In late September, Instagram's co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, resigned from Facebook due to seemingly irreconcilable issues with their parent company. At first glance, it may appear like these altercations are just another internal, petty dispute that won't affect you as a business owner. Yet, for a number of key reasons, this shift has much more significance than one might initially think it does when it comes to marketing your business online.
Here's why you should be concerned with these recent departures, plus what you can do to safeguard your brand from any future changes Facebook may have in store.
Why should business owners care about Systrom and Krieger leaving Facebook?
1. The Erosion of Autonomy. The erosion of autonomy initially given to the Instagram team when Facebook acquired the photo-sharing app is known to have been a key reason why the co-founders eventually decided to part ways with Facebook.
In fact, according to Bloomberg, the shameless cloning of Snapchat Stories through the creation of Instagram Stories was a move neither Systrom or Krieger were comfortable with, and was a source of great tension moving forward.
2. Mark Zuckerberg's History. Mark Zuckerberg gaining more control over Instagram will, almost certainly, mean the app will begin to become more and more like Facebook. With the track record Mark Zuckerberg has when it comes to cloning products, slashing organic reach on posts to fractions of what they once were, and making news feeds little more than digital billboards, questioning what the future will hold for Instagram becomes reasonable.
3. Instagram Possibly Losing It's "Cool" Factor. Additionally, in recent years, Facebook doesn't exactly have a history of making products "cool" (Facebook Stories...cringe). With the Facebook team gaining more power over Instagram, the app's resonance with younger audiences could be put into jeopardy much sooner than any of us could've imagined prior to these recent departures.
4. An Ad-driven Revenue Model. Lastly, if Instagram is to adopt a revenue model similar to Facebook --which is based largely on advertising revenue -- this means the primary way to increase revenue would be to expand to more markets, gain more users, or increase the amount of advertisements clogging up Instagram's news feeds. All of which Facebook has had no problem with carrying out on its own platform in the past.
What to Do About It
As a business owner, the main action you can take to combat this is to begin investing more heavily into social media platforms outside of Facebook's suite of apps. Begin giving more of your advertising and marketing dollars to platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn. Begin testing influencer marketing, dive deeper into Google AdWords, podcast advertising and more.
By not putting all your eggs into one basket, you'll be safeguarding yourself against all of the changes Facebook will inevitably make to Instagram.
Now, let's be clear here: Facebook may not be a sinking ship in terms of their longevity -- in fact, they are still the undeniable giant of the social media world and will hold that crown for a very long time to come. That being said, it's clear Facebook is a sinking ship when it comes to resonating with younger audiences.
In recent years, Instagram has been Facebook's magic formula -- its one-way ticket to the younger, estranged audiences who have turned their backs on Facebook. With the original co-founders who built Instagram into the success story it was now gone, along with Facebook taking more ownership over the app, Instagram's future seems less certain than ever before.
Going forward, play it safe by investing in social media platforms outside of Facebook's suite of apps. It could be the smartest move you make this year within your marketing efforts. Best of luck.