Instagram has already been testing removing likes in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland and other parts of the world, and is now rolling out the test in the United States. Personally, I think this is a good thing!
Instagram’s goal with this change is to make the platform feel safer and provide a healthier environment. The “like” culture of today is similar to having a birthday party in grade school. If all of the “cool” people didn’t show up to your party, you’d feel like a loser. A similar feeling happens when you don’t receive likes on your posts.
With the hidden feature, you can still see how many people liked your photo, but there’s an extra effort to look it up. The general public won’t be able to see the likes, which will create a more organic connection, hopefully eliminating blind liking of a post just because it’s popular.
“We want people to be less interested in how many likes a post gets, and focus more on connecting with other people,” Mark Zuckerberg said of the change.
The tests will start rolling out this week on select Instagram accounts. Users can’t opt-in or out of the testing and no one knows how many accounts will be testing or when it will go worldwide.
Entertainment influencers like Cardi B. and Kim Kardashian are supporting the movement. In an IGTV post, Cardi B. hopes Instagram makes more changes as she spoke about the negative effects of “commenting culture”. Kim Kardashian agreed that removing likes could be beneficial to our mental health. “We want people to be less interested in how many likes a post gets, and focus more on connecting with other people,” Kardashian said.
Who knows if Instagram will ever remove comments completely, but what a change in the environment that would be!
Some influencers feel like the change will bring on more freedom to be artistic with their posts and not feel pressured to post what will get the most likes.
Health and wellness influencer @DaveCoast says: “I think influencers and users will be more willing to post more artsy/cool/different content if likes are hidden.” He also said he had switched his posting strategy to get more likes, but with Instagram hiding likes, it will encourage him to be more organic.
What does this mean exactly for businesses, brands, and influencers though?
“Businesses on Instagram will have to be more creative in analyzing data and get specific about what content is actually driving the business, and supporting your business goals,” explains Mel Brittner, social media strategist at Later.
“Likes were always a false currency, but an easy number to give when asked how content is performing and an easy way to compare, so I think this shift forces businesses to look at what’s actually working.”
As for the brand/influencer connection, it will surely make it more difficult for brands and influencers to find each other. In 2019, Brands are generally caring more about reach and engagement than follower count, and without those metrics so readily available, they will rely more on influencer marketing programs and apps like Glambassador and Sense8.
Plus, brands might notice more than numbers and pay more attention to quality and honest content influencers create.
Having an influencer media kit readily available to pitch to brands will come in handy now more than ever. A media kit will show brands what they want to know — areas of interest, social reach, follower count, engagement numbers, and highlight top content.
Need help making a media kit? Shoot me an email and I can help.
*Quotes and info provided by Later.com.