Instagram Update: Removing the ‘Like’ count

Over the previous weeks, the popular image-based social media site has been rolling out a trial of a ‘game-changing’ update to the app. For as long as the app has been around, success on the platform has been quantified by likes and followers. Now, Instagram has been trialling how users and influencers like the app when it no longer displays the number of likes that each post has received. The move has been met with mixed feelings and has produced some interesting conversations surrounding the pressures of social media.

What are the current strategies of successful Instagram influencers?

This change could solicit a complete overhaul of how brands and influencers carry out business on Instagram. Content creators know to post their images during the heaviest traffic times. For example, images posted on a Sunday evening will tend to gain a larger interaction as there are more users on the app. Photographs are well-produced, crisp and considered as part of the overall feed aesthetic before being posted to the profile.

What is the problem with these strategies?

These heavily produced images have been the subject of much criticism over the years. The well presented, produced images have been linked with criticism that social media platforms have a negative impact on the mental health of the younger generations, feeding low self-esteem and anxiety.

How will the update affect brands and influencers?

The general consensus is that these updates will change the app for the better. Popular Instagram Influencers have offered their opinions on the matter, which have been generally positive and will allow them to place more focus on building relationships with their following.

The change could also be seen as a way for influencers to take a step back from the statistics and take some of the pressure away from gaining huge amounts of likes and allow them to place more emphasis on creating more organic content.

How do digital marketers see the change?

The change has been met with negative responses from digital marketers. Companies are concerned that the shift away from tracking the number of likes on a post will force brands and businesses to use the less reliable metric; followers. Followers and post likes are reliant on one another to supply brands with a comprehensive overview of how their page is performing. By removing one metric, the other, unfortunately, becomes less reliable.

Conclusion

This potentially permanent change for Instagram has champions on both sides. It has been seen as a positive and negative change. It has highlighted the concerns that different users have for the app, and presented potential midground that could help everyone. Instagram’s vision for the app was always for users to show what they are doing at the moment, and this update could be a reaction to the more scripted and staged content being produced by influencers and brands. The change could serve as a way to take Instagram back to its roots as a place to share organic moments in your life.

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