Get ready for one of the biggest changes Instagram has had to date – hiding likes. This update has been slowly rolling out, with Instagram testing this in Canada last May then in countries like Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. And rumor has it, likes will be disappearing in the United States THIS week! Here is Adam Mosseri, Instagram CEO, as he speaks at the WIRED25 conference to announce this big change to this social media platform.
WATCH: Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announces that the platform will start hiding likes for US audiences starting next week. It’s the latest step in Instagram’s quest to become the safest place on the internet. https://t.co/BGkMG57rdk #WIRED25 pic.twitter.com/WNTyAPVhaD
— WIRED (@WIRED) November 9, 2019
Mosseri explains, “The idea is to depressurize Instagram making it less of a competition and give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love and things that inspire them.” The main focus of this is so people stop comparing themselves to others, especially for younger people. Instagram has become a comparison game on how many likes one individual or brand can get compared to another. This update is to combat some of the negative mental health issues that have sprouted up from social media usage.
But before you start going into full-on panic mode, here’s an important thing to note: Instagram isn’t getting rid of likes, just public likes. But what’s the difference? You will be able to see how many likes you get on a photo, but the public (ie. other users, brands, etc) will not. In your post settings, you will be able to see the number of likes and which accounts liked it. But to the public, it will simply say: @alyssafagien and others liked this post. (Whereas now it says @alyssafagien and 100 others liked this post.)
In addition to the constant comparison, the hope is that people will become more creative with their content. Today, Instagram is filled with people posting about their picture-perfect lives. With this update, users can post without worrying about the little devil on their shoulders telling them not to because it won’t perform well. So go ahead and post that selfie because you felt cute — and don’t delete it later!
Now you might be wondering, how will this affect influencers or more importantly your business account? Instead of relying on just likes, other engagement metrics such as reach, impressions and comments are going to be that much more important. You’ll be forced to keep track of how many people are sharing, saving and commenting — which you should have been doing already.
Mel Brittner, a social media strategist from Later states, “Likes were always a false currency, but an easy number to give when asked how content is performing and an easy way to compare, so I think this shift forces businesses to look at what’s actually working.”
As for influencers, you better believe your engagement metrics still matter, because potential brand partners can and will ask you to share analytics (even if they are hidden from the public). So no, influencer marketing isn’t going away quite yet!
Hiding the likes will definitely take some getting used to, but instead of panicking, why not use it to your advantage? Get creative and post content you normally wouldn’t and see how it performs! Use this as a push for you to connect with your audience rather than relying on them for their likes and dislikes – no pun intended.