Some of South Africa’s top social media influencers have raised concerns over changes made to Instagram (IG) algorithms, which seem to affect feed visibility for some users on the popular social media platform.

Sinikiwe Mhlongo, a beauty and lifestyle vlogger, with 160 000 followers on IG says in the past few months she has noticed that her engagement on the platform has dropped. “Because Instagram is not arranged in chronological order anymore and now it’s like posts that get a lot of likes or engagement are the ones that stay at the top. And if you are someone that doesn’t have as many followers, or as much engagement, your posts aren’t going to be put at the top. So people miss out on your content if you are not someone they usually engage with.”

Mhlongo who charges R12 000 per paid post, says the changes have affected her engagement rate, and it looks like the priority is just focusing on likes. This has impacted on her marketability as an influencer, as brands look more at engagement rate with your followers than likes on a post.

Listen to beauty vlogger, Sinikiwe Mhlongo on audio link below:

In response to Mhlongo’s concerns, Instagram says they have been making some changes that could affect how things work on the platform. Elizma Nolte, Facebook Head of Business Marketing for Sub-Saharan Africa, says “We hope that by making the number of likes private, people will be able to focus more on the photos and videos posted in Feed, and that this will ultimately drive deeper engagement.”

They have admitted that these changes may not be satisfying to everyone, but are in an experimental phase to try to optimise value for customers.

“We understand that this is important for many creators, and while this test is in exploratory stages, we are thinking through ways for creators to communicate value to their partners.”

They have defended the changes by saying “No content is ever hidden and content from public figures, businesses or publishers is not ranked higher than content from ‘normal’ users.”

The popular social media platform, which is owned by Facebook, held a workshop with some of the top social media influencers in the country.

Mihlali Ndamase makes more than R25 000 per IG post

Amongst those in attendance was local beauty vlogger, Mihlali Ndamase. With over 778 000 IG followers, Ndamase recently made the Hooper HQ influencer list, as one of the top paid Instagram influencers in the world.

According to that list, Ndamase is ranked at number 17 on the highest paid beauty vloggers and is said to make R 25 000 per – paid for post. When asked about the figures, she responded by saying “Those are old figures, I make more now…”

Instagram has also been in the news recently, for its plans to get rid of the like button which has sparked a debate among influencers, this feature is in its testing phase in seven countries, and the company has nothing further to share on the matter for now.

The test is currently running in Canada, Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

See photo slideshow below:

Lately, social media platforms have been gaining a lot of traction from mainstream brands, who are said to be leaving traditional media platforms and putting their advertising resources on social media.

This has forced them to rethink their strategies and find interesting ways to promote their brands using these new media platforms.