What is Vero? I know you’re thinking “wait a minute. Aren’t you a travel blogger? Why are you writing about apps and technology and where are the pretty pictures?” Yes, I’m a travel blogger. Which means I work my ass off to create content of my travels in the hopes that people will, you know, SEE it. As a blogger, I rely heavily on social media to disseminate my content. It’s an essential resource for not only building an audience but fostering a loyal community.
But after a tumultuous relationship, I’ve been ready to cheat on Instagram for a long time. Could Vero be my new side piece or even better… bae? I want to be clear that I still like Instagram. I’ve been posting there for almost three years and have made connections and friendships that I cherish. Alas, after seeing my engagement plummet every time Instagram rolls out an update, I’m flat out frustrated. What’s the point in investing so much time into Instagram if even on its most basic level it doesn’t actually show people my posts? Can you relate?
Why did Instagram tip the scales so heavily in favor of businesses and advertising? Well, that’s an issue for another post. But this universal nosedive in engagement created a shady underbelly involving massive comment and like pods and automated bots that leave fake comments on pictures. People even buy their followers to look more successful to brands. It’s completely spiraled out of control, but more importantly, it’s taken the power out of the hands of the users.
So, on Monday when Vero suddenly went viral, I downloaded the app with apprehension and hope. And my first question, like many of yours, was “what is Vero?”
Vero is a social media app that claims to be “less media, more social.” In a nutshell, there won’t be advertising meaning you’ll see more of the content you actually want to see from the accounts you actually want to follow.
This would initially come at a price as the app declared once it reached one million users there would be an annual fee for all new users. Could it be a marketing technique to build hype and generate a massive wave of new users to move to the app before it’s “not free anymore!” Evidently it worked, because the app reached one million users and tweeted this:
I see you, Vero.
If this app delivers on its promise to be more about socializing and interacting with accounts people want to engage with, it would be a gold mine for content creators by way of getting discovered, growing, and building communities. Instagram feels like high school all over again. The cool kids get all the engagement while us nerds hang around the theater feeling left behind. But even if that is true, you might be wondering…
First of all, if you’re a blogger or content creator then building an audience is a huge part of your work. Not only that, but you (hopefully) want to do it with authenticity, right? Let me reintroduce you to the chronological feed.
Hallelujah! Although Instagram is nearly 8 years old, it seems like the days of the chronological feed are just a mere whisper of the glory days when talented people could actually build an audience on a platform where people saw their work. I can’t actually remember a time when I didn’t loath the Instagram algorithm because I jumped in the game late. I was skeptical of this new app that could never be bigger than Facebook which would never be bigger than Myspace, and well you know how that all went down. (taking notes?) The truth is, sometimes it feels like I missed the boat and got left behind. I refuse to buy a fake audience or resort to bots. What is Vero to me? An opportunity to expand my community, organically.
A chronological feed gives you, the user, the power. Instagram and Facebook use an algorithm that allegedly prioritizes content in your feed based on what it predicts you’ll want to see most. Ever liked one cat picture and suddenly a million cat pictures surface in your feed? Not only is that creepy as hell, but just because I like one cat picture doesn’t mean I want to see 50 more. I want to see what I want to see, and I don’t need an algorithm to decide that for me. Take a look at the video below to see Vero’s chronological feed.
Maybe I’m a brat but I value the idea of us all starting over. With so many fake ways of getting Insta-famous, it’s hard to know whether these huge accounts are actually talented or just buying their way to the top. Which, unfortunately is too often true. Accounts with massive followings will likely bring their audience over to Vero. But at the same time, the platform is different, so if they’re just posting the same content what’s the point of following them on two platforms? We’ve been given an opportunity to SHARE MORE CONTENT WITH PEOPLE, let’s use it wisely.
Instagram has become watered down with blueprints of the same angles of the same pose of the same outfit taken in the exact same location. None of this is creative. I realize that no idea is truly original, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s difficult to differentiate one account from another. If you’re jumping over to Vero, why not add some variety by posting outside of your comfort zone? That doesn’t mean you have to break from your brand’s image, you can be true to your message while showing more of who you are and more importantly, what you offer.
I’ve coined my content on the Vero App as “my B side where the B stands for Bitchin’.” I intend to use it to share more candid, unique and intimate aspects of who I am. The pressure to curate a perfect feed on Instagram and never dare think about posting something that doesn’t align with your style, is old. And guess what? As a travel blogger, no two locations look the same! I like having a cohesive theme that’s aesthetically appealing. But, the problem is that because of the algorithm, if you branch out and post something out of your ordinary it will likely not show up in peoples feeds.
