- Instagram is running a new test that removes the ability to share feed posts to Stories.
- The test is limited to select countries and Instagram doesn’t have plans to expand it at this time.
- But creators are not happy. Many said it could hurt engagement, growth, and exposure.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Instagram Stories is an incredibly popular feature and over 500 million users interact with it every day.
For influencers, Stories have also become a space for sharing their latest posts that can sometimes be drowned out in the feed, and for reposting other creators and small businesses to help them grow.
This type of posting — which is similar to Twitter’s “retweet” and Facebook’s “share” — has become a tool for many to drive more engagement and reach new audiences, which can translate into making more money.
But some influencers are worried it could end soon, as Instagram is running a test in some countries that removes the ability to share feed posts to Stories.
“We’ve seen from research that people prefer to see original photos and videos in Stories from the people they care about,” a spokesperson from Instagram told Insider. “The goal of our test is to better understand how people feel about this type of content and ultimately improve the Stories experience.”
Instagram said the test is limited to a “select handful of countries” and that it doesn’t have plans to expand it at this time. Users on Twitter said they’d seen the test in Argentina, Chile, and Thailand.
The test does not allow any reposting of in-feed posts, said Matias Amigo, an Argentina-based journalist and founder of the multimedia outlet Wips Digital. Amigo said the test began in December and that Instagram has not signaled when it would end.
As news of the test has spread on social media, many creators and small business owners have raised concerns. Some have demanded the app not take away the feature. One petition on the subject has over 38,000 signatures on Change.org, and another has 10,000.
Amigo said that in Argentina, he had also seen people try to manually get around the test by posting screenshots as an alternative way of sharing feed posts to Stories.
But not everyone is upset about the test and some creators said they would welcome a change to Stories.
The content creator and entrepreneur Ronne Brown described Stories as a “headache” — filled with too many feed posts and not enough original, personal content.
And the social-media consultant Matt Navarra said that this test could potentially improve the experience for everyday users by cleaning up Stories.
How losing this feature could impact creators
But despite its potential benefits, industry insiders said a wider implementation of the test could hurt some categories of creators.
Removing the feature would be “incredibly limiting to so many artists and creators,” said Rachel Reichenbach, an artist and small business owner.
Reichenbach recently met with a member of Instagram’s partnership team who gave her advice for how to grow her audience on Instagram. During that meeting, Instagram recommended she try and post 8 to 10 Stories a week (and at least two a day), Reichenbach said. That would become more difficult if this feature were taken away.
Reichenbach also emphasized that losing this feature would make it more difficult for artists to share each other’s work. And generally, for smaller influencers and accounts, being shared is one of the few ways to grow.
Reichenbach said that on an app that often feels very “me, me, me,” resharing other people’s posts to Instagram Stories is “the one opportunity people have to show off others.”
Within the creator community itself, resharing is part of the culture, said Austen Tosone, a fashion and beauty creator with 11,000 Instagram followers. Tosone is also a beauty content director at Jumprope, a social-media app.
There are “Follow Fridays” where creators share new people that their audience may enjoy, and within niches like beauty, there are “Makeup Mondays” where beauty influencers will share makeup looks from other creators.
Tosone said a reshare can be akin to a referral and a key way for some smaller creators get exposure.
“I’ve seen a lot of creators grow traction by having maybe a hundred, 200 shares to Stories,” said Britney Turner, a micro influencer and social-media consultant. “And then that’s how they’re growing the overall engagement and reach on their own posts.”
‘Pay to play’
Sharing feed posts to Stories also serves another purpose: a free way to promote recent content.
“I think creators do this because they are not getting enough engagement on their feed posts — most of the time ‘sponsored’ posts,” said Mai Ann Nguyen-Miyoshi, a content creator who also manages her eight-year-old daughter Zoeey’s popular Instagram.
“It’s not always the most creative way to do it,” Tosone said.
But it’s one of the only ways.
Without the ability to promote content for free using Stories, though, creators will find other ways. Some could turn to Instagram’s paid promotional tools like running posts as targeted ads, Brown said.
That could mean more revenue for Instagram.
“Instagram is becoming very pay to play, which it has been for a while,” Turner said.
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