This spring, Instagram rolled out a trial experiment in seven countries that has the potential to change the way everyone uses Instagram FOR-EV-ER! No, I’m not being dramatic. This is VERY big news! Instagram has removed the ability to view the like count of photos and videos posted on their social network.
With this new update, users are still able to see their own like count on posts, but can no longer see the number of likes on other users' posts. Instagram believes that by removing this feature it would encourage users to post more often since there’s less pressure to only post something on their feed that would garner a lot of likes.
As someone who works in digital marketing and is an avid Instagram user, this experiment does have me wondering - how does this update impact marketers and influencers that use this platform for their businesses? Here are some trends that may happen if Instagram decides to get rid of likes for good.
- Influencers will have to start getting more creative and sophisticated with the content they're producing, and focus less on vanity metrics. With the ability to purchase likes and followers, these measurements of success for influencers have become less important when brands decide which influencers to work with. When deciding which content creators to partner with, brands will start to focus on the percentage of audience engagement influencers have, versus their number of followers.
- Influencers will have to build more of a community with their followers to gain loyalty. Since influencers will start being judged more on their rate of engagement, comments will likely become the new likes when measuring audience engagement. Influencers will have to focus more on creating content that facilitates conversations.
- Companies already use online and in-store sales to determine if their partnership with an influencer is working, but they will have to rely on this metric even more if likes on sponsored posts are hidden. Instagram may consider developing an equivalent KPI for brands to measure if influencers fit with the company’s campaign, brand message, or product.
- Stories have become a popular feature on Instagram and will most likely roll out more features to get influencers to post more frequently. Instagram Live, for example, could become a great asset for influencers because they are able to engage with their followers in real-time.
- Instagram has been pushing content creators to post long-form videos since the launch of IGTV. Instagram would like IGTV to become YouTube’s rival, so getting rid of likes can give creators more incentive to use IGTV to engage, instead of posting photos or short videos on their feed. Videos give content creators and marketers more creative freedom to get their brand messages across to their audiences, since IGTV allows up to hour-long videos to be posted on the app.
While hiding likes may pose a challenge for how influencers and brands make a profit off posts, Instagram is adopting another change that can assist in making more advertiser-friendly content. Instagram will start allowing businesses to run ad campaigns with influencers to help them reach and engage with new audiences. This development gives brands the power to promote an influencer’s organic post as part of the businesses’ ad campaign. Brands will have more control over how much they’re spending on the ad and who the ad is targeted toward.
Another change that benefits marketers on Instagram is the incorporation of ads on the Explore section of the app. According to Adespresso.com, when users are searching the Explore section of Instagram, they can click on an ad and then scroll through a feed of similar posts compiled by Instagram. This means your ads have a greater chance of receiving more impressions!
These updates may seem daunting to marketers at first, but one of the most exciting things about social media is how fast platforms evolve! and These changes provide an opportunity to explore your creative side to serve your audience better. It will be interesting to see how these changes impact how marketers use Instagram and what they post. How do you feel about the new changes to Instagram?
Alexandra McDermott is a Digital Marketing Coordinator at Get Community. You can find her rocking out at concerts, thrifting for the best finds, and killing it at bar trivia.
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