So, Instagram has decided to hide “likes”. Nicki Minaj is hating it, Kim Kardashian is all for it, but what about small businesses and brands that are purely built on social media marketing and heavily rely on social proof?
That’s what we are here to discuss today!
Yes, “likes” are one of the most recognizable factors when it comes to social proof, after all, that’s how brands keep track of their engagement metrics.
But this might not be such a bad move. I mean, Instagram Stories don’t have any public metrics either, and that didn’t stop it from sweeping the users (and influencers) off their feet.
Now that your “number of likes” will be out of sight, it means the main protagonist will be your content. Not to mention, it will be a healthy reminder to do a quick mental check-in: do you really need to know how many peeps liked your recent picture?
How Hidden Likes Work
Do note that “likes” have not disappeared altogether; they will just be hidden to followers. You – the user – can still see how many likes you’ve received on a post (just your followers can’t).
As Mark Zuckerberg said, “You can see who liked a photo or video, you can tap through to see the list. But as you scroll through your feed, there are no like counts.”
By tapping “others” under your post, you can see the total number of likes.
Personally, I am loving this idea of taking the pressure off of Instagram and making it a haven that’s more focused on conversations and connections. In addition to the very obvious mental health advantage, there’s one more benefit of hiding “likes” that no one is talking about: it’s much harder to hack comments than likes on Instagram.
We all know people who have bought thousands of fake “likes” on Instagram to get a huge exposure almost overnight, right? Now that “likes” are hidden, and “comments” rule the engagement metrics, it won’t be as easy to hack the system.
Why Hiding Likes Will Be Good For Your Business
Contrary to what many believe, doing away with “likes” can mean good things for your brand, here’s why:
You will start sharing authentic content: Have you ever stopped yourself from posting something because you thought it wouldn’t get enough likes? Well, good news! Instagram is no longer a popularity contest! Now you can be as raw and authentic in your content sharing as you want, without having to worry about the number of likes you’re going to get.
You will track metrics that matter: At the end of the day, “likes” mean nothing – you can’t wave a magic wand and convert them into sales. So, instead of focusing on likes, now is the time to pay attention to other important elements like “saves”, engagement, and reach.
Now that you are (hopefully) convinced why Instagram hiding “likes” is a good thing, let’s dive into how you can make the most of these new changes.
4 Tips to Grow Your Instagram Audience When Likes Don’t Exist Anymore
As a business owner or a marketer, your focus should be on how to create and grow a profile that keeps your audience thoroughly engaged, for a longer period of time. If you’re worried without the “likes”, people will feel less incentivized to tap the Like button or leave a comment, here’s what you can do:
#1 Post as much as you can
If you can handle posting high-quality content 2-3 times a day (or more), go for it. This will keep your brand consistently relevant and at the top of your users’ mind. But, the operative word here is “high-quality content”!
Make sure you post genuinely helpful and valuable content; don’t just post for the sake of posting. Nothing will annoy people more than getting bombarded with irrelevant, unnecessary content on a daily basis.
#2 Ask questions
One sure shot way to trigger engagement is to ask users to leave a comment, but make sure your questions are simple. If a user has to type out a long answer, they are less likely to respond.
You can ask questions in your captions, like, “Would you ever do this?”, “Do you agree?”, “Rate this on a scale of 1-10”, etc.
#3 Get followers to tag you
Consider getting users to tag you in their photos if they are using your product or service. Many businesses reward their audience for tagging them by re-posting their pictures. You can say something like “Tag us for a chance to get featured” in your bio. Trust me, people will do this happily because if they get featured, it means free exposure for them.
#4 Leave comments on their posts
It’s a good idea to comment on your followers’ posts because it helps you build a relationship with them. It also forces the Instagram algorithm to show your posts to each other more frequently.
Don’t believe me? Here’s an Insta user who gained 80,000 new followers in two weeks by simply commenting on accounts with a high number of followers.
#Note: Also, keep in mind the unwritten rule of Instagram – don’t post crappy pictures. Only use the highest quality images to post on your Instagram account (consider hiring a professional photographer).
Instagram has said again and again that if you want to boost your content’s feed ranking, just produce incredible content. So what if your engagement count is not public anymore? Your focus should be on providing them value, and this change just might help you up your Insta game.
It may take some getting used to but hidden “likes” are a good thing for businesses as well as their audience. Many brands have already started moving away from caring only about “likes”, to focusing on having an authentic relationship with their followers.
Remember, it’s not that “likes” don’t matter any longer – they are just not visible to your users. So keep creating powerful content to inspire engagement with your Instagram audience.
Social media for businesses was meant to be a new, meaningful way to connect with target audiences. But as people started to rely on these platforms more and more, many brands started to take advantage of the data to understand a specific set of users to create strategies to market their goods.
So, think of this as a wonderful opportunity to post more freely without being restricted in your content choices and interact with users on a more personalized level. Instead of using your Instagram account to post about your products, use it to collaborate with your customers. As long as your audience feels connected to your brand, they will keep engaging with you.
It’s this genuine engagement that successful-Instagram-marketing-campaign dreams are made of!
On that note, tag @SociallyPowered for a chance to get your Instagram Story Success featured! 😉
See ya on the ‘Gram!
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