Just the whisper of limiting the visibility of the “like” on Instagram has sent heads spinning across the globe. Influencers especially have gone into full panic mode since the announcement from Instagram and their subsequent testing in various markets. Some experts have even decried the death of Instagram Influencers because of this action.
The Beginning of the End
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri stated that “The idea is to try to depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, and give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and things that inspire them.” The intention is to “reduce anxiety” and “reduce social comparison.”
Mosseri emphasized the importance of shopping on Instagram and wanted to provide new revenue streams for influencers on the platform. He has outlined Instagram’s three-pronged approach to well-being, where it identifies and addresses acute problems such as hate speech, finds positions where it can lead as with fighting bullying, and rethinks fundamentals of how the platform works as with like count hiding.
He says that the company wasn’t afraid to hurt its own bottom line, and impairing the careers of influencers may not be acceptable unless the positive impacts on well-being are significant enough. The program testing began in April for customers in Canada and expanded into the markets of Ireland, Italy, Japan, and Brazil. Subsequently, it was then expanded into Australia and New Zealand in July 2019 and the United States in November 2019.
Stop, Pause and Breathe
Now that everyone has reached the crescendo of panic, maybe it is time to pause, take a deep breath, and practice calm. Initial testing shows that there was some decline in likes on posts in various markets and situations, but not enough to create a concern.
The idea of hiding a like count from everyone except the account user is really not a bad thing. The idea with Instagram, from the inception, was to celebrate the quality and inspiration of the content. So, if users continue to keep their focus on quality, creativity, and inspiration, the likes will come as expected. Business users focused on effective Instagram marketing want just precisely that type of environment because they will get a like on their content that has meaning. No one wants their content liked because 3,000 others like it. They want their product and content to resonate and have meaning with the customer. If it does, then you will more than likely engage with their brand at that time or keep them in the back of your mind as a choice in the future. Your likes will still appear to the brand, and they will be able to measure your engagement. It will encourage and challenge brands to continue to develop quality and meaningful content customers engage with. This is a good thing!
At the End of the Day
Instagram purists who have been loyal to the platform have consistently bemoaned the perceived downfall to Instagram, especially under the ownership and guidance of Facebook. Those purists wax of the by-gone days of old when the platform stood for something.
From a business standpoint, change happens, and it is a good thing. If you want a strong return on your Instagram marketing efforts, brands must be able to adapt to changes and learn how best to use the platform to achieve their marketing goals. The best Instagram marketing strategy remains to put out creative and engaging content in a manner that touches customers in the best way possible. Sometimes we tend to forget that the real point of social media marketing is to be SOCIAL. Connecting and engaging with others has always been the whole point, and somewhere in the race to the top, that idea was lost.
Instagram remains one of the best social platforms available to reach potential customers. As always, it is up to the brand to engage, to transform, and to be genuine with those engagements.
Interested in driving your Instagram marketing efforts forward? Talk with the specialists at EDK! Email us at info@edkandcompany or call 818.488.1543.