Instagram is expanding its test with removal of likes count across many countries, including the USA.
The impact of removing Instagram likes is that your total “like count” on Instagram posts will be removed from public view although you will still see the likes from the back end.
Why Instagram is removing the Instagram Likes Count
The official explanation by Instagram is that the company wants users to focus more on the photos and videos shared on the platform, not the number of likes”.
Also as part of an excuse in support of hiding likes count on Instagram is that the new design is a response to criticisms that the platform doesn’t support mental health of users thus removal of likes will reduce unnecessary competition, envy and low self-esteem fueled by vanity metrics and other factors.
Despite Instagram’s own official position, a lot of critics are of the opinion that the Tech Company’s action is not necessarily altruistic but a tactic by the social media giant to generate more profit by reducing a number of advertisements promoted by influencers and getting a share of the 3.7 million influencer ads back to Instagram through direct Instagram ads…
Especially since Instagram is not making any profit from Influencer Marketing.
Others are also of the opinion that the changes will genuinely benefit Instagram users as removal of likes will create a more level playing field for beginners to grow their brand with real high quality content.
In My Opinion, none of these arguments is incorrect,
Impact of the removal of Instagram likes and how it will affect influencers and influencer marketing?
As a marketer or influencer, the removal of Instagram likes feature has a potential to affect you in any of the following ways…
- Reduction in the total number of likes: With the successful test run of the removal of likes in some countries since May 2019, a lot of Influencers are already recording a lower number of total likes for their posts.
This may not be unrelated to the fact that sometimes, a large number of likes on any post encourages a bandwagon effect where more people get to end up liking or sharing the particular post.
- More Brands will advertise with Instagram directly. For Instagram influencers, your Instagram likes can illustrate the value you add to a brand.
With the removal of likes, and a reduction in total number of likes, a lot of influencers will not have a huge number of vanity metrics to show off thus there will be a reduction in patronage as potential brand advertisers will now prefer to advertise with Instagram directly as compared to Instagram influencers whose stats may stop being much encouraging.
- Increased time spent in creation of high quality posts. Ordinarily, this shouldn’t be a problem… But the current Instagram thrives on popular/viral posts. These posts may not necessarily be high quality posts.
This culture has allegedly kept such posts style repeatedly shared across the platform so that content creators are more focused on creating posts that can get viral more than what can really add value to the end user.
With the removal of Instagram likes, you’ll have to spend more time producing thoughtful and high quality post to end users.
- Most Newbies and small businesses will have the chance to get new followers. With high quality posts, it will be possible for new users to steadily build a followership base.
Compared to what it was before where users with most likes were the ones that easily have their posts go viral and thus gain even more likes and followers, the removal of Instagram likes will democratize the process, giving new users and smaller businesses a chance at growing their Instagram pages with high quality content.
Also, if you’re a smaller and upcoming influencer, People will now be able to follow you based on your content, not your popularity.
Now, considering the foregoing, it is easy to suggest that the successful removal of likes by Instagram is most likely a preview of the future of the like economy and its effect on digital marketing.
With Instagram and Facebook owned by the same company, it’s most likely that Facebook will join in the removal of likes.
Already, there are existing speculations that Facebook will soon test the removal of Facebook likes on its own platform.
Now you should be bothered.
Not because your followers won’t see the total like count on your post. But because as an influencer, your prospective client won’t be able to personally verify if promoting their ads on your platform is even worth it.
And who knows, in the future, the company could come up with a plan where you’d have to pay for your followers to see the total number of likes for an Instagram post.
So What can you do?
With the gradual removal of likes, one thing you as an Instagram influencer or digital marketer will ask yourself should be, what can I do?
The following are things you should consider doing…
Brace up for even more changes. Although the removal Instagram of likes feature is currently on a test run in selected countries, according to Instagram, eventually, it will be rolled out globally.
This is why it’s important you get ready to be affected by this if you’re not affected already.
So you have to brace up for possible innovations like paying to get your likes shown, Instagram removal of followers count or even introduction of a premium account where you pay before your total number of followers and likes to be shown publicly.
Be ready to produce even more innovative and quality content. With Instagram shifting its focus to deeper engagement, instead of producing viral posts, you’ll want to focus your marketing strategy on producing more high quality and engaging content if you’re going to maintain your likes and followers.
Diversify. Away from being an Instagram influencer, you should be able to use your platform to promote other causes that will generate even more income for you.
If you’re an Instagram model with a large following for instance, you could see this as a time to consider launching your own brand, getting into acting or related acts or partnering with brands across online and offline platforms.
For others, you can diversify to learn new digital marketing skills that you can gradually introduce to your existing audience.
This is really a time to think beyond your Instagram handle.
Get your platform One thing with most social media platforms is that even when these platforms can easily get you an audience, the platforms are usually owned by others and these people have their agenda.
For this reason, they will always give more regard to their business interests above every other thing which may make them introduce changes that will always affect you as a user.
This is why in response to this; the smart thing to do as an influencer is to use the platform to build your audience while also building your own website at the same time and getting your audience over there.
With your personal website where you can always influence the way things go and at all times.
Instead of waiting for a complete roll out of Instagram likes removal, begin to build your own website and promote it with your existing audience.
Be more intentional about your post and the result you want. Again, with this new Instagram changes, there’s need to be more intentional about the effect of your post on your audience, instead of whether the post goes viral or not.
To keep and grow your followership on Instagram you’ll want to be more focused on engaging and building an even deeper connection with your followers.
In conclusion, as a smart digital influencer, remember these popular social media platforms are very dynamic so there’ll always be changes at intervals.
For this reason, your long term goal should always be focused on building a platform that will help you to stop depending entirely on third party platforms like Instagram.
So, how’s the removal of Instagram likes affecting you?