You might have heard that Instagram has finally launched the option to remove like counts from your feed. Considering this has been a fundamental feature of posting on Instagram since the beginning, we want to discuss the potential impact we believe this may have on the future of social media marketing.
What has influenced the change?
Instagram has suggested that the change is happening in a bid to ‘depressurize’ the platform, after users have suggested they felt pressured to compete with others’ engagement levels.
Naturally, this will have a positive impact on people’s mental health, after a study by the RSPH (Royal Society for Public Health) and YHM (Young Health Movement) identified Instagram as the platform having the largest negative impact on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, it seems the individuals using the social media platform are perceiving the metrics as a false sense of popularity, opposed to the original purpose of social media- to create an online social connection.
Arguably, the reduction in pressure should work both ways, for users and marketers, who are also regularly concerned about the vanity metrics of their posts to meet targets as we often find that clients can associate this with campaign success. Whilst this can be a contributing factor to a successful post (depending on your objectives) it’s not a must have. It’s now more important than ever that marketers are placing more value on content over vanity metrics because passive audiences are still consuming your content, even if they’re not engaging with it.
However, with that being said, the removal of likes should make brands and social media marketers focus on engaging in conversations with their audience on the platforms, as this is a much more powerful and visual measure of success.
We believe that this will force marketers to focus on much more beneficial metrics like social traffic to your website and sales generated by traffic from social media, which are both influential to your bottom line. Again, this highlights the need for creating a strong social media and content strategy, with a focus on starting a conversation with your audience. To do this, you might consider:
- Organising webinars to educate your customers in an area of your expertise to get them asking questions and involved with your brand
- Cover emerging relevant topics in your industry on your social and blog sites (like this for example) to let your audience know that you’re on top of trends and help to build your brand credibility
Will this impact the future of social media?
As we’ve seen before, with the Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces rivalry, social media platforms are very quick to go one step further than their competitors. It’s likely that if we see a positive response from Instagram users, other platforms will soon follow with moving away from a vanity metric focused model- but then again what would Twitter be without re-tweets? We’re definitely looking forward to seeing how this plays out and how brands begin to respond to, arguably, one of the main features of the platform being removed.
We personally believe that it’s going to be a positive movement and it will force brands to think outside the box and stop creating content just to generate high like counts that don’t add any value for their audience. The competitive landscape is increasing and brands are having to do more to stand out. If your social media strategy is focused on getting followers and increasing likes, you could be missing out on adding the value that your customers are looking for.
If you are wanting any advice for your social media marketing strategy moving forward, don’t hesitate to get in touch, our team is always happy to help.