The original use of Instagram was for users to showcase their photography and art. Over the years as the social medium has grown, it has become so much more. A place for people to network, interact and most importantly, LIKE.
“Likes,” the metric we all pride ourselves on when it comes to an Instagram post are slowly disappearing. The social media platform owned by Facebook has decided that they are slowly getting rid of likes on all user accounts.
This movement already started back in July in some countries. Now the movement has made its way to the U.S.
Getting rid of likes creates a lot of concerns for social media strategists and influencers.
Why Remove Likes?
It is no secret that social media has become more prominent in our lives. People are posting to please and have become addicted to the interactions drawn from it.
Studies have shown that social media as a whole has taken a toll on the mental health of users. Users are finding themselves dwelling more and more about how many likes they are receiving over the content they are posting.
Not getting “enough likes” has been a cause of stress, anxiety and depression in young users, who use Instagram likes to validate their self-worth.
The removal of ‘likes’ stems from the idea that people will feel less pressure in this type of social environment. Countries that have already rolled out the new practice have already seen positive results.
The social medium is hoping that this will get users to post more of what they like and what they are interested in, instead of focusing on their audience.
Instagram is taking the leap and a step in the right direction hoping this new practice can change the negative effects social media has had on its users.
A Change on the Influencer Front
As a social media strategist, the removal of likes throws a wrench into our research process. Likes are one of the many qualifications that go into seeing if an influencer is worth collaborating with. The higher the amount of likes normally means the better reach the person has on their account. With more reach comes more exposure for your brand.
Strategists simply need to go more in-depth in the research process. For influencers and marketers alike, media kits are crucial for seeing how well their content performs. Having the influencer incorporate their likes is now a very important part since you can no longer view them (or won’t be able to for much longer).
Some influencers are already noticing a change and getting nervous that the decrease in likes and engagement will push their posts far down in the feed because of the Instagram algorithm.
Influencers will have to find better ways to communicate their metrics to potential partners. They will need to provide even more information that shows actual value. As in, “what’s in it for us when collaborating with you.”
Don’t Worry, Likes Are Still There
Likes aren’t gone completely … phew! Since this is slowly rolling out, some users will notice that their account hasn’t lost the like feature just yet. As time goes on, they eventually will but, that only means they won’t be able to see other accounts total like count.
Luckily, users are still able to view the number of likes they receive on a post. When looking at other accounts you will notice that you can view the people who have liked the post and not the total count.
Analytic reports are still able to be pulled. Users who have a business account will still be able to measure impressions and engagements as well.
Think of It This Way …
Getting rid of the like feature is similar to an Instagram rebrand. It is a new and exciting way for social media to move in a positive direction. The new feature will help ensure that all its users are in a safe and comfortable place.
Hopefully, with this, users will become more authentic, real and creative with what they are posting. Posting for themselves and not just for show.
Since the majority of influencers have business accounts and can still view their own likes, they will just have to find new ways to promote themselves. Are shares and comments the new “like”? Maybe influencers need to innovate ways to get the people talking.