Image by Allef ViniciusCC0

Vero is not a new social networking app, in fact, it’s been around since 2015.  Over the past week though more than 500,000 new users have joined Vero. The app which previously ranked outside of the app stores top 1,500 is now it’s most popular.  New users have begun posting screen grabs of their shiny new profiles to Instagram. This sudden surge in sign-ups (the sheer volume actually caused Vero to crash) has been caused by artists and makers. Users from across various creative communities are actively encouraging their network to boycott Instagram by moving to Vero, but what are Instagrams creative users so angry about? 

Why Is This Happening?

For years now, social media has offered a solid and free platform for promoting your creative endeavors to the world, but times have changed.

With so many people using the platform Instagram had to find ways to organize and prioritize a vast amount of content. The thinking behind this is simple. The more personal and engaging the content, the more interested the user, which means the more time they spend on the platform. Hence the “new” algorithm (it was introduced in 2016).

Instagram says they made changes to the algorithm so that the feed is “ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most”. This had a knock on effect on those who use their feeds for promoting their work. The feed is no longer chronological. As a result “algorithm” has become a dirty word amongst creatives and small businesses who have become increasingly frustrated as they feel their content is being buried by the app.

This is why they have started using their Instagram profiles to tell their network to come and join them on Vero. But is Vero really a viable solution?

Vero And Their Billionaire Boss

Thanks to Instagram’s new army of haters Vero is riding high on the hype wave. It offers a chronological timeline which is the major draw for creatives keen to solve the problem of how many people are seeing their posts. However, and it’s a big, however. It’s free as they build towards their first one million users, in future though, the app will rely on paid subscriptions.

Whilst no one enjoys reading the small print when it comes to who owns what on the internet, it’s crucial. Some keen-eyed creatives were quick to draw attention to Vero’s T&C’s which gave the company permission to use content posted there anywhere and everywhere without paying fees or royalties. This drew the correct criticism and quickly sounded the alarm bells. Vero responded fast, amending their user agreement. We still strongly recommend reviewing the terms and conditions of anywhere you choose to share your artwork online.

The man behind Vero is billionaire businessman Ayman Hariri (the son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri). He said in a 2017 interview that he started Vero because of his ‘personal frustration’ with the existing social networks. Vero sold a vintage Aston Martin DB5 with U.K. auctioneer Coys, in what it claims is the first time a historic car has been bought directly via social media. Yup, Vero plan to make money by selling products through the app too.

Pay To Play

There is no avoiding the fact that pay to play is the future of using social media to promote your work. If you want more people to see your posts, then you can set up paid advertising via your business page which will guarantee more people will see your content. You can select exactly what type of audience you want to see your posts and the platform will oblige. The quality of your ad is still important and you need to determine what your goal is. A lot of creatives are adverse to spending money on this type of promotion but isn’t it only fair? If you want to use a social network for business, shouldn’t you be expected to pay? The only reason the answer here is no is that it’s been a free ride for such a long time.

Be Authentic

Looking for a new platform is a quick fix. Of course, you’re going to feel you’ve fixed the visibility problem as everyone is now seeing your posts. You’ve only got three followers. They’re all other creatives who jumped ship from Instagram in the midst of the same stampede. What happens to your content if Vero reaches 8 million monthly users?

Time will tell if Vero will grow to truly rival Instagram. At the moment it would be a much safer strategy to concentrate your efforts on creating your best work. Curate your channels with an authentic voice and a serious amount of consistency to improve engagement. And the golden rule? Don’t pay too much attention to the fickle and unpredictable world of social media.