Users will be able to see how many people have liked their posts, but they won’t be able to see the number of likes on other user’s posts. Instagram have gone through a trial period already in several countries, including Ireland, and now they’re even considering conducting the same testing on Facebook.
Influencers, brands and businesses have voiced their concerns about the change. They have already been through a number of algorithm changes this year, affecting their engagements rates, follower count and more.
Let’s take a closer look at Instagram’s plans and see how it might affect you.
Why hide likes?
Instagram have grown increasingly concerned with the amount of fake accounts on the platform. For a fairly small sum, anyone can buy likes, followers and engagement on Instagram. The social media platform began to tackle this earlier in the year, purging the network of any bots and fake accounts. This seems to be the next move in a strategy to encourage authentic interactions. By being unable to see likes, content on Instagram will be judged by how engaging it is, rather than by how many likes it has.
What is Instagram hoping to achieve
They’re hoping to see authentic connections and relationships develop between users. It’s a great move for the social media platform as a whole, especially for those of us who use Instagram as ‘real people’ rather than as brands, businesses or influencers.
Deleting posts that don’t get ‘enough’ likes is a common tactic by users. This will hopefully no longer occur once the change is implemented, removing the ‘highlight reel’ Instagram feed we’re so used to.
A study into mental health showed that for 14 – 25 year olds, Instagram is the social media platform with the worst impact on mental health. Other research has shown that whilst likes encourage dopamine, not receiving likes (or as many likes as you’re used to) has a profound negative effect. Hopefully, hiding likes will reduce the negative impact on its users.
How could this affect you and your business?
Whilst individual users are likely to benefit from this change, those of us who use Instagram as a marketing or selling tool may find this to be unsettling. For many influencers, Instagram is a large contributor to their income. Brands often choose influencers to represent them based on the number of likes and engagements their posts get. Now that that information is hidden, many influencers are worried that brands may not choose to include them in their marketing strategy. Similarly, brands and businesses are concerned about what this change will do to their Instagram following and if they can still rely on Instagram as a marketing tool. Brands may find that they have to rely on Instagram ads more than they do currently.
What can you do?
First of all, don’t panic! If you find that hidden likes has a negative impact on your Instagram profile and engagement, it is worth remembering that this is happening to everyone – not just you. The whole point in this change is to stop users getting hung up on likes. So embrace that and focus more on content instead. Bear in mind that Instagram does need businesses and brands on board in order to stay relevant and make money. So they won’t alienate you completely.
Once the shock has worn off, you can start to reassess your position on Instagram.