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Instagram Taking Away Likes | What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Instagram Taking Away Likes | What Does This Mean For Your Business?

You´ve may heard the news that Instagram is taking away likes. So in this episode we´re talking all about why would they do this, what it means for you and most importantly, how you can protect your business and your Instagram account to make sure that you get even better results than you´ve ever did before. Hey there my name is Adam Erhart, Marketing Strategist, and welcome to The Modern Marketing Show where we help you grow your business by making better marketing. So, if you’re interested in learning about the latest and greatest marketing strategies, tools, tips, tricks, and tactics then you may want to consider subscribing and hitting that notification bell. In today´s episode we´re doing things a little bit differently. I want to have a candid conversation just me and you, discussing something that´s been on my mind a lot lately and that´s essentially Instagram taking away likes and it´s not just a fact that they´re thinking about taking away likes and in many cases they´ve already started to roll out this feature it´s got my mind kind of spinning But rather what this means for marketing as a hole and essentially the entire world of social media. So, with all that said, let´s dive right into it, starting with: Why would they do this? After all, Why would Instagram take away one of the core features of the entire platform with the likes and just wipe this right off the platform completely. Well, Instagram is claiming that this has a lot to do with mental health and essentially, removing some of the pressure that people feel around creating content And, it´s pretty reasonable actually. If you think about the amount of stress and the amount of stories that you hear from different influencers and even from friends and family and colleagues and some of the stresses that goes into creating this content and then the self judgement and all of the doubts and insecurities that come to the surface when you put stuff out there and it just doesn´t seem to resonate. I´ve heard tons and tons of stories of people that go out there, spend all source of time creating this content, post it and then they judge weather is successful or not based on how many likes they get and if they don´t get that arbitrary number that makes them feel good about the content well, they just ripped off and completely deleted from the platform. So, Instagram is saying that they´re trying to fight against this they´re trying to remove some of the pressure by removing all of those social signals and essentially, helping people to stop trying get that outside validation for their content, witch I guess they´re hopping is going to help them return to more authentic and more valuable content and really just focusing on the content it self rather than the reactions they´re trying to get out of it. Is also no secret that social media has come on some pretty heavy fire, I mean, the biggest example being probably Facebook with their Cambridge Analytica scandal and the data leaks and that whole nightmare. Well, more and more people are taking a look at social media as influence on our lives, on the lives of our kids, on the lives of everybody that it impacts, witch is pretty much everybody. And a lot of those effects… ahh… they
ain´t so positive. Sure there´s arguments against this saying that we´ve always had social influence of some source, we´ve always had this publicly displayed, sort of authority signals and that, but they´re certainly a lot more prevalent today and social media is now everywhere and we´re often able to communicate with each other and get this signals lightning fast. Anyway, regardless of Instagram motives for this, Regardless of what they´re trying to claim they´re doing it for or regardless of what people are perceiving them doing it for, there´s one really clear and obvious reason that they are doing this: Instagram is a business and removing likes is a business decision. They can claim that is to be altruistic and for mental health and to try to protect its users, but all of this had been weight heavily against the business impact that this decision is going to have. What this means is that to us on the outside of Instagram inner circle, well, we can judge and we can guess and we can try to figure out why they´re doing this but the reality is that they´re doing this from a very strict and very calculated business position. They really believe that this is going to be best for the platform overall. Alright, so what are some of the factors that have led to this? and what´s kind of the clima that we´re currently in when it comes to social media and when it comes to social proof and specifically the Instagram likes? Well, it´s no surprise that trying to increase followers and trying to get more likes it´s become a bit of an arms race where essentially everybody has a new trick and a new tactic, a new hack on how to build your audience and increase your followers and get more likes on your content and essentially, what this is led to is, again, a bit of that arms race where people are just trying to stack up as much as this of possible and is led to all source kind of sketchy and questionable tactics as people try to gain the system and really move things in their favor. What this means is people are often less likely to post valuable content or authentic content or content that is actually going to help somebody if they fear that´s not going to get the number of likes that they deem that are needed to be successful in the platform. So, people are basically self editing before they´ve even had a chance to post that content and build that connection witch at the end of the day is kinda what they´re going for. Basically, the platform is kinda turned in a superficial magazine review type site where people are producing likable content or content that´s gonna get a lot of likes but often lacks a ton of substance. Even worse that it leads to even more questionable tactics like buying likes or using bots or automation in order to build your followers or essentially just kinda faking it and making it look like you got more engagement than you actually do. No surprise here, this is terrible for business. You see, one of the misconceptions that arrives from doing Instagram marketing or Facebook marketing or pretty much any kinda marketing where people are able to comment and engage and like the content you produce is that a lot of people mistakenly believe that likes equals revenue and likes do not equal revenue, not in any way, shape or form. In fact, sometimes the best perform in content is the stuff that maybe doesn´t get a ton of likes but it actually ends up driving the most revenue for the business. This is why when businesses are creating content with a sole goal of trying to get more likes and trying to essentially produce all those social signals, well it often ends up being a really bad business decision that doesn´t lead to a lot of revenue growth overall. This often happens when business try to build up an audience for the sake of monetizing later or even worse, building up an audience simply for the sake of building up an audience. So, is Instagram removing likes completely? When is this taking the fact? What countries are being affected? What kind of accounts? Well, the reality is that this program is already being rolled out as your watching this right now. It´s already been tested in a number of different markets and a number of different countries and they´re trying to judge the impact and the effect of this and really deciding if they´re going to rolled this out in the primary market witch is the United States. It´s important to know that, well, it does look like they´re moving in this direction, there´s no reason that they won´t bring lights back later or introduce an other kind of feature or whatever the case, right? They´re always innovating and adapting and evolving and trying to make the platform the best they can for their users. Because, again, Instagram is a business and the better of
it´s users are, well, the more likely people are to advertise on the platform witch is how it generate it´s revenue. Is also important to know that other social media networks, namely Twitter, have already started to play around with removing likes and hiding social proof and seen how this affects the overall users experience. The reality is that nobody really knows. I mean, this could be a train that we see really take off or could just get completely stateful and never get rolled up on the main market and then they just wipe it out completely and give everybody the likes back. The important thing here is to know what this means, both the good and the bad so you can use it to adapt your business accordingly. So, with all that said, let´s get into the bad news first. As a business, there are a couple downsides that come along with Instagram removing likes, namely the fact that you´re not gonna be able to tell what kinda content is working best for your competitors so is gonna be hard to see whats working well and whats not. Again, this is gonna be really superficial, because as we already talked about, what gets likes isn´t necessarily the content that generates the most revenue. An other negative is that you´re not gonna be able to publicly displace social proof and social proof is an incredibly important influential signal. Really helps people make those decisions and decide that your business is valuable. An other negative is that this may actually make it easier for people to build up fake followings and buy more followers, because in the past what we where able to do is take a look of at an account and if they had a tons of followers but really low engagement, well, it will signify that this followers where all fake but if we´re not able to judge how many likes things get or what not It´s gonna make it a little harder to discern weather an account actually has that kinda credibility or not. Alright, so now the good news. And the first piece of good news is that you as a business or as an influencer as a content creator well you´re still gonna be able to see all of your own likes witch means, when you create content
you´re gonna be able to see what kinda content resonates best with your market and what falls flat. Honestly, that´s the best piece of news that I´ve got for you here. The fact that you´re still gonna get access to that analytical data so you can make the right decisions moving forward. But, a really important caveat, a really important warning is that user behavior is going to change if this featured gets rolled out unanimously. So, if you see either a dipping likes or a suden increase of likes, well, it´s going to be important to sort of re-calibrate your base line or whatever you´re using to judge weather the post is effective or not. Because again, that behavior is going to change once this things are no longer visible. Alright, so as a business or as an influencer as a creator, what should you do with this information, how do you make it best surview so you don´t get left behind here. Well, my first piece of advice is something that pretty much sets regardless weather they have likes or weather they don´t show likes and that´s to really focus on creating high quality content. I know I´ve said this times and times again. But the reality is weather likes are visible or not, high quality content is still gonna perform better than low quality content. No surprise there right? Plus, as I already mention you´re still going to get to see witch parts of your content did well and witch parts didn´t do well. So, you´re still going to be able to focus in and really narrowing on the aspect and the creator and the copy of what kind of post do well and what don´t do so well. The next tip I have is to really focus on providing value. You got a really unique opportunity here. People aren´t gonna see how many likes things get so you´re going to have an opportunity to create post that provide more value or maybe a little sort of less “likable” and less social worthy but are going to be more authentic and essentially really connect with your target market in a way that you´ve might have been a little sketchy too before. An other opportunity here is to focus on Instagram Story’s. Focus on having more conversations in the comments. Focus on building those conversations and those connections in the dm´s. Again, just because that social proof aspect is going away, doesn´t mean that the relationships and creating valuable content and all those other concepts don´t still apply. Lastly, it should come with no surprise that they are making this changes or this edits and we may have not expected them to remove likes but it doesn´t mean that a change wasn´t coming at some point. So what this does is it really does opens up some of the opportunity here for you to transition, maybe some of your time and money and energy away from your organic strategy and more towards an Instagram ads strategy. Instagram advertising is still an incredibly underutilized and really cost effective strategy for most businesses out there. So if you haven´t already, now is a good time to start trying that strategy out. With that said, I´m gonna make sure to link up a video right here on Instagram advertising, how get you started and get you off the right foot, because I really believe this is probably going to be the next best logically transition for you and your business if your not already running Instagram Ads. And if you are, well the video is gonna provide more advice and ideas and strategies to help you get better results from your campaigns. Alright, so thanks so much for watching and we catch up next time, on The Marketing Show

3 thoughts on “Instagram Taking Away Likes | What Does This Mean For Your Business?

  1. 5:00 Any social media metric may be used as an indicator by companies offering brand deals to influencers. So it is possible that likes could effect an influencers revenue. Also any social media metric could be used in an algorithm that promotes content. So again this could have an indirect effect on an influencers revenue. Also likes are social proof which may influence someone to follow the influencer. So again this could have an impact on revenue.

  2. Your point about not being able to detect fake followers because you can't see the engagement is important. If potential sponsor companies cannot discern if an influencer has real followers or fake followers then it will make it harder for the influencer to get brand deals. This may be what Instagram wants because they don't make money from brand deals.

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