Like it or not, Instagram is rolling out the removal of likes. For influencers, or individuals who work with brands to promote services or products on social media, this will likely mean a continued shift away from “vanity metrics” — such as likes or follower counts and a focus on actual sales.
Instagram Chief Adam Mosser recently said in a statement: “We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about.”
So what does this mean for influencers, brands and content?
Here’s everything you need to know:
1 – What this means for Influencers
The day of the selfie influencer is over. Influencers will have to adjust to the golden age of Instagram and aim to produce niche content that is less ‘selfie’ and rather serve their audience with brilliant content. So while we’ll still be able to see our own likes (if we choose to), it might make our usage of the app more of an experience and less numbers-driven. Influencers with a large following will not have the advantage of visible like accumulation to entice others to engage with their content purely based on crowd factor. For example, if a post has 100 + likes others are more likely to engage as the post has been “affirmed” by many people and this crowd effect can change perception. We know that for influencers and other people who use Instagram for their job, that big follower count says a lot about their importance. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. Remember, for those seeking out users with a big reach for professional purposes, the key word is actually engagement!
2 – What this means for Brands
Without visible likes, brands should select their niche influencers based on content rather than simply followers and engagement. Because the reality is, if a brand feels the content that an Influencer produces is valuable, chances are their audience will too.The visible likes may be going away, but the mutual or relative person will still show, which has an advantage for brands to further their reach with influencers, simply by association.
EG: If you follow @Bonang_m and HouseofBNG posts then the post may display Bonang and others liked this. This mechanic may influence others to endorse the brand (as well as increase sales) through the association of a respected influencer, peer or brand appearing as the displayed “liker.” Therefore, the strategy for any brand should not change within their influencer marketing efforts but the removal of likes should give brands more clarity with regards to their campaign direction, which is often clouded by visible likes.
Why is this a good thing? Because great niche content creators can further their content development with a brands budget and the brand, in turn, will benefit from their product being promoted to a far more relative audience who have the potential to become (or remain) brand loyal.
3 – What this means for content
Instagram has always been the prized platform for creative content but with this move, the network looks to hand back the torch to the content creators that built the network and devalue the self indulgent content that serves no real value to anyone, except the uploader. Currently, we do not consume content anymore but are consumed by it and this makes for a large number of over-indulgent posts which take up valuable server space as people feed their addiction with sub-par content.The removal of vanity likes may inspire more within the network to produce higher quality value and content and ultimately give the gram a well-needed makeover.
In conclusion, the objective behind hiding like counts on Instagram is part of a larger shift that is slowly but surely changing the entire social media landscape – a shift in the way we think about the role that we want social media to play in our lives, and what it means to be recognised on these social platforms.
What do you think about Instagram hiding likes?
For engagement and bottom line results, contact CSA and together, we can develop creative strategies that will leverage your brand and create impact.