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No More Instagram Likes? What This Can Mean For Your Company
For those of us out there that are regular Instagram users, you are probably already aware of the sudden changes the platform makes that sends the public into a frenzy. Different formats, new algorithms, addition video features…the list goes on. But since Instagram announced back in April they were running tests that hide the total number of likes and video views for some users in multiple countries, reviews have been mixed.
Instagram has become a fantastic tool for corporations who seek to expand their reach in video marketing. Web video production services often accommodate their final videos to be accessible and easily viewed on a mobile or vertical format because of social media. With Instagram no longer showing likes, further adjustments are expected and concerns on the impacts have risen.
The majority of the concerns are coming from social media influencers who make profit off of their posts. And other individuals who use the app for more recreational purposes are also weighing in. “How will this affect my profile, feed, etc..?” But if your company uses Instagram as well, what could this change mean for your corporate brand?
Why Test This Out?
The test itself is occurring in seven countries and could expand depending on how the trials do. When announcing this test, Instagram added that each account will be able to see their own likes but those that follow the account will not be able to see how many likes the post received. This is intended to take the pressure off of users and help them focus on the pictures and videos themselves, rather than the number of likes.
When this concept was first tested in Canada back in April, Instagram Chief Adam Mosseri said the goal was to minimize the stress of posting online with users competing over the number of likes their posts get.
“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about,” Mosseri said.
This seems like a great concept for those who use the app personally and for emtertainment purposes, but for corporations who use different social media platforms to boost brand awareness and market their products or services, the lack of likes may be more hurtful than helpful.
Engagement Benefits and Downfalls:
Statista reports that the average person spends around 136 minutes on social media per day, and that number continues to increase per year. With that rise comes more studies on how this screen time impacts those participants.
A study in which researchers scanned teenagers brains found evidence of these teens associating social media likes to winning money or eating chocolate. The study also showed that people are more likely to engage with posts that have been liked by a large amount of their peers. With Instagram testing out ‘no likes’, it is very probable the appeal of Instagram will decrease since those brain circuits in our head aren’t giving us those positive reactors.
On that same level, studies have linked social media platforms to effecting the mental health of young people. This is the main reason Instagram wants to test taking away likes.
Experts hope by removing the likes on posts, the results will:
- Take the pressure off those who weigh overall success in Instagram likes
- Prevent bullying based on not having many likes
- Eliminate competition of how many likes one post gets compared to another
While this platform change could be “healthier” for users, especially younger users, would the same go for a corporate Instagram page that promotes a brand or business?
What This Means For Your Company:
This test begs the question, will likes go up or down if an audience can’t see them? Does this make an audience more or less likely to like a post if they can’t see how many likes the post already has?
A study from 2016 found that 98.9% of interactions with Fortune 500 brands came in the form of likes. In this same study, 50% of all Fortune 500 companies used Instagram. So clearly major corporations could be impacted.
To those who run their companies Instagram pages, there is no doubt the number of likes received equates to the success of the post. More likes equal more traffic, more eyes on a product, and more statistics to measure success.
Yet some argue these ‘vanity metrics’ don’t always equate to direct sales in a product. And while you will still be able to monitor your own likes, will it make a difference if your audience can’t?
Leaders in this experiment suggest that with less focus on the number of likes a post gets will bring a greater focus on content rather than public opinion. Without the number of likes shown on an individual’s profile, a viewer is more likely to evaluate a post and whether they enjoy it or not, and not be swayed by what others are doing.
There has been a recent pivot from long form web video to short form video on social media platforms as well. Social Native founder David Shadpour explains that a goal of Instagram is to push users to Stories, since experts believe the future of the medium lies in short form videos, not still images on a feed.
“By reducing the focus on likes as an indicator of success, creators will have more creative control — focusing on content and transitioning their content towards video,” Shadpour said. “With that shift, metrics will also have to shift. Time spent on the platform, engagement, views and other metrics will prevail as KPIs.”
With new KPI’s monitoring success, there will be a shift in the type of content produced, in order to keep these metrics up. Here are some predictions of what could help keep a company’s Instagram engagement up:
- Emphasis more on engagement beyond just a double tap: Showing support to a company on Instagram used to be a just a double tap, but now support needs to involve comments, reposts, shares, etc… This helps to build more of a community on Instagram between the user and the account, which can create brand loyalty.
- Change up the style of your posts: With no more likes, the public’s opinion of your post doesn’t matter, since no one can see it. Now is the time to step outside the box and play up your creativity to your audience, since they are now evaluating quality or relatable content over the number of likes.
- Focus on video in Instagram Stories and IGTV: With a new shift to short-form videos, static images on a feed could be on their way out anyway. So it’s time to take a step ahead of the curve and emphasize corporate video on your profile in more ways than just on your feed.
All of these methods could backfire if a company doesn’t have a strong enough relationship with their audience already, or any kind of following. Does this give the little guy a fighting chance to grow themselves and reach a wider audience, since they won’t be penalized by how many likes they do or don’t have?
Considering these trials are continuing and even expanding to other countries, only time will tell the impacts on personal and professional Instagram accounts. But your company should still be ready.
Regardless of if you use this platform (for personal or professional use), there will be changes in how Instagram content is absorbed by viewers, which can impact you and your company. Arguably, it will aid to increase quality content and help build personal relationships with brands and followers.
New metrics to measure success of social media will shift with this change, so content should too. If Instagram continues to expand this test, your corporate Instagram could very well be next.
But whether your likes are shown to your viewers on your profile or not, the overall attitude of Instagram and how the public uses it will influence you. In the next age of media consumption, social media platforms have proven to take companies to the next level, regardless of the changes made to these mediums along the way.
If you’re looking to take your social media content to the next level, but need a little help getting started, get in touch with us at Crews Control. We have over 30 years of experience and can help you reach your full social media potential with still photography and video production. Work with the best local crews and let us help you execute your next video project every step of the way. Tell us about your project today!