Instagram on Damage Control

Last week Facebook reported a drop in revenue for the first time. Does this spell trouble for metadynes’? And everyone hates Instagram too. Welcome to the indestructible P.R. podcast, where we use current events and tested media P.R. strategies to help prevent or manage a crisis and build an indestructible reputation. Who is in crisis this week, meta-Facebook, Instagram, all the above? Yes, this week on the podcast, breaking down my favorite type of crisis response. The video response. If you didn’t catch the news last week, Instagram has changed, and everyone hates those changes, and frankly, Instagram doesn’t care that you hate those changes. People like Kim Kardashian, kylie Jenner were the types of influencers who had problems with the new Instagram, and they let everyone know it in this world when people complained online, and those people complaining happened to have a huge platform online than the company that must deal with it with the downfall is in crisis. Last week, the head of Instagram Adam Asser posted a video on his Instagram page that came across as an informational campaign to explain to followers some of the new changes happening at Instagram. But what I saw when that role came across my feed was a platform in full damage control mode. So, in his article, I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the new Instagram feed because that’s for another podcast and other experts. What I’m interested in is in the response now just to give you a very basic background for what is going on with Instagram. I can sum it up in a sentence. Instagram wants to be TikTok there. Okay, think about if you use Instagram; let’s just say Instagram, to me, is the plus one at a wedding. You know, fakebook’s the main guest, but people don’t like this guest anymore. Maybe this is the guest that drinks too much and causes problems, and Instagram is there plus one? It doesn’t matter. But people prefer the new fun guest, and that guest is called TikTok. TikTok is changing the way that people use social media.

Look at me, I am not the primary demographic. I barely even look at it though I do use the stories and what are the stories, what are featured in stories, video, you know, quick snapshots of what’s happening, and that type of application is called TikTok Instagram is trying to replicate TikTok steal its thunder and bring it over to Instagram. But a lot of the people who are complaining about it or not. People like me who just use it may be to lift a profile or to share information.

It’s people who make money, influencers who successfully use Instagram to sell product ideas. But now, with Instagram’s new focus on video and essentially becoming TikTok, it’s really putting a squeeze on influencers because sometimes they don’t want to do everything in the video. Sometimes they just want to photograph where they can take a photo of something that they want to sell at a few links. But now, with the changes with Instagram trying to become like something else, a lot of people have complained, not just a lot of their users but their key users for reference. The last time that Kylie Jenner complained about a social media app that was Snapchat, lost $1.3 billion in revenue. So, you can understand why this matters. There was another Instagram influencer, a 21-year-old named Tatiana burning. She created a petition on The petition set up by burning is seeking to undo many of the changes that have been rolled out on the app. She wants the chronological timeline back, prioritizing photos, and removing the Real Video tool, which is very similar to TikTok and the new algorithm that Instagram follows. Now she wants that to be downplayed as of when Wednesday evening.

Over 195,000 people have signed this petition. Now many of you who are listening, if you work for organizations, corporate organizations or small to midsize businesses, you’re not going to be dealing with a crisis of this size. Still, it has a lot of the elements that I see in a lot of the campaigns with smaller brands and companies, you know, we have a person a victim who wants change. They’ve been penalized by a change or some choice that a business has made in this case. A lot of the influencers, when victims feel that they have been hurt, that there’s been an injustice, want retribution. And a lot of these retributions will come in the form of some digital retribution, like a petition such as, other videos, and other commentaries.
So, Instagram made a response, which is one of my favorite responses, and that’s what I wanted to break down just a little on this podcast. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it because, frankly, it’s mid-July, and we don’t want to spend a lot of time on the heavy stuff. I know you don’t, and I don’t either. I did make a post about this on TikTok, so I thought I would just talk about it on the podcast as well. Instagram right now, we’re talking about a billion monthly active users. That’s in 2021. We’re still far ahead, believe it or not, of TikTok’s based that they have right now. However, with the threat of TikTok and the short form video, it is growing exponentially, and Instagram is decreasing its users.

