Instagram is testing hiding "likes," here's what that could mean for influencers
Instagram’s test of hiding “likes” on posts is going well, the company just expanded to more markets around the globe. For influencers, and individuals who work with brands to promote services or products on social media aka sponsored posts… this means a continued shift away from “vanity metrics” — likes or follower counts — and a focus on actual sales ( you know the swipe up linking to product pages).
Instagram says this is their way of addressing how validation culture (seeking a certain number of likes for posts) has been shown to hurt mental health and self-esteem. The new focus on mental health, pivot includes a handful of anti-bullying measures and emphasis on “digital well-being,” which mostly entails reducing screen time and limiting notifications.
Users who are part of the test are able to look at who liked their own post, but not a count of how many likes someone else’s post received, a way of making Instagram feel less “like a competition."
But what about the influencers?
For businesses or creators, the change hasn’t made much of a difference. Their accounts still give them highly detailed metrics, down to how many people unfollowed their account on a specific day. Plus, they can still see the number of likes on their own content and track it.
Can keeping likes private really wreck an Instagram influencer's career? Yes, some influencers could find it harder to get deals with businesses for sponsored content. Many companies like to see engagement on content before tapping an influencer to rep their product. It would also make it near impossible for users to figure out which posts are popular on the platform, and therefore, tp ne influential and have someone be #influenced. This means it will be harder for newer influencers to jump into the game as a successful influencer with brand partnerships.
Hiding likes will bring back creativity
I all for the hiding of likes. Influencers keep posting the same content because they know what works and keep sharing it over and over again. I’m bored! One of the biggest reasons why users don’t post more now is because every single time you post you’re being heavily judged by this ‘like’ metric on the quality of your post. If that’s removed, then a lot of people won’t feel that pressure, and they’ll post more, and it will be new, fresh content. Hiding likes will bring back creativity.
By reducing the focus on likes as an indicator of success, I think creators will be more creators and have more creative control — instead of brands dictating, they will be focusing on content and transitioning to more quality content. With that shift, metrics will also have to shift. Time spent on the platform, engagement, views and other metrics.
I’m hopeful that this would force the brands as well as influencers to take the time to build community and not just fans, engagement is about the community who ants to be a part of the conversation.
That’s good for the platform and that could probably lead to more time spent on the IG which means more ads served to the community.. And ding ding more money for IG. Still— removing likes data is not the end all solution to removing pressure to post. If the company really cared about removing the incentive to influence or freeing us from the urge to care about engagement and clout and competition, they would make the Followers and Following lists private too, stop announcing a new ad product every other week.
What are your thoughts? Like or dislike the hiding of likes? Comment below: