It was partly disheartening and partly liberating to see Instagram like count removed in a few countries. Instagram has been testing hiding the like count from the app to make the platform more collaborative and less competitive. The news has come as a shock to those earning from Instagram (read influencers) because “likes” has been an important metric to collaborate with brands.
Here’s the official announcement from Instagram:
And, here are some general reactions to the news:
The Internet community has clearly divided into two halves in terms of the Instagram’s decision. The announced measure does seem like a necessary step with numerous studies pointing out how social media affects self-esteem, leading to depression and anxiety among individuals. The effort is made to improve mental wellness and make Instagram about sharing posts and not collecting likes.
However, amidst all the social advantages that this feature might bring in, it still seems like a big threat to the brands and influencers who rely on Instagram likes to reach wider audiences, gain popularity, and make money.
Here are some suggestions as for the cosequences that influencers and brands might face if Instagram removes likes count globally and some possible ways to tackle the issue effectively.
Rely on New Metrics to Validate Influencer Performance
As the number of likes on an influencer’s post is considered as an important metric to determine influencer’s likeability, removal of likes would mean shifting focus to other metrics.
Other than the number of followers, influencers can be primarily judged upon their comments and engagement with their followers. Their popularity can be also measured by the number of reposts and mentions the influencer gets. Tools like HypeAuditor can be used to learn about the authenticity of an influencer.
Influencers can also share more coupon codes and giveaways to see how many people are interested in their content and interact with it. Such results can also be useful when shared with brands to build more meaningful partnerships.
Focus on Video Posts to Rank Higher on News Feeds
Ever since Instagram removed chronological feed, Instagram likes has been an important metric to determine the top posts on Instagram feeds. Influencers have relied on their post likes to reach masses and gain more followers.
Removal of like counter might mean that from now on influencers will be sharing more video posts so that their increased video views could help them rank. It might also mean that influencers will increase their focus on Instagram stories and on adding hashtags to their stories to increase their following.
Build a Community on Instagram
So far, Instagram influencers have been mostly relying on post likes to gauge their popularity without spending much time on commenting and engaging with their followers. Henceforth, it might be a good idea to interact with your followers and encourage them to comment on your posts.
Instagram influencers can learn from YouTube influencers to build deeper connections with their users based on content, and add more call-to-actions in their videos. Influencers on Instagram will also have to work on their content to build a community.
Though this feature has only been in the testing stage so far, we will know in a few weeks if Instagram decides to roll out with it globally or not. Influencers and brands should be prepared for either of the scenarios to make the maximum of their marketing campaigns.
Also, we would love to know your opinion on Instagram’s decision to hide likes. Please, share your views in the comments below.