You’d have to be living under a rock to have missed the news that Instagram is finally rolling out the removal of likes. A fixture on accounts outside of the US for almost a year, Instagram has now begun hiding the amount of likes per post on US-based accounts. The takes are hot, and many are shouting about the death of the platform, while others are heralding the removal of likes as an evening of the playing field on Instagram. What does it mean for your business? Let’s discuss. Panic Over Disappearing Likes on Instagram
What is a Like Anyway?
Likes on Instagram are a basic measurement of the performance of any given post. They’re easy to see, and easy to measure what content is doing well, and what your audience is interested in seeing from you. But likes are also easy to give; possibly too easy. Panic Over Disappearing Likes on Instagram
Remember when Facebook rolled out post reactions? You can now wow, love, laugh, be sad, and angry at Facebook posts, in addition to the traditional “like.” This was done for a few reasons, but the chief among them is that a like was just that – a like. It didn’t tell Facebook how interested you actually were in what was happening. Likes on Facebook happened out of interest, pity, obligation, irony, and unenthusiastic acknowledgement, but there was no way for the algorithm to interpret which scenario it was. Facebook identified this issue and rolled out reactions as a way to help the algorithm determine what you actually wanted to see when you log onto the app.
A like on Instagram is essentially the same thing; it doesn’t really mean much. It’s a no-commitment way to say “ok.” Likes only require a double tap of a screen, and the transaction is done.
The Transition Away from Likes
Just like on Facebook, likes have been losing meaning on Instagram for a while. There are more important ways to measure your success – and the app uses those same ways to feed the algorithm. While it will be an adjustment, this move will ultimately help you fall in love with Instagram again.
The anxiety we all feel when we spend time on content and writing a caption just to get 7 likes is over. How freeing is that? Now no one will see if you only get those measly 7 likes, but you’ll be able to see that and adjust your content strategy accordingly, without wearing the “scarlet 7.”
Now, when someone really wants to support you in a major way, they’ll need to do something more meaningful than a double click. This is great news for users like us that market a business on the platform.
The Real Deal
Even if like counts fall, you’ll begin to see a culling of casual observers from your Instagram life. While many marketers will enter a tailspin over the lack of outwardly measured validation, those in the know will understand that what is left is worth its weight in gold. Panic Over Disappearing Likes on Instagram
As marketers, we’re currently playing to arenas when we might do better and make a bigger impact in smaller clubs. A standing ovation of a smaller crowd means much more than a few golf claps from a huge crowd. The elimination of the display of likes will allow you to reach an audience that is more likely to become your customer. You won’t have to waste as much time convincing mildly-interested people that you’re amazing – now you’ll be speaking to and reaching more of the people who already love you.
The transition to a disappearing like count will mean less likes. The sooner you get right with that, the sooner you can get over it. It will help you to focus in on your real audience, and how to best reach them to make a difference in your business.
Switching up your philosophy to take the focus away from likes now, will ease this transition for you and your business when it rolls out to all accounts. You can begin to strategize your engagement elsewhere, like stories, DMs, and targeted post content.
The smart and savvy business owners will be out in front of this change, and transitioning now – will you be one of them?
Panic Over Disappearing Likes on Instagram