Instagram likes have long been the measuring scale for success on the photo and video sharing platform. Likes were the way to determine that people were actually seeing the content. This metric however, may become a thing of the past. Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced that they are experimenting with hiding like counts on Instagram posts from everyone except the creator of the posts. What does this announcement mean for Instagram users, especially for those involved in social media marketing.
Advantages of Hiding Instagram Likes
All of us whether we like to admit it or not, evaluate our success in comparison to others. This extends to comparing the likes on our Instagram posts with those of our competitors. It is safe to assume that our competitors do the same and judge our performance. All this pressure of chasing likes and judgements will go away once the Instagram likes become private.
This will allow users to shift their focus to comments. This is a good thing because liking posts is easy but leaving a comment on the post requires thought and effort. You have to think of a genuine comment, type it, add emojis, correct typos and then post it. This is real engagement for the user and appreciation for the content being created.
Additionally, if Instagram likes go private, it will devalue the bots and remove the incentive to buy likes.
Disadvantages of Hiding Instagram Likes
There are no free lunches in this world. Making Instagram likes private has its disadvantages when it comes to social media marketing.
Instagram likes are a good starting point for finding influencers. Instagram uses likes to rank top posts for any given hashtag. Marketers will have to rely on statistics like follower count or work harder to see the kind of comments an influencer is getting on their post. The silver lining is that all the extra hard work may pay off if marketers discover genuine influencers and content creators.
There is no denying the fact that likes are a major contributing factor in regards to social proof. When we see a post with no likes in spite of the creator having a large following, we know that the followers are not genuine.
Although bots are banned on Instagram, they do find a way on the platform. Making Instagram likes private may lead to the rise of comment bots which will leave bland and sometimes inappropriate comments on the posts. This would generate fake engagement which may have adverse consequences.
What Can Marketers Do?
Social media marketers, businesses and influencers should focus on sparking conversation around their content and take steps to actively connect with their audience. By taking this move in stride, it allows users to create content that resonates with your audience without the fear of being judged by other people.
Although no one else will see your like count, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either. Continue looking to your own Instagram likes to identify your top performing content and see what works.