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Why influencers want to diversify platforms and build community

Creators and influencers are looking for ways to diversify platforms in order to increase audience outreach, foster community, and assure they’re not at the whims of any single social media algorithm.

Instagram’s still Insta-growing. Despite trouble at Meta, ad revenues and user numbers are increasing in the US, nearing $30 billion and 130 million people, respectively, this year.

  • Instagram’s influencer marketing spending will total $2.23 billion this year, more than double its nearest rival, YouTube.
  • Over 7 in 10 US marketers use Instagram for influencer marketing, more than any other platform.
  • But the platform’s scramble to compete with TikTok, especially for newer creators with smaller audiences, has frustrated bigger names—names like Kardashian and Jenner.

To Instagram and beyond: Relying on Instagram alone is a risk for creators, as algorithmic and content strategy changes put their content monetization at risk.

  • Before rivals like TikTok, Instagram could glide without offering creators much support in terms of funding and resources.
  • Other options appeal to Instagrammers, who often feel the need to post constantly in order to game Instagram’s almighty algorithm. And those options extend far beyond the likes of TikTok and YouTube.

Substack substitute: Email newsletter platform Substack is not so subtly recruiting Instagram’s creators.

  • The platform promises a sense of ownership. “You’re not subject to an algorithm,” a spokesperson told Business Insider. Substack is directly courting creators fed up with Instagram’s algorithm with the promise of a stable, community-based platform.
  • Substack posted on its own site about the potential for fostering a “private-feeling community.” The post provides tips for bringing followers over from Instagram. But Substack lacks the sense of discovery tied to Instagram and TikTok that allows users to find new creators.

Can we talk? Chat platforms like Discord, Telegram, and Geneva offer another popular strategy for community engagement and audience ownership.

  • Community chat rooms aren’t new. They’ve been around since the email listservs of the 1990s and early 2000s, and Facebook Groups rode this wave a few years ago.
  • But Discord and the like offer direct ties to specific creators, or even brands. Creators themselves can also use their audience as a “focus group” for effective marketing.

Keep calm and community on: A wealth of platforms beyond Instagram offer influencers security against monetization changes, but community-building goes so much further.

  • “Community” has become a marketing buzzword. Creators aren’t only seeking options beyond Instagram—they’re noticing the very real need to provide some sort of virtual space in order to maintain a healthy following.
  • And it’s not just influencers: Brands, especially direct-to-consumer brands, are keen to foster an in-group feel, either via similar messaging platforms or within the metaverse.

One story to watch: Influencers are diversifying beyond Instagram because they feel empowered to do so. But will a push for community-based influencer marketing, combined with the rise of Web3 and metaverse endeavors, leave creators feeling like these other options are yet another mandate of affiliate marketing?

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.