist, yet they have opened the platform for creators to produce three-minute videos. In May, TikTok had 80 million downloads; Instagram racked up just 11 million in comparison. The threat for their audience is becoming real. Both platforms are moving towards a creator-friendly model and the general population’s desire to share photos with friends and family is changing with the drive for more entertaining content and videos.

Traditionally, creators fit into four categories online: entertainment, extremism, education, or everydayness. As a creator, you could fit into one of these categories and stick to it. If you tried to change, you would generally receive some backlash for this and be told to stick with what you’re good at. Now these lines are becoming blurred with society wanting all of this in one person.

So, what does this mean for you? Now that we know video is becoming increasingly prominent and with less desire for it to have a glossy look and feel, we can be creative, authentic and quirky. We need to lean into this side of social media and be original. People want escapism from the reality of day-to-day life and if we can provide information in an entertaining way, this will help people engage with and understand it.

As an elected member or council, you can be creative and connect with Gen Z-ers online. You can reach a new audience, get them excited about local government and make a difference in your community. You can update residents who live in the same community as you and also educate the next generation on why local government matters and what you’re fighting for to make lives better. At the end of the day, we are at the mercy of the power of these platforms. We need to be agile, work quickly and look for opportunities to insert ourselves into them. Don’t be scared to try new trends as these can have massive growth if they are done right. Put yourself out there and think about what your audience is wanting to follow you for.