Your Instagram Like Count Might be Removed. Now What?
Recently, I learned that Instagram is experimenting with removing the like count feature in seven countries. If you search for information about this change, you will find articles with titles containing phrases like ‘remove the pressure,’ ‘turning point,’ and ‘shift tactics.’ Something as small as removing a like count appears to move people to question big strategies. Wasn’t the like count supposed to be a vanity metric? In this blog post, I examine what the Instagram like count removal could mean for entrepreneurs and influencers.
Remove pressure by removing the Instagram like count
A month ago, the BBC reported that Instagram is hiding the number of likes on posts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy, and Brazil. In the trial, users will see a user name ‘and others’ below posts. You can still view the number of likes your own posts receive, though.
According to the BBC, Mia Garlick, who is the director of policy at Facebook Australia and New Zealand, stated that Instagram hopes this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive “so you can focus on sharing the things you love.” Instagram aims to make users feel less judged. Also, it wants to “see whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story.”
Instagram like count changes: what do they mean for business accounts?
Ashley Carman of The Verge asked users what they think of the change so far. For businesses, the change appears not to have made much of a difference. Business accounts still receive highly detailed metrics, even on how many people unfollowed an account on a specific day. Moreover, business accounts can still see and track the number of likes on their own content.
Carman came across a user with a business account on Instagram: Brenda Cardenas. Cardenas says these metrics make her more aware of her content, much more than likes ever did. When Cardenas is looking at her analytics, she focuses more on unfollows and her overall account than on individual post. That might be an improvement?
Instagram like count changes: what do they mean for influencers?
Kaitlyn Tiffany says that there are concerns for the income of influencers on Instagram. For instance, Elle pointed out that brands care much more about hiring influencers with high engagement rates on their posts than they do about follower count. Marketing blogger Charles Tumotto Jackson argued that influencers should simply rely more on Instagram Stories with its swipe-up feature. This change does make it harder to become a new influencer, as the swipe-up feature is only available to accounts with over 10,000 followers. So, if you are a micro-influencer, you might have a problem.
Brian Fanzo says it is all about trust: “Instagram is forcing people to decide who they trust and what content they truly care about. If you are shown which of your friends like a piece of content as opposed to how many people like it, you have to make a choice as to how much that content (or that person) resonates with you.” As a result, Fanzo does not see a problem for micro-influencers as they have loyal and trustworthy followers. Signs of trust and connection can be found in story replies, sales, anonymous Q&As, and polls.
Update 10/11/2019: Brian Fanzo’s source has been removed from the internet
Social media translations
As I am an LGBT+ micro-influencer not from one of the countries in the trial, I look at this change with suspicion. I know it is a vanity metric but organizations who hire me do look at the likes and consider them in their decision whether to hire me. Their business practices will have to take this change into account as well.
Besides being a micro-influencer, I am a professional translator. A while back, I wrote a blog post about social media translations as social media are such a massive part of marketing our businesses and an easy tool to reach an international audience.
If you are working on an international market, you must decide whether you are going to stay in your native language or adopt a multilingual approach. If you are going to take a multilingual approach, please contact me to talk about your translation project. My email address is email@example.com. For instance, if you need the caption of your Instagram posts or the landing page behind the swipe-up in more than one language, I can help you!