Recently, the world of social media has once again stirred some controversy when social media giant, Instagram, announced that they would be hiding likes. This changes the game completely considering how the app runs on the number of likes per post. As of now, they’ve only begun testing in some areas of the United States. However, there’s a huge possibility that this will then become a new standard for Instagram as part of their efforts to make the social app a safer place on the internet.
Generally, Instagram won’t be getting rid of likes as they’re just going to be hiding them from followers, thus making likes no longer front and centre for each post. This might prove to be a massive setback for business accounts and influencers who heavily rely on the number of likes for their posts.
So why hide likes in the first place?
Hiding likes is one of Instagram’s efforts to reduce features that might affect and potentially damage the mental health of its users. Essentially, the idea is to create less social pressure on Instagram and reducing the sense of competition amongst its users. The team behind the social app is pushing for a more inclusive and authentic environment for its users, making content the general focus point for each user.
Tech giants are seeing the downsides of allowing a toxic culture to brew within social media, and hiding likes may just be the first step in making it less toxic. However, its toxicity will all depend on how users utilise the social app regardless of the number of likes. Still, Instagram is making the first move in pushing users to generate content that won’t negatively impact its users’ mental health.
How will this work?
Again, it’s essential to take note that likes will not disappear. It will just be information made exclusive to only the user of the account. According to Mark Zuckerberg, you will no longer see the total number of likes through your feed, but you will be able to see the people who liked the post, and if you’re curious as to the amount, then you can add these up yourself.
For the user, the likes counter won’t appear on the post. It will be on a separate function under Others under your post for you to see the total number of likes.
How’s this going to affect my business?
There are always pros and cons to everything, and this doesn’t exempt Instagram hiding likes. However, with some users and brands relying heavily on the number of visible likes, it will create a huge impact and change in the world of Influencer marketing as this time around, their success will heavily rely on the overall content. Think about it; the number of likes has a particular hold for most users. For some, the more likes mean, the better the post seems. So if you take that out the equation, users are now challenged to see the post as it is.
The setback is that it puts an end to the popularity contest happening between rival brands which often pushes marketers to deliver much better results. But on the plus side, it might also give people the social freedom to share more original posts regardless of public perception. Generally, this will push brands and influencers to think outside the box and challenge the influence they have on their audience. This will decrease the number of “FInstagram” (fake Instagram) accounts that people create to share specific photos or videos that will generate lesser likes and “ruin” their feed’s aesthetics.
Another thing which might be a good sign for brands and influencers is that with Instagram hiding likes, they are pushed to generate even better content. Their audience will no longer factor in the number of likes when trying to decide whether the post is good or bad. Aside from that, Instagram may also bring in another feature which they can offer to potential advertisers to provide them with metrics and information to better streamline their marketing efforts. But if you think about it, Instagram hiding likes will allow your brand to become more humanised in the eyes of your audience because taking away the metrics will allow you to share the pure and raw essence of your brand.
Like it or not, metrics change how brands engage in social media. When you clickbait and do ridiculous things for likes, it often leads to making your brand seem superficial. Whereas when you take that away from the equation, you’re pushed to generate more substantial engagement. So rather than focusing on the number of likes, you can now focus more on the number of followers your post made, or the number of clicks, engagement, and traffic your post generates.
According to health and wellness influencer, Dave Coast, this change will help brands step in a more authentic direction where they start looking at other metrics that derive more meaningful engagement. Another thing to consider is the creative component. With Instagram, hiding likes, brands and influencers are more likely to venture out into more artistic methods to generate eye-catching content.
Instagram Hiding Likes
This change, when rolled out globally, will take a little getting used to since businesses on Instagram will have to be more creative. They will need to gather and analyse data regarding the content which drives and generates more leads and positive engagement. With likes no longer acting as false currency, this will ultimately shift marketers to look at what’s actually working rather than what’s generating the most likes.