Influencers and Instagram are like Pete Davidson and BDE, or the Kardashian-Jenners and drama—one doesn’t seem to exist without the other. It’s common sense: You want to make money for creating content? You better start investing all of your time in perfectly curating your Insta feed, using the right hashtags, DMing brands 24/7 and engaging just the right amount with other accounts. Sounds exhausting, right?
Many influencers are taking a step back from the platform, whether it’s ending their paid partnerships or deleting their account entirely. Remember when celebrities would quit Instagram as a publicity stunt? (Throwback to when Taylor Swift wiped her feed clean before her iconic Reputation era.) Now, it’s a real thing. “As the years have gone on and Instagram has changed, it's feeling less and less like it's a good fit for me personally and from a business perspective,” influencer and blogger Jess Ann Kirby—who has 137K followers on Insta—told Buzzfeed News. “Financially, it's incredibly rewarding, but it's gotten to the point where it's starting to feel like it's not worth it anymore.” There are many factors at play. Instagram has been under fire for censoring women’s bodies, specifically anyone who isn’t thin, white and cisgender—and having damaging effects on young women and girls’ mental health. Plus, it can feel almost impossible to keep up with the constantly changing algorithm (the once photo-based app is now heavily pushing Reels which caused a lot of creators to pivot their content). Maybe this played a part in Facebook’s terrible earnings this past quarter and drop in valuation?
For a majority of influencers, Instagram is their main revenue stream, so leaving the app can lead to financial uncertainty. “I want to have control over my business. I don't want Instagram to have control over it,” adds Kirby. Another influencer described posting content to Instagram like running a rat race and compared finding success on the app to gambling—sounds like a recipe for burnout to us. With TikTok’s ability to make brands and creators go viral overnight to the indie app, 28 Row, which is connecting college women for business opportunities and emotional support, influencers no longer need to jump through Instagram’s hoops to find prosperity, success, and community.