November 17, 2019

What Hiding Likes Means for the Future of Instagram

By Madeline Balicoco

It’s the update marketers around the world have been waiting for. We started seeing it roll out in different countries and now it’s here—Instagram announced that it’s now hiding likes on the platform for users globally. However, this feature doesn’t mean that likes are completely disappearing… Individuals and businesses will still be able to see the number of likes on posts on their end, but the metric will no longer be public facing. So what does this mean for the future of Instagram? Here’s what we think:

  1. Engagement and conversation will be way more important. With likes being hidden, starting a valuable conversation with your connections will be essential. Instead of a number showing how many people tapped on your post to show they “liked” the content, it will be more important to consider the relationship you’re cultivating with your audience. Who’s actively talking about your content? Who’s reaching out to start a conversation? And how are you responding to keep them engaged and providing valuable connection? In the era of relationship marketing, creating meaningful conversations and monitoring your comments will translate into educating potential fans and retaining brand advocates.
  2. Don’t forget about Story shares. You know what they say—when one door closes, another door opens. Although a lot of experts are focusing on likes going away, you don’t want to neglect the other opportunities that are still on the platform! If you’re worried about how you’ll increase brand awareness on Instagram, then don’t forget about Story shares. Since your Story consistently appears at the very top of your fans’ feeds, they’re the prime avenue for sharing exclusive, behind-the-scenes content and engaging with your audience in real time.
  3. Influencer marketing will get a lot more interesting. With likes becoming a private metric, it will push marketers to truly consider whether influencers are actually influential. A study recently published by HypeAuditor showed a general trend of like counts decreasing in countries where likes were hidden. So instead of putting weight on likes on influencers’ posts, marketers should look at the conversations on an influencer’s post. Are their fans actively commenting their post? Is the influencer providing valuable responses in return? And with the update, we can focus on whether an influencer actually converts to website visits and solid purchases.

Hiding likes doesn’t mean it’s the end of Instagram. It just signifies an era of new beginnings and strategic decision making. Are you looking for a partner to help you navigate Instagram’s changing landscape? Contact us today at [email protected].

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