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18 Jul, 2019

Instagram is Hiding ‘Like’ Counts – What Does it Mean For Brands?

Why is instagram removing ‘like’ counts?

In an effort to make Instagram a less pressurised environment, the platform is beginning to experiment with hiding like counts on posts as well as possibly making follower counts less prominent on profiles.

Instagram says the reason for this test is to have users concentrate on their posts and interacting with the app rather than likes, and have found that many users will delete photos that do not get “enough” likes.

Many studies have been conducted on the culture surrounding social media and the unhealthy obsession with “likes” and comparison of themselves to others online.

How will this affect influencers & content creators?

In the social media economy, likes are a crucial form of currency, and while this test and a possible permanent update will be a benefit to many Instagram users, some influencers and content creators have expressed concern about their feed rankings in the Instagram algorithm, thus affecting their source of income.

The ‘like’ count is an important metric by which influencers can determine follower engagement and broker deals with brands, but it’s not the only metric that brands should value when it comes to partnering with influencers and creators.

There are several other metrics that can be used to measure the validity and effectiveness of a brand’s campaign when partnering with an influencer, and it all starts with content. The success of a campaign can be measured through story engagement, follower growth, and attention metrics like video completion, audio on or off, and click-through rates that measure new leads and website traffic.

What does this mean for brands when engaging with consumers through Instagram?

While brands may initially question how removing likes will impact their campaign goals, the viability of marketing on Instagram has already been proven, and now that we know hiding Instagram Likes is becoming a reality, it’s never been more important to make use of key engagement tactics.

Instagram measurement tools like Insights or Ads Manager won’t be affected, but it does means that visible comments will reign supreme, and new value will be placed on followers and comments.

This means that commenting on posts, interacting with hashtags, reposting stories and published posts will all be ways to connect complementary audiences with your brand, or at least get your brand in front of them.

Replying to stories, hashtagging stories, adding hashtags to posts, encouraging others to share your content and ensuring your Instagram strategy is defined and working means a whole lot more now.

Authentic content vs. picture-perfect presentation.

Now that ‘likes’ are being removed, content is going to be the main driver for engagement and this gives marketers something to consider when marketing through Instagram. How do they determine the perception of their brand through the eyes of the consumer?

Do they showcase their brand through picture-perfect presentation of an influencer’s Instagram grid, or do they believe that being a brave account and sharing raw content of themselves, their products, their consumers and their ‘vibe’ is a better way to present their brand?

More than ever, Instagram stories will provide a platform for authentic brand and self-expression. And perhaps lessen the pressures to post perfect content all the time. The removal of likes gives your brand the opportunity to shine in its brightest, most authentic light on stories, in posts, and across highlights.

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