Is this the end of instagram as we know and 'like' it?
These changes are about to effect social influences, startups, multinationals and every other user who rely on likes to demonstrate post engagement.
There has been mixed reactions to Facebook’s announcement of the latest changes for the selfie revolution platform, Instagram.
If you have been anywhere but under a rock in the last 5 years, you’ll know Instagram is the biggest social media platform to date, boasting over 1 billion active users.
Thats 1 in 6 in the world using Instagram.
Social media marketing is an astronomical part of many business’ marketing strategies (if it’s not, you should really re-consider your strategy) with good reason. Just think of all those potential customers you could be targeting every single day through a kick ass social media strategy!
Instagram, the darling social channel where we scroll through fancy, eye catching images. An almost essential choice in social media marketing, especially for the e-commerce industry who can take advantage of influencer marketing.
But this could all be changing whether you ‘like’ it or not. This is what it all means to you, regardless of your existing usage.
Instagram as we know it and we know it pretty well.
Most of us all know, use and have a love hate relationship with Instagram, I mean, even our pets have their own profiles, including our office dogs..
With users from Pope Francis right through to Doug the pug or Zappa the cat, (don’t worry we’ve got you, click for cute) there’s an Instagram account to please every one.
Originally, the app was designed for users to be able to post and share images with friends and family.
You know, stuff like family updates, or the latest football score.
But he last 5 years has undeniably developed into its own culture, creating a whole new world of Instagrammers, influencer marketing and a ‘do it for the gram’ mentality.
Side note: ‘Do it for the gram’ means, doing things in life specifically to take a good photo for Instagram. For example the famous ‘I’m causally standing in the middle of the road’ shot. aka do it for the gram. (@Inthefrow) A great feed and image none the less.
As it stands, users post images and videos for their followers to see and hopefully engage with, by either liking or commenting.
Likes are how users show their appreciation for a post.
You know, like when you tell your friend you like their new trainers.
Or when you laugh at someone’s joke (even if it really wasn’t funny).
However, Instagram have thrown a spanner in the works.
Cupid has shot the arrow through the heart.
The heartbreak kid has returned.
This could all be changing ahead of Facebook announcing at the F8 Developers Conference they are testing the feature of a no like count on Instagram.
Later this week, the updates to the app will be rolled out across Canada in a bid to test the new feature.
So how will it work and why have they done it?
As part of the test, Instagram plans to remove the total number of likes from photos and videos showing up on the main feed and on your profile.
This will mean only you will be able to see who has liked your post. Even then, you still won’t get a total number.
To know exactly how many people have liked your post, you will have to manually go through and count up yourself.
All good if you are counting 10/20.
Not so good when our Social Media expert has to scroll through Brighton Journals Instagram.
To everyone else, it will show a few names of people who have liked the photo, as it does now, but will no longer show the exact count of people who have liked the post.
Instagram say the reason for the ‘no like count’ update is to get users to concentrate on their posts and interacting with the app rather than likes.
There have been numerous studies conducted on the culture surrounding social media and the unhealthy obsession of receiving “likes” and comparing yourself to others.
“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get”- an Instagram spokesman confirms.
This is pretty powerful stuff here.
Let’s take a moment. The level of likes someone receives on their Instagram posts can have a serious effect on them personally.
The end of the influencer?
Instagram has become a big business for the “Insta-famous”.
For those who have experienced a glow-up.
This describes people who are paid or gifted free goods, food and holidays in exchange for marketing and promotional activity.
Influencers are often paid based on users’ engagement with their posts.
And some of the world’s most effective influencers have used social media to launch businesses, this includes nearly all of the Kardashian / Jenner sisters.
How much are they paid a post? We can only speculate but we’re talking tens to hundreds of thousands per post.
But do likes really contribute to success on Instagram? Sure it’s a contributing factor and measurement against engagement, but is it enough to kill off the insta-famous?
It’s certainly enough to give them a scare and maybe a sharp pull back down to reality..
What could all this mean for your business?
Well, it could mean a lot. Your social media marketing is most probably focused around building engagement (How to build a kick ass social media strategy) and a large following.
Likes and comments are the main metrics used to determine the success of a post, right?
Followers are still a valuable metric for measuring success but only a vanity metric. What does this mean?
Well let’s say you have 1,000 followers BUT your instagram posts only get around 10-15 likes. A nice little number you have there. Some serious fans going on.
Your following of 1,000 is a vanity metric. When it comes down to your content, your audience just don’t care .
We use likes and comments to determine the success of our content.
If a post didn’t receive many likes then we take this information to make a strategic decision on what content we post.
Hey, sometimes it doesn’t always quite go to plan. Just check out this post over on our Instagram.
Without likes you can’t determine the success of a post without manually going through and counting, a complete pain in the ass for anyone with over 100 followers..
Let’s be frank. Instagram has become such a monster within the social landscape they are likely to find other ways to monetise the channel.
It wouldn’t surprise us if Instagram have an ulterior motive.
We are backing a new subscription model to appear before long for all business and social influencers on the channel.
We only have to look as far as how we consumer TV. Netflix is a monthly subscription.
However, people are going to buy in to this. A small monthly cost is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Netflix is pretty cheap. We all keep the monthly subscription because it doesn’t hurt our bank.
If/when a paid model comes in to Instagram. We have a feeling it will focus around likes and engagements.
We can only wait ‘likeless’ and see.
Do you know your return on investment (ROI) for your social media marketing efforts?
Don’t panic, not many business do.
We will work with you to build a social media strategy designed to produce measurable results and not just vanity metrics- likes or no likes.