TikTok now, as a metric, it’s the most downloaded app in the world. So, we know where it’s going, and with Facebook having so much trouble with meta, the parent company is releasing their earnings report that it’s gone down for the first time. What I wanted to mention was what I liked about this video response from Adam, who’s the head of Instagram. The video response that he created. I can’t say as much that it’s going to change the negativity and the negative sentiment that is out there against Instagram because I think this is a P.R. Problem up against a strategic problem. This video is trying to explain a decision that meta or someone at meta created, and it could have been Missouri as well, but it’s a pr response to a strategic choice. So, what we can take from that is in many cases, you know, communicators are stuck trying to put lipstick on a pig and trying to come up with the best words and wordsmithing and optics in technology to try and sell an idea, and that’s what this video response is doing now. Is it going to work? I don’t think so much because of Instagram’s choice. Like, I don’t think Instagram could say anything at this point, and I don’t think anything they say is going to change because when you take a hit to your bottom line, you’re going to be upset about it, and that’s what a lot of these influencers are saying. So, what they’re going to do? What’s the retribution? They’re just going to dump Instagram and go someplace else.

So, Instagram really needs to do something. But what they want more, probably hear what they need is their earnings to increase instead of decrease, they need to make money Good PR is a good way of doing that. But sometimes good P.R., the best pr in the world, isn’t going to do it. So, this is an attempt at just like stemming the tide of negativity. But I am going to say why I like this video response even though I think they’re up just like a massive problem right here. There are things that I like about it. So, what I’m going to do is just tell you a couple of those things right now. Then I’m going to play the video for you to hear the audio of the video and then come back in again and then it’s going to be a hard out as you’re listening to this. I don’t want you to listen to it as an Instagram user and how you feel about Instagram. I don’t care how you feel about Instagram. That’s not the point. I want you to look at it. Like how effective this as a response is I actually think it’s pretty good. So, this is an audio broadcast here, so you’re not going to see, but let me paint the picture for you. So, Adam, I’m sorry. First of all, he’s cool. He looks good. He’s sitting in a room, looks like he’s sitting in a bedroom, not sitting in an office. He has like this moss green color behind him with some doors.

One of the doors is a jar, he’s wearing a yellow fitted sweatshirt, which is a very cool color. The long necklace. He has great glasses, these great men’s glasses, which as a complete aside, I was looking at men’s glasses this morning and they’re very similar. So, I can tell you just from my google search, these are very cool glasses, looks like he’s wearing jeans and also looks like velvet pants, I’m not sure, but he looks cool. He looks like a hip, smart, put-together CEO, head of a social media networking company that’s in a little bit of trouble right here. So, he’s just kind of sitting up, he’s propped up the video. We have text, the same type of text that you would see and if you do Instagram stories, how they have the colors, they have that type of text in there.

They have emojis in there, they have captions in there, so they have all the elements that you need just to roll out a very well crafted. The editing is sharp, it’s quick, and it’s a video that is very easy to watch. It’s very pleasing to the eyes. So, think if you have to capture your audience, your stakeholders are a primary group of stakeholders, they’re upset with you, and they do not like operations, how you have them right now, and they want to change. What I’m telling you right now is the head over. I have a link in the show notes, but a simple google will do it as well, watch the video, and see if you can replicate something like this if you are dealing with an issue. I love it now, you do need to have somewhat of a camera-ready CEO or head of an organization or someone on the leadership team and someone who feels comfortable and someone who can deliver an authentic message, and in this messaging, it doesn’t need to be a stilted public relations response. Still, we want some elements in there that are the stepping stones, the tools, the steps that you need to build an effective response. So, you’ve heard me talk about the indestructible pr response of Step one, owning it. Step to explaining and step three is promising. It does this in his post, he explains what’s happening, that kind of own that people have issues. So, listen for that. He’s explaining what the changes that they’re making in the promises that they make when you make a promise, you want to set an expectation to that promise you want to declare what that value system is. And as you listen to this, what Adams series trying to do is he’s telling you that we’re promising that we’re going to make this a good experience for you, even if you’re a content creator, the expectation is you may not like it right now, we’re still working on it, it’s not great, but we’re still working there are value here is that we care about our content creators, they want to fulfill that promise and meet the expect they want the value, showing a commitment to the people who follow them. And then throughout, he’s also doing another element which is reminding you of that promise and reminding that he set this expectation and then how he’s going to demonstrate it.

