Instagram might start hiding likes – what does this mean for your business?
Businesses: rejoice. The days of fretting about how many likes your Instagram pictures get, how many likes your competitors get and, worse, what people will think about how many likes your posts get are (hopefully!) numbered.
In April, it was announced that Instagram had begun trialling hidden likes. This meant that, when people shared posts, only they could see how many likes they got – