The Lowdown on Instagram's New Creator Features - Negronis with Nord, Episode 2

James Nord
February 2, 2022
Updated Feb 09, 2024

How will Instagram’s new creator features affect influencers? And how should creators approach these tools? In this episode of Negronis with Nord, James shares his thoughts on the algorithm vs. chronological feed, native Affiliate Marketing tools, and Creator Subscriptions.

Each episode will focus on your most pressing questions about the space. You can submit your questions here.

How will Instagram’s new creator features affect influencers? How should creators approach these tools?

This episode includes:

  • What are some of the changes on Instagram that influencers should look out for?
  • The Chronological Feed is back! And (yet again) opinions on Instagram’s algorithm
  • Audience Ownership and taking responsibility for the performance of your posts
  • The world is changing, and tastes are changing. What to do about it
  • Instagram Affiliate Marketing tools & networks rollout
  • Instagram’s push towards e-commerce in 2022
  • Creator Subscriptions and advice on starting one
  • How James falls asleep at night

Instagram's Algorithm & The Return of the Chronological Feed

James Nord: Not sleeping sucks. Okay. Welcome episode two of Negronis with Nord. We've got a full house in the studio, aka my office here today.We've got Tim behind the camera as always. We have Haley on the couch, which we also had last week. And we have DonYe who I am going to film a Negronis with Nord with tomorrow. We also had my dog. I was going to have Tim spin the camera around and show my adorable animal. But he's gotten bored with me already, 30 seconds into this video and has walked away. We are left just with me. Hopefully you enjoyed the first episode. We don't know yet because we haven't published it.

This week, we're going to talk about Instagram. Talk about what are some of the things that are changing on the platform this year, that you should be looking out for. You should be excited about. You should be worried about. First up, and this is something that is going to be very exciting for a lot of you. I'm sure you have heard the Chronological feed is coming back as an option. Now we have talked about the algorithm on this show for as long as this show has been a thing for what, five years?

Tim Jeffreys: Almost six.

James: I am not that bothered by the algorithm, honestly, I feel like it's pretty simple. It says like, "Who do you engage with?" Six years, we've been talking about this algorithm. It has been blamed for every whoa in the world. Every post that tanks, every dip in engagement is blamed on the algorithm. And this is going to be a bit of a come-to-Jesus moment to understand how helpful or hurtful the algorithm actually was. I have always been pro algorithm. I think that there is just too much content out there. Y'all follow more accounts than you probably know. I'd love to have people throw into the comments, how many people they follow on Instagram. Let's say you follow 2000 people, okay. Let's say 50% of them post every day. So that's 1000 posts a day for you to go through. If you spend five seconds or so on each post that's 5,000 seconds. Tim, how many minutes is that?

Tim: 12 hours.

James: 12 hours? 12 hours of scrolling people!

Tim: Check my math on that. My math could be completely wrong.

James: Okay, we don't know. Tim's been out of the math game for a minute. Was he in there? Is he right?

DonYe Taylor: Yeah, no it's 13.

James: 12, 13 hours. 13 hours! The Chronological feed is going to be a complete and utter nightmare. And I think Instagram is literally releasing it just to shut everybody up, to prove that nobody wants it. And that the platform has grown to a level where the Chronological feed just longer is sustainable, and it doesn't make sense.

Audience Ownership

James: More broadly, we talk a lot in the show about taking responsibility. DonYe and I were just talking before we started filming about owning your audience. And this is something that's come up a lot with Web3. And it's something we've talked about with why you should start a blog or a newsletter, right? So you can take that audience with you.

Audience ownership is important that I also think it's important to take ownership over the performance of your posts. I think that if your posts aren't doing well, that sucks to have this big following and to feel like you're pushed into doing reels. And you're pushed into creating video. Doing all of these things that you maybe don't want to do that aren't natural to you, that aren't endemic to what you are used to doing, but the world is changing and tastes are changing. And I think the sooner you take responsibility and make a decision to say, "I'm going to do me, or I want to be getting the most engagement possible and I'm going to chase that. And I am going to be a student of these platforms."

The sooner you can stop leaning on the algorithm as a Boogie Man that is out to get you, the sooner you can start being more intentional about the content you're creating.

I just think you should decide what you want to do. And I think that the sooner you can stop leaning on the algorithm as a Boogie Man that is out to get you, the sooner you can start being more intentional about the content you're creating and hopefully have a healthier relationship with the platform in general, that you are spending so much time on. But with the algorithm we don't have total control over when your photos get served. So focus on creating great content.

Instagram Native Affiliate Tools

James: Next up, Affiliate Networks. Instagram announced this in June. They were going to start to roll out Affiliate Network works like everything on Instagram, that rollout is incredibly slow. We're going to see more of this. It's going to be really interesting to see how to know it, and other affiliate providers do when Instagram rolls out the Affiliate Program, from what I've heard from creators, the back end is a little rough still, but it's easy to use. It pays out higher and obviously the conversions are higher because it is the one Affiliate Network where you can have native checkout inside of Instagram. Three years down the road from now, you will be buying Sephora products through an influencer. You will be buying Best Buy products through a tech review creator.

Instagram's Goal is E-Commerce

James: In 2022 global e-commerce sale, 5.4 trillion. 2022 influencer market size, 30 billion. Okay, which one are you going after? Instagram is interested in e-commerce. Instagram it currently still has a leg up on TikTok, is it such a commercial platform? People come there to shop and they are trying to turn Instagram into Amazon essentially. And they want you shopping there. The vast majority of the stuff that you're buying, they want you to buy it in Instagram. And I think that increasingly through an individual, not through a store, that's coming. And I think if you want to be successful on Instagram long term, you have to think about how can I sell products to people. Whereas currently in TikTok, I think you can still be successful thinking, "How can I entertain people or provide education?" But Instagram, they're going after that 5.4 trillion, that's what they want. They've already owned advertising. Instagram does about 60 billion a year on their ads platform, a rounding error when compared to the amount of money that is spent shopping online. And that is and will be their ultimate goal.

Creator Subscriptions

James: Last, not least, maybe not last we'll see. Creator Subscriptions, okay. With the rise of Substack and OnlyFans that they would incorporate it to the platform. I have always believed and supported that creators need alternative revenue streams. Advertising supported media is very lucrative in the short term, very difficult to maintain in the long term as an individual. Advertisers pay you because of your relationship to your audience, which over the long-term decades cools.

People are most into something at the very beginning. And as we talked about earlier, culture shifts. It's hard to be that person for decades, right? And life is long. Your careers are long. Running Instagram account or a TikTok account for 30 years, keeping your audience engaged, staying at the forefront of culture for 30 years, 40 years. That's how long your careers could be. I guess really, really hard, right? And so, I've always felt like creators need alternative revenue streams. Subscriptions is something that's really exciting, right? Because if you can convert 5% of your audience to a $5 month subscription, you can make real money. So, if you have 500,000 followers, 5%, 25,000 thousand people, $5 a month, it's $125,000 a year or something, right? That's $125,000 a month, sorry, not a year. $125,000 a month, 1.2 million a year. You would never have to do another ad again.

It is really hard to build a sizeable subscription based off of content that people are getting for free somewhere else. If you followed us for years, we had a platform called Sidecar. It's a little test we built in two weeks to test this exact thing. 5% was our North Star, this would be amazing if we could get 5% converted. On average, the influencers converted 0.1% of their audience. About the same time that we were running this experiment with Sidecar, Substack launched, and they went after startup venture capital, like people writing business advice, that's done really well. I think because it is naturally long form and helps you learn. And it's content, that's hard to get somewhere else. It's not readily available for free, it's super niche.

So, if you're a creator who is looking to build a subscription list with this, one, know that it's going to be hard and that you are going to convert less people than you think you will. Have a super clear point of view of why. Your reason for doing it cannot be, "This would be a good way to make money." That's not interesting to your audience. You are selling to them, right? You're selling a new product and that product could be deeper access to your life. I think that's going to be a hard sell outside of Kim K. I think if Kim was like, "Hey, I'm going to be sharing a bunch of photos that I wouldn't share otherwise." I think a lot of her audience would probably pay for that. But for me, do you need like another photo of my dog? Probably not.

So, you have to think of a clear, "Why am I doing this? What is the person getting?" $5 seems like nothing, but it's just the act of getting someone to click on the button, put their credit card in and do it. That is hard. It's not really the money so much.

Again, DonYe was mentioning, part of the subscription is going to be that you can separate your engagement and your inbox, your DMs from subscribers and non-subscribers. Lindsay Silberman who's part of Sephora Squad.She has this relationship with her audience that's really tight. I think she could sell it and pitch it in a way that's like, "Hey, I'm overwhelmed by DM requests for product links and suggestions. You can pay 10 bucks a month and I'll get back to you in 24 hours." That's an interesting idea, but generally make sure that the reason you are launching the subscription is something that is going to benefit for your audience, not just enrich you personally.

Make sure that the reason you are launching the subscription is something that is going to benefit for your audience, not just enrich you personally.

Outside of that, what can you expect from Instagram? Lots of TikTok copying. Everything that TikTok does, Instagram will probably do 20% worse, unfortunately. That's seems to be the way it's going. As always, I would invest in TikTok. If you haven't started a TikTok, what are you doing? You need to start one immediately. Whatever TikTok's doing now, Instagram will be doing six months from now. And they will tweak their algorithm to make you also do that. So you might as well get out of it.

Join us next week, we are going to be talking with DonYe, our first guest on Negronis with Nord. As always, drop questions. You can email me. You can DM me. You can DM Fohr. You can put them in the YouTube comments. You can send a pigeon our way, whatever you need. Send us questions and we will answer them. Cheers.

About Negronis with Nord

Influencers know what resonates with their followers. Brands know their product and how to sell it effectively. But we'll guess that neither party spends a lot of time trying to understand the business of influencer marketing. That's where this series comes in. 

Negronis with Nord, featuring Fohr’s CEO and Founder, James Nord, will help you better understand both sides of the business of influencer marketing. James offers influencer marketing strategy and advice speaking to anyone involved in the influencer marketing space–whether you’re an entrepreneur, influencer, content creator, brand ambassador, or marketing professional on the brand side.

Get your questions answered about the influencer marketing industry - everything you want and need to know. Submit your questions here. And make sure to subscribe to the Fohr YouTube channel to get notified of new episodes.

Psst… You can still watch all 202 A Drink with James episodes here. Binge it – we dare you!

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