Active social media users cannot imagine life without Instagram, but it is even harder to imagine Instagram without likes. It was rumoured that Instagram was planning to hide the number of likes on the posts, at that time the spokesperson of one of the most popular social network denied it, stating that the team had just been searching for new ways to reduce the pressure on the platform, but a feature like this was not in development.
But the rumour turned out to be true. Some users are already finding posts with hidden likes. The first country to test the changes was Canada, but there’s no information on how long it will continue and which countries will be next. It is also too early to talk about how the changes will affect the Instagram community and social media marketing itself.
But since the new feature has already been implemented, it’s always useful to be prepared.
Instagram is the most powerful platform for influential marketing. It has pretty much created a new profession of influencers. Ads don’t really look like ads on Instagram, it is more like an endorsement from a person or a celebrity people idolize.
Thanks to this type of relationship between the influencer and the influenced, marketing campaigns seem more genuine and believable.
The platform did not only create a new era of influential marketing but changed the concept of influencers as well.
While in past, influencers were big-name celebrities with millions of followers, Instagram gave the opportunity to nano-influencers as well. To say it more simply – people that are not world famous but popular in a smaller community due to their style, lifestyle and etc were given an opportunity for revenue.
Two of the most important metrics that defined the power of influencers are the number of followers and likes on the posts. It is also a good way for businesses to track the success of the advertisements. It is expected that influencer marketing will have to take a different path after one of the most important metrics is gone.
The power of likes and why Instagram is eliminating them
A Like is the most powerful feature of Instagram and it often defines how popular the person is. While this helps a lot of influencers it also damages their psychology. Some studies suggest that Instagram is the most detrimental social media for young people’s health. A psychology professor at Northwestern University, Renee Engeln, states that likes are powerful simply because they are immediate feedback. Getting likes on Instagram makes us happy since it has the same chemical reaction as eating chocolate, or receiving a compliment.
When someone likes the post the body is releasing dopamine “a happy hormone” that makes us feel better about ourselves. This is the reason why we check Instagram first thing in the morning and cannot avoid checking it throughout the day. But it works the same way around too. People who are not getting “enough likes” feel depressed about it. The issue of too few likes lowers self-esteem and self-worth.
According to Engeln, some girls shared that they feel their day is ruined when they don’t receive enough likes, many even delete the posts. Therefore likes not only act as “social points”, but as “self-esteem points” as well.
This is a big issue and many consider that it is the reason behind Instagram’s decision. There was no detailed explanation, however, the spokesperson did mention that Instagram wants people to focus on the content, rather than the likes.
The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri made a comment about hiding likes at the annual software developer conference that took place in San Jose, California. He mentioned that Instagram does not want the users to worry about the number of likes and wants them to connect with the people they care about more. As he explained, they do not want it to feel like a competition.
What about influencer marketing?
The change will alter the way influencer marketing works on Instagram. First of all, the companies will not be able to track the success of the advertisements with traditional metrics if the influencer doesn’t display the information from his or her own account. At the same time, it will alter the status quo.
Likes on Instagram usually work like a snowball effect, as users tend to just ignore a post if it doesn’t have many likes. However, it is not expected that influencer marketing will disappear from Instagram.
It will simply change for the short term. As for the long term, the platform itself will define the new version of influencer marketing. The number of followers will remain on display, so most influencers will still be able to retain their status.
Businesses will not abandon the platform either as celebrities are guaranteed to retain their relevancy, even without likes. At the same time, removing likes from the news feed will create new ways to engage people into a more meaningful and free conversation.
The communication of the business to the customers through the influencer’s Instagram page will become more natural. It will also help nano influencers grow in a different way. They will be able to receive feedback in other ways rather than likes.
Moreover, Instagram stories are getting more and more popular. The stories display the number of views which is another great metric. Overall, the removal of likes does not mean that influencer marketing is dead on Instagram. It will definitely be changed but instead of disappearing it will simply develop in a different and possibly more meaningful way.