Marketing on Instagram is a popular way brands connect with their audiences. They do so with visuals. It has gained popularity as it’s an easier method for brands to display their cultures, engage with customers, and show off products in a new light.
Instagram users aren’t just active, they’re engaged. The photo and video sharing app has quickly turned into a behemoth of attention. What makes Instagram so special is that more than half of the platform’s active users visit the site daily.
If you are using Instagram marketing for your business, you need to know the latest feature update by Instagram.
Instagram has started tests of hide number of like counts on posts as well as possibly making follower counts less prominent on profiles for users in 7 countries.
This feature completely removes the total number of likes on photos and video views in feed and profile; only the owner of the post still has the option to see the usernames of everyone who likes their post in a dedicated window.
The company tweeted that they were “looking forward to learning more about how this change might benefit everyone’s experience on Instagram.”
Of course, Instagram would not be implementing this if it could harm their business.
The benefit to them is that hiding likes will hurt any organic performance because users won’t have their reaction to content instantly validated by seeing how many others feel the same.
Here’s what the new hidden likes design looks like when you scroll your Instagram:
You will still be able to see how many likes you’re getting on posts, even if your followers can’t. But the number won’t automatically appear under your post, instead, you will have to tap “others” under your blog post to go through to the total number of likes.
Right now, only users in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand have access to hidden likes on Instagram.
If you’ve been selected for the test, you’ll see a banner at the top of your home feed letting you know why you don’t see likes on another user’s posts anymore.
The “hiding” of like counts seems to help users share more authentic content without getting caught up in the competition.
It can be a positive change for the platform.
The fact that your “like count” is out of sight means that the focus is on your content, rather than a number, and can allow you to post more freely without being limited to your best times to post.
The big question on your mind right now would be: how might this impact businesses, brands and social media managers, influencers and content creators, for whom likes and follower counts are the bread and butter of their work?
Potential Impact of Instagram Hiding ‘Like’ Counts-
- Interactions with your audience will be everything
New value will be placed on followers and comments, whether you genuinely comment on the posts of other accounts to build a connection or alignment with their brand, visible comments will reign supreme.
- Influencer marketing changes
Does your brand use Influencer Marketing? How do you measure the success of an Influencer Campaign and what’s the bigger picture?
Of course, likes were never an indicator of product sales, conversions or shared followings. But they kind of gave some type of marker, right?
Influencers should be worried as they’ve built businesses around likes. Many will wield even less real influence, and budget holders won’t be able to tell if an influencer is worth a conversation.
In 2019, brands care more about reach and engagement rate than they do followers, so without the ability to publicly view an influencer’s likes, it could make it harder to gauge how engaged their community is.
The potential change could also mean that influencer content will need to become higher quality since users won’t be able to lean on the number of likes their posts receive when a brand considers working with them.
Marketers will still be able to look at an influencer’s follower count, but that metric doesn’t mean much in the way of showing how “engaged” a user’s audience is.
- A larger focus on Instagram stories
Instagram Stories will provide a platform for authentic brand and self-expression. And perhaps lessen the pressure to post perfect content all the time. Because likes shouldn’t affect your self-worth and beliefs about success.
So let your brand shine in its brightest, most authentic light on stories, in posts, and across highlights.
- It will encourage creators to produce content that is genuinely authentic
Today’s digital environment and demands of the market have created a generation of individuals trying to outdo each other at being unique and authentic.
All the while, many of these people struggle to show their true imperfect selves online due to the prioritization of metrics such as likes and follower counts.
So in reality, authenticity is more of an elusive ideal that a growing number of influencers strive towards.
And this is precisely why Instagram’s decision to hide likes from posts is such an important one. It shifts the creators’ motivation from getting as many likes as possible to putting out something real.
Instagram users will undergo a psychological shift. Influencers will feel less pressure to compare themselves to others, or to post content just because they think it will perform well. This could potentially drive more value back to their follower number.
Instagram is a powerful platform that now boasts over 1 billion users worldwide, which is no small number. And with such reach, it’s important that the company thinks about what the content your brand puts out for the world to see should be about.
It’s time to modify your Instagram strategy. You should reply to stories, hashtag stories, add hashtags to posts, encourage others to share your content and ensure your Instagram marketing is totally banging.
Hiding likes will level the playing field in the long run by giving all creators the opportunity to express themselves through their content in a way that is true to who they really are and what they stand for.
More than that, it will help your brand move towards a new Instagram where the value of a piece of content won’t be measured by the number of likes it gets but rather by the value it adds to someone’s life.
Ultimately, instead of remaining a popularity contest, Instagram will slowly but surely become a more empowered platform where self-expression is not only encouraged, but also cherished.