Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms and has recently announced that it will be hiding like counts on people’s posts. Now, in case this sounds a little technical, like counts are the number of people who like an image. This is being implemented in order to reduce the amount of depression and possible anxiety caused to young people who use the app who use these “likes” in order to gain social validation. 

While it is a worthy cause that Instagram is citing for its inspiration, this could have an effect on both digital marketing and influencer marketing. If you are looking into social media marketing for your brand, it is an important consideration. Instagram does allow users to see their likes privately, but the like count will not be shown to the public. 

Not sure what this will mean for your social media marketing strategy? We take a deeper dive below.


Value Will Be Re-Examined


Previously, many brands were chasing Instagram likes with their content, meaning that they prioritised this over offering their audience relevant and valuable content. Now, without the ability to highlight how many people have liked your content, you will need to focus on the value you are providing to your audience

Consumers are still able to see that a post has been like,d but they cannot see how many likes the post has. This might sound detrimental, but it allows the consumer to follow content and brands that they find truly valuable, rather than simply following a brand that has numerous likes. By offering a balance of valuable content and popular posts, your brand will soon see an increase in traffic and online presence. 


Fresh Content Will Be Produced


Despite this new change to Instagram, you will still be able to see how many likes your content is receiving. The difference is that your followers will not be able to see this. This means that people who usually like popular posts will not be able to see how popular a post is, leading to them liking more original and fresh content. 

Subsequently, this means that your brand and other content producers will need to produce new, fresh content in order ot bring in more likes. This is beneficial for your digital marketing strategy because consumers prefer original content and will be drawn to your brand. You will also become more visible online as more people like your posts due to their uniqueness. Not having the like count showing is a challenge, but one that can be met creatively. 


Performance Metrics Will Change


Social media marketers often obsess over likes, but these can be considered as secondary or legacy metrics. They can provide a misleading picture of how well a brand is performing, especially since many people who use Instagram simply like a post because other people have liked it. 

The performance metrics that could become more important and more monitored are follows, comments, and video completion rates. Comments allow brands to see exactly how they are being perceived by the public and whether or not a campaign is successful. Performance metrics will need to change to keep up with this new Instagram update, which could mean that likes are no longer as valuable as comments, video completions, and other interactions. 


Influencers Become More Genuine


Arguably the audience that will be affected the most by Instagram hiding its likes is that of the social media influencer. While they will still have private access to how many people have liked their posts, this will not reflect ot the public, which could make some influencers anxious about how they are perceived by their fans and followers.

However, this is more positive than negative, as it will force influencers to post more original and genuine content, rather than simply posting content that receives the most likes. Original content is highly useful for brands who interact with and make use of influencers, as this is preferred by consumers and appears higher in search results


Broader Brand Interaction


For smaller brands and small businesses that use Instagram as part of their content marketing strategy, these hidden likes could prove to be more positive than negative. Consumers are now more likely to interact with and follow brands that resonate with them and that they connect with, rather than simply liking content to “keep up” with the crowd. 

This broader brand interaction could mean that smaller brands and even startups gain more traction with their social media marketing, especially if they use the right hashtags at the right points in time. By providing original and relevant content, your content could see an increase in likes due to consumers preferring unique content and not being swayed by a likes counter. 

Having a social media marketing strategy is vital to a brand of any size, but it can be tricky to stay up-to-date with the updates. Contact NetMechanic today to find out how we can help you.