How will Instagram hiding ‘likes’ affect my social strategy?
By Lois Ransome on August 08, 2019
You may have already heard that Instagram has expanded its trial into hiding ‘like’ counts to seven new territories, including Australia, Ireland and Japan, suggesting that the change may be rolled out worldwide soon.
The motivation behind this test is to curb what Instagram describes as unhealthy behaviour, removing the anxiety of how many ‘likes’ a post will receive and moving the focus onto the content of the image and sharing the things we love.
Changing the influencer game
The trial has caused concern amongst influencers, with some publishing angry or tearful videos about the loss of one of their most important public metrics.
However, the move won’t change user analytics, so you’ll still be able to see how your posts are performing!
For influences this presents only a minor inconvenience as they may have to actively pursue sponsorship opportunities, rather than waiting for advertisers to come to them. Likewise, for businesses cultivating influencers for advertising opportunities it means just doing a bit more homework and focusing on more meaningful engagement metrics such as comments and shares.
Content is still king!
For businesses though the change should be less dramatic. The onus on producing great quality, shareable content that generates meaningful conversation is still relevant, and instead of chasing ‘likes’ content creators may feel more inspired to experiment, creating a better experience for users.
Integrated social strategy
Some have suggested that the removal of Instagram’s ‘likes’ marks another attempt by Facebook to monetise the platform by making it harder for brands to appear organically on their followers timelines.
The assumption is that users will feel less inclined to ‘like’ a post because there isn’t a social gauge for them to judge the quality of the content. Thus, the number of ‘likes’ goes down (as has already been seen in Canada) decreasing your engagement metrics, meaning Instagram’s algorithm will show your post to less followers.
This demonstrates the need for an integrated social strategy, combining organic and paid posts to reach your target audience.
You don’t need to spend a fortune though, it’s very inexpensive to boost the odd post, or you can spend a little more and invest in a highly targeted campaign that you can optimise in real time, plus Instagram will give you a ton of extra data on who is seeing and engaging with your posts.