Instagram has been one of the most popular social media platforms on the Internet since it was launched back in 2010. According to recent statistics, approximately one billion people use Instagram every month, including some of the most prominent influencers working today. While that most likely won’t be changing anytime soon, Instagram will be making a major change to the platform in the near future by removing likes.
If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media over the past several years, you would probably think this is a big deal, and you wouldn’t be alone. Many influencers and artists rely on likes to determine which content they release is getting the most attention, and they’ve become something of a virtual currency. If an artist, influencer, model, puts out content that gets a lot of likes, it means that they have a lot of followers and that their content is getting attention. People have turned this attention into leverage that they can use to get gigs in modeling, advertising, photography, or whatever their niche may be. In other words, having more likes translates into more revenue for these artists and influencers. If users lose the ability to say that they like a photo or a post with the click of a mouse, it will be a lot harder to see how popular a particular post will be or how many times it may have been viewed. Naturally, many influencers and celebrities are not happy about this change, with some folks such as Nicki Minaj stating that they won’t use the platform anymore.
So, with so many people upset about this change in one of the largest social media platforms in the world, why is it even happening? Well, it turns out that there is a method to this alleged madness. The reasoning behind this change is that it is supposed to help users focus more on the content that is being posted rather than how many likes it has. That may sound counterintuitive, but keep in mind that Instagram Stories were popular almost right out of the gate even though there was no way of telling how many people viewed or “liked” them. People were watching Instagram Stories because they were interested in the content and wanted to be kept in the loop in regards to their favorite users.
In many ways, removing likes on Instagram seems to make sense. After all, anybody can click a tiny icon at the bottom of a photo, and many less scrupulous Instagram users have found ways of gaming the system and getting more likes for their content than it might deserve. Ideally, “liking” a post means that you genuinely like and appreciate it, and you want to see similar content. Likes aren’t supposed to be handed out lightly, yet that’s exactly what happens on social media. By removing the ability to “like” something, Instagram will be forcing users to actively seek out their favorite content producers and pay more attention to what is being posted.
How This Affects Marketing
Changing Instagram to force users to pay more attention to content is well and good, but what does it mean for marketing campaigns? After all, many marketing campaigns tend to rely on the number of likes content receives, so removing that feature could create some serious problems. Okay, “problems” may not be the right word. It will certainly make things a little more difficult for social media marketing campaigns, but changes always come with adjustment periods, and the top marketers in the industry will survive if they keep a cool head and can roll with the changes.
First of all, content is still king. That was the case in the early days of Internet marketing, and it is still true today. And yet, it’s easy to forget that when all of your focus is on creating content that receives the most views and likes. Instead of finding ways to all but manipulate users into liking content, give them a compelling reason to like it. Post content that is relevant to you and your brand, and try to adhere to the 80/20 rule. This means that 80 percent of what you post should engage your followers and be relevant to them, and 20 percent should be about your business. What gets people to your Instagram page should be your most interesting content, even if it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with your business.
In addition to interesting and amusing content, you should also be posting things that people will find helpful or useful. Post tips on how to complete difficult tasks, where to find relevant information, or simply how to use some of your products and services. You obviously want to be careful about making these posts seem like an advertisement for your services, but a few words of advice will help build trust between you and your followers even if they can’t click an icon and tell you that they like your posts.
Finally, remember to be genuine. The keyword when it comes to social media is “social.” People should be interested in you and your brand, and the only way that will happen is if you are honest about what you post. You may have joined Instagram as a way to promote your business, but people who see you as an interesting person who posts interesting things will be more likely to become clients down the road.
Change is always difficult, and that will certainly be the case when Instagram removes likes. Keep in mind that this is mostly a test, so we could very well go back to the way things have been for a while now. Still, nobody should have to rely on one feature to promote content. As useful as it is to see the number of likes on a page, that shouldn’t be more important than the quality of your content. Always remember that content is king, and don’t forget to contact Studio MFP if you need any assistance with your Instagram campaign.