Those are the different steps that you need in an effective response. That’s how you build an effective response. So, take a listen to the clip and I’m going to come back on the other end. A lot is going at Instagram right now, we’re experimenting with a number of different changes to the app, and so we hear a lot of concerns from all of you. So, I wanted to take a few moments and clarify a few things. One is if you see a new full-screen version of the feed or you’re hearing about it, know that that is a test. It’s a test to a few percentages of people out there. And the idea is that a fuller screen experience, not only for videos but for photos, might be a more fun engaging experience, but I also want to be clear, it’s not yet good. We’re going to have to get it to go, we’re going to ship it to the rest of the Instagram community. The second thing I’m hearing a lot of concerns about right now is our photos and how we’re shifting to video now, I want to be clear. We’re going to continue to support photos, it’s part of our heritage and I love photos. I know a lot of you out their love photos to that said, I need to be honest, I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time. We see this even if we change nothing, we see this. Even if you just look at the chronological feed, if you look at what people share on Instagram, that’s shifting more and more to videos over time. If you look at what people like and consume and view on Instagram, that’s also shifting more and more to video over time. Even when we stop changing anything. So, we’ll have to lean into that shift while continuing to support photos. The third thing I want to talk about is recommendations, recommendations are posts in your feed from accounts that you do not follow. The idea is to help you discover new and interesting things on Instagram that you may not know even exist now. If you see things in your feed that our recommendations that you’re not interested in.

That means that we’re doing a bad job ranking and we need to improve, and you can x out a recommendation, snooze all recommendations for up to a month or go to your following feed. But we’ll continue to try and get better at recommendations because we think it’s one of the most effective and important ways to help creators reach more people. We want to do our best by creators, particularly small creators. And we see recommendations as one of the best ways to help them reach a new audience and grow their following. Now, this is a lot of change all at once but know that several things about Instagram are going to stay the same.

We’re going to stay committed to creating more broadly. We’re going to stay committed to supporting photos. We’re going to stay in a place where we try and put our friends at the top of the feed in the front of stories whenever possible, but we’re also going to need to evolve because the world is changing quickly, and we’re going to have to change along with it. So please let me know what you think down in the comments and know that I will continue to be here explaining there are changes as we come up with them, the reason behind them, and give you the latest updates about what’s going on in Instagram. I’ll see you soon. So, did you hear it, did you hear him own it? Have you heard him explain the problem and why they still needed to make changes? He explained the changes that they were making. He explained that some people weren’t happy with them, but you heard the value, you heard the commitment to content creators. It was a constant reminder of what that promise was going to be to the content creators setting that expectation, again and again, declaring whatever that value is and they will continue to demonstrate it. I

f you need to come up with a response for an issue and it’s an issue. That’s one of these sticky issues, it still sticks to you. You can’t let it go. It’s not an easy fix. Do something like this, give it a try. Produce a video posted on your website, posted to social post it in an email. If you need to send it out. Pay attention to optics. Pay attention to who your spokesperson is. Make that spokesperson speak in a place that makes sense. Is it in an office? It’s not behind a desk, have them wear clothes that speak to what they’re trying to do. Roll up the sleeves type of a wardrobe if you will. And let them look directly in the camera and tell the stakeholder why they matter. And the promise they’re going to make every podcast. I add one indestructible tip. This is that one leaves behind tip that will help you build an indestructible reputation. The quickest way to regain trust when you’ve lost it, in my opinion, is by using good video words. Words can be great. Words are kind of must-haves, right? Like we have to be able to read something. But seeing a person, a leader, and someone making the effort to make a great video that speaks to a stakeholder to win back their trust. That’s a powerful response.

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