I dare you, no I implore you to share your B side with us. I want to see deeper into who you are, so show me. Carrying the same content from your Instagram to Vero means missing out on a chance to give your community the variety, and honesty, they genuinely want to see from you.
Vero is putting the fun back into social media for me, not just as a blogger, but as a person. And, I know that my followers will actually see what I post. From there, they can choose whether to like it or not. I rest easier knowing they at least have the option, because…
Who else feels completely betrayed when your bestie posts a pic on Instagram and you don’t see it till a week later? What the heck Instagram? Why are you trying to come between me and my bff?! It all goes back to the chronological feed. Moreover, the community within hashtags is growing, so now’s the time to get in and start using them to get your content seen.
Vero isn’t just about pictures, you can upload links to websites, videos, blogs, movies, articles, albums, books, even your favorite restaurants. This means that bloggers can post more than one link at a time! You can literally upload as many blog posts, videos, articles, lists or recommendations as you want. You’re offering your audience more value and in turn are likely to gain more exposure to your blog. You’re not just showing a picture of who you are, you’re sharing your interests beyond your feed, you’re peeling back a layer of the onion to show a little bit more of yourself.
Ok, enough of the rose colored lenses… let’s get to the bad and the ugly.
Look, this is not some sort of utopia. It’s an app. There are bugs, it’s three years old, but it’s not built up to withstand the influx of new users. For about two days this week it straight up didn’t even work, leading Vero to post updates on Twitter like this:
I get that people don’t want to try new things because they’re unsure, or they’re comfortable. But, as a travel blogger or influencer, are you actually comfortable on Instagram? Maybe if you’ve got 80k followers you are. But I’m not. It’s become IMPOSSIBLE to grow organically. And what’s worse? Only 7% of the community I bust my butt building are seeing my post. With so many bots and fake followers and bullshit, the argument against Vero smell kind of the same. Huge accounts are warning against it because, guess what, they don’t want to lose their following.
Still, many people are ferociously disdaining Vero because there are some valid areas of concern. Namely, users allegedly lose rights to their content, it’s difficult to delete your account, and the backlash surrounding the app’s CEO. It’s up to the user to do their research and decide if they can look beyond these points, but I encourage you to dig deeper before making assumptions. Also consider that the marketplace generally supplies what the market demands. I’ll speculate that many things people are apprehensive about now are susceptible to change later, but there’s no guarantee.
When you want to connect with someone on Vero, you can either follow them, connect with them or both. When you connect with someone you can assign them as either an acquaintance, friend, or close friend and this enables you to message them. This feature is a bit odd… no one wants to decide what degree they want to be involved with someone on Vero… yet. Additionally, if you connect with someone first, you’re unable to follow them.
When people connect with you without following you they’re still seeing your posts, but it doesn’t track them as following you. As a content creator, this could pose a problem when tracking stats for your media kit, etc. I couldn’t understand why I was connected to my friend, yet couldn’t follow her. Once I disconnected from her I was given the option to follow her. So the lesson is, follow first then connect.
Vero is not perfect, it’s flawed and has room to improve. But that’s my point, I think it has a lot of potential to make connections, get your content out to a broader audience, and ultimately expand your reach. And as a user, it’s great to scroll through my feed and not see any ads, or profiles that I genuinely don’t want to see, yet somehow CONTINUE to get “recommended” to me. My hope is that we don’t go and ruin it like we did Instagram. Let’s not do the follow/unfollow game and let’s not spam people with hollow emoji comments.
We’ve been given an app that has many of the redeeming qualities that Instagram had in the beginning. If we lug our dirty laundry over there, I may be writing a very similar article about another app in 7 years.
I’m not trying to hate on Instagram, but I am a blogger and content creator promoting a platform that I feel has benefits that Instagram lacks. Will I continue to use Instagram? Absolutely, I love my community there. But, honestly, those same people are jumping on Vero, too. So, only time will tell if Vero will replace Instagram. What I can say now is that I’m 100% supportive of an app that promotes community by eliminating ads and giving power back to the users. And I have hope that the chronological feed will allow my community to see my posts and gain value from the blood, sweat, and tears I invest into my work.
Thanks for reading! Now, let’s get back to our scheduled programming with 11 myths about travel to Cuba.
Christina Lyon is a coffee-sipping, word-obsessed business blogger, content writer, and blog consultant. She’s on fire for helping creative entrepreneurs and small biz owners build thriving blogs that enhance online visibility and convert to sales. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves to play music and explore the beaches and wild trails along the California coast with her husband Steve and rescue pup, Clio.
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