26th June 2019

Instagram’s Hidden Likes: The Effect on Social Media Marketing

Reading time 5 mins

When you see something you like on Instagram, you can simply double tap to show your appreciation and jump aboard the bandwagon. But what if you couldn’t see the thousands of other likes? Would you still ‘like’ it so much?

This is the problem that social media marketers will face if hidden likes are to be rolled out across the platform – measuring engagement levels won’t seem so easy. Advertisers have been living in a happy-go-lucky world where they haven’t needed to put too much consideration into their organic content and the use of influencers has brought about quick and effective reach to a wide audience.

Influencers can be the key to furthering a brands exposure and reaching the big numbers. After all, if the majority of people are doing something – it must be right? But don’t be fooled… using likes as a way of measuring engagement is not always accurate, as likes and comments can be bought online, rendering the meaning of the word ‘like’ as completely inane.

What does this mean for users?

It’s not all bad news. If anything, hiding likes could be a positive step towards reducing the amount of pressure and anxiety people may feel as a result of using Instagram. The aim being to try and get users to concentrate more on the content itself rather than the metrics associated with it. This will give people a chance to build meaningful relationships over and above the current focus on looking good and having a large army of followers.

Account owners will still be able to see their likes, but other users won’t, and this will cause people to have to think for themselves whether they actually like something before they automatically double tap and follow the crowd. So, the effect this change could have on everyday users of the platform is no doubt going to be positive.

How about businesses?

For businesses, the outlook is not quite as encouraging, as the primary metric for engagement could fall by the wayside. This will inevitably mean that it will take more effort for brands using Instagram to become discoverable, as content will start to become popular based on its own merits rather than relying solely on the followership of paid influencers.

Another issue for brands and influencers alike will be how they find each other without a clear indication of how popular they are and the ability to see this at face-value. This is probably going to mean that new influencers may struggle coming through the ranks and building their fanbase. But, in the interests of trust and transparency – the honest acquisition of followers will be a huge plus to customers.

What can we do?

It’s a good idea to be prepared for this potential change by re-evaluating the metrics you currently use for measuring your brands performance on Instagram and considering other ways in which you can analyse your content engagement to support your business goals.

Planning is also crucial when it comes to reassessing your content strategy on this platform – what will the new Instagram landscape look like? What do people really want to see? Is your content meaningful?

Driving real engagement will be the key to success for social media marketers and coming up with new and creative content that is specifically targeted and impactful to your chosen audience will help you to navigate this strange new ‘like-less’ world.

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