Did you know Instagram is going to be hiding likes? As a social media manager, this is a question I’ve heard more than a handful of times recently. Here’s my take: community is more important than likes.
Over the past several months, Instagram has been testing hiding likes in other countries, and this past weekend, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced that the removal of likes from Instagram posts could come as soon as this week for U.S. users. With the growing concerns around young people’s self-esteem, the social networking app is looking to create a “healthier” platform for its users.
In the tests done so far, likes are hidden from the public in places such as the feed and search; however, users should still be able to see likes on their posts.
This change to the popular social media platform is not only smart but energizing. As with most change, there will be discomfort but in that discomfort, I believe, comes positive change bringing us back to humanizing the social networking app. Here are three reasons why I believe community is more important than likes.
1. A community is more important than vanity metrics.
Many of us measure the impact of social posts based on engagement (likes, comments, shares, reach, etc.) If we continue to measure value based solely on vanity metrics, will we ever know the true impact? I encourage everyone to think beyond likes. What kind of conversations are you generating? Perhaps those conversations could turn into content to write about. Are you tracking clicks from your content to conversions and time on page to your website? These clicks could be generating new leads or product sales for your company through social media.
2. A community is intentional.
Likes are nice to see, right? They make you feel good. We see brands share “likable” content all the time. For instance, the last National Dog Day; you liked a handful of those photos, didn’t you? But did you pay attention to who was sharing that content? It may have been a brand and not one of your friends. The point is, we often scroll aimlessly, not intentionally. We like things because they look good, or we are playing the “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” game. As a brand, part of your strategy includes posts about your business or products. While those posts may not get many likes, they may still be contributing to leads and conversions.
3. A community is about bringing people together.
We’ve become so programmed to value likes, that we worry when we see only 20 likes when our friends/competitors have 50. I recently shared a post to my Instagram Story that resonated with me about the Instagram comparison game. The article encourages us to stop focusing on the number of likes on our posts. Instead, we should think of each like as a person applauding us; remembering that this is an individual whose perspective we’ve changed or inspired! Shifting your mindset can change the whole outlook on the comparison. I encourage you to think about the story behind your posts. What are you trying to show and tell? Engage with your audience in that storytelling – that’s where your true community will come from.
So, are you ready for Instagram likes to disappear? I’m curious to hear your thoughts about this big change to the social networking app.
Overall, tracking metrics is a great starting point for any brand in measuring success, but it shouldn’t be the final straw. If you’re just starting with Instagram, let us help you! Contact our team for a deeper look into the opportunities you may be missing with social media.