Your business’s Instagram page has been rendered useless. No like count? How else will your followers (and potential followers) know your account is legit anymore?
Sure, you’ll be able to see your own like count. But no one else will. How will people know how popular you are? How else will they determine which company is on trend? Or who is worth following?
Instagram’s goal is to change this negatively perceived interaction. Where likes and followers create the hierarchy of social media accounts.
Fortunately, this is still being tested. Your Instagram feed is safe for now.
Starting by rolling out a test to Canadian users, Instagram will see how users react. Depending on their reactions, maybe you’ll never have to adjust for it.
But in case they do, here are
4 ways your business will be affected by Instagram’s removal of likes
1. Influencer Marketing Just Got Harder
Influencer marketing (now at least) is about partnering up with influential social media users with large followings in order to promote your product of service.
While celebrity status Instagram influencers, like Kylie Jenner, might charge $1M for a sponsored post…
Marketing expert, Gary Vee, advocates a spin on this:
“Recently I’ve been stressing partnerships with micro-influencers. Why? For one, they are more affordable. But even more importantly, their audience is often much more specific, and much more engaged.”
But if likes are removed, how will you determine the authenticity of a micro-influencers following?
At this moment, you can see how many people like their posts.
But with the possibility of likes being removed, the influencers who purchase followers will blend right in. You won’t see pages with 100k followers and only 100 likes anymore.
You’ll just see a page with 100k followers.
2. Genuine Conversations Become Your Goal
Instead of showing engagement through likes, everything will be pushed towards comments.
This will become the only way people can see other users interacting with your brand.
Social media marketing expert, Alexander Porter, from Paperclip Digital puts it this way:
“Social media has one purpose. To bring people together in the digital world. To socialise, digitally. But what it has become, is an attention seeking medium that is revolved around likes. It’s bringing self-esteem issues to the next level, and Instagram is trying to stop it. And their goal? To do what social media was meant to do to begin with. Create genuine connections with real people.”
But how are you going to create these genuine connections?
Sure DM’s could be the answer, but that doesn’t help you build massive social proof.
Encouraging comments for your posts, and contributing to them is the answer.
Create conversations within your comments and engage with others through there. Invite anyone into the conversation and create a micro-community of like-minded individuals.
3. Automation Is Dead
Following on from the previous point of creating genuine connections, Instagram automation as we know it will die.
Follow/unfollow will slow down, likes will become less valuable, and these superficial measures of success will become useless.
Real humans will need to be the ones interacting now. No more auto-commenting or auto-DM’ing (if you want to stay ahead at least).
This will make scaling Instagram more expensive.
You’ll need to hire people instead of paying $59 a month for an automation service.
4. Instagram Activity Will Drop
The reason why people are so attached to their phones can all be traced back to science. To chemistry in particular.
People are addicted to their phones. And the reason why? A neurotransmitter called dopamine. Otherwise known as the ‘happy hormone’.
It gives you a sense of pleasure whenever you check our Instagram. Or whenever you get another like on your post. And if likes get removed, the number of times these neurotransmitters can be fired off in your brain will decrease.
And with a decrease in dopamine being released, levels of addiction will fall. The extent? It’s not possible to know until it happens. But like getting over other addictions, it’s a tough process that takes a long period of time.
What this means for your business is that effectiveness may drop and your cost per acquisition may increase.
Multi-channel marketing may become more important for your business. You won’t be able to rely on only Instagram to reach your audience with a high level of certainty.
Whether or not this feature rolls out to the rest of the world permanently, we won’t know for some time.
But what you can do now is prepare yourself for this possibility.
Move your efforts from influencer marketing to building your own business page.
Focus more of your efforts on creating genuine conversations with your existing followers. Use call to actions that get your readers to comment. Respond to comments with something that encourages them to keep the conversation going instead of a simple “thanks”.
And instead of using automation software, try getting your team to spend some time manually interacting with your users and see how it goes.
Regardless of the fate of Instagram ‘likes’, moving towards genuine connections could improve your business and move your needle.
Comment below how you think the removal of likes would influence businesses.
For some further social media and instagram reading, check out these other articles on Marketing.com.au:
- How to Increase Your Facebook Video Reach
- The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Advertising
- The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Advertising
- Top Tips to Boost Instagram Video Views
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