You might’ve heard the news that Instagram is planning to hide ‘like’ counts under posts in the very near future. For many marketers and social media influencers, this might seem like a disaster, but there might actually be some interesting opportunities as well for the savvy marketing-minded person (like you).
Of course, there is a clear downside – it’ll be hard for your Instagram audience to identify posts that are doing really well on the platform. After all, those ‘like’ numbers were the primary way that people knew which posts folks, you know, like. This much is obvious. What might not be obvious is its impact on Instagram pages that people already have impressions of. For instance, people may expect that profiles that already have lots of likes are still having them, and those that perform not so strongly still don’t.
One of the plus-sides is that it frees up content creators to truly experiment with the visual platform. Because no one is taking a look at what the statistics are on each image, you have more creative freedom to think outside the box with the things you post. It’s worth keeping in mind that you’ll still be able to see the amount of likes that your posts get in your analytics, which means that you have a chance to see how your audience responds to different kinds of content without looking too bad. In fact, this new change incentivizes bold, new content to maintain interest.
With likes not being the be-all and end-all of audience interaction, now there’s a greater focus on comments as the medium of engagement. By fostering a culture where your audience feels invested enough to comment on your work, you’ll get your content in front of more eyeballs and give viewers the numbers that they crave so much. And the thing is, this is an Instagram metric that you should’ve always been looking at.
Think of it this way; this is the perfect time for you to refocus your Instagram marketing to fostering authentic interactions with your fans. And, now that you’re leaning into creating more unique IG content, you can also discover new ways to get folks talking about your posts and your brand itself. It also means that the comments that you leave on the posts of consumers (and even other brands) will also get more attention as well. So, if you haven’t been thinking about how your brand’s profile communicates with others, now’s a great time.
It will also likely bring changes in how people interact with some of Instagram’s other features, like the explore and notification pages. You may or may not know this, but the notifications page also shares the images liked by other people you follow. This is important because the like count also used to include the names of those friends of yours who also liked it. With that gone, some might go looking for a way to get that same kind of content.
More importantly, such a big change is certainly going to be followed up with more tools for creators to promote and develop their content and reach. You might be thinking that this is the time to give up on Instagram in favour of other platforms, but the folks at Facebook have put a lot of effort into making an attractive place to create. Whether that means more tools to create and edit images, or more in-depth analytics for influencers, or even better IGTV integration, chances are that by 2020 Instagram will actually be an exciting place to share your brand image.
So, when you’re working out where Instagram fits into your brand’s marketing strategy going into 2020, don’t be too negative. The fact that like counts are going away may look like a closed door, but that might just mean that there’s another interesting door that we never took the time to look at before. With more innovative ways of thinking about our content, we can still win on the platform, and promote our brands!