You might have seen it last night, or you might have woken up this morning and noticed something new on your newsfeed. Your likes. Where are they? A feature that our Canadian cousins have been grappling with since May is the removal of likes from Instagram. This stage of the test is currently taking place in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Brazil.
Whether it’s a permanent feature or something they’re testing, for now, it’s reality. So, what does this mean for you if you’re not an Instagram influencer? We wanted to take a look at the impact that Instagram likes being gone will have on you.
Why is this happening to me?
You might be experiencing some sense of loss right now. That’s perfectly normal. It’s all part of grieving. All jokes aside, the impact that social media has on our self-esteem is not to be underestimated.
If you are someone who relies on likes for a dopamine boost, you may well be feeling a little bereft right now – but rest assured, you can still see how many people like your post, it’s just that no one else can.
Our social media team thinks that “this change is going to make the whole Instagram experience more genuine” and that this will “enhance the social media experience for the better.”
Given that Instagram has got a bit of a name for itself as a platform of vanity, this change probably couldn’t have come at a better time.
What is the purpose of this?
When you think about the size and scale of the Instagram platform (over 1 billion users) you can’t imagine this is a decision that would have happened overnight, or even without a whole lot of people doing a whole lot of testing and working out the impact that this would have on their business.
Because remember, Instagram is owned by Facebook. And while we use these tools as a way to interact with our fans and audience, these companies are running a business. And if this change was going to impact on business negatively, it’s unlikely that they would have done it. So why did they do it?
What they said –
Our thoughts –
- It’s a clever way to increase advertising revenue couched in touchy-feely “we’re interested in making Instagram more about the experience and less about the ego” type marketing
- They are acutely aware of the negative impact that self-esteem issues can have on people and are genuinely concerned about this for the world
Whatever the reason, we know that there’s going to be an impact on how much weight people place on Instagram-based validation. Around the world, people are speaking about the impact that this will have on their lives – but what about your business?
The likes and the advertising
You may be aware of the way in which ‘liking’ a post was thought to make it more visible to your followers and to boost your presence online by ‘hacking’ Instagram’s algorithms.
This was all spoken about within the Instagram scene in vague terms, with no one really sure what was going on and just blindly hoping that their latest post was going to be seen by the right people. Before we go any further, we need to break down how the visibility of ‘likes’ impacts on your business.
When you can see a post, and it has a certain number of likes on it, and the number is low, you internally judge the content and think that if your peers or wider society has not engaged with or liked that content, then it must not be very high value. But what about the budget for advertising revenue, the size of the marketing team, the reach through local networks?
None of this really changes the fact that low likes = low value. But now when you see a picture or video without any likes attached, all you can judge it on is, well, how good it is.
We think that this is a good thing. Whatever motivations Instagram has for changing the game, we think that this will have an impact on how your fans engage with you and will mean that your business will be judged not on how many likes you have, but on the value of your content.
Without the likes metric to cloud people’s judgement, we foresee that you’ll be able to grow your business based purely on what type of content you put out there. Plus, on a side note, social media isn’t all about marketing and sales. It’s also about community and engaging with your customers and audience in a way that’s beneficial to both parties.
Ask yourself. Did you really like that picture of that girl sipping a latte in front of that perfect aqua wall in Bondi, or were you just liking it compulsively out of a vague sense of engagement with the machine that is social media vanity?
Breathe a sigh of relief, Instagrammers (or inhale sharply in horror – up to you) you are finally going to be judged on exactly who you are and what you produce… and that sounds pretty fair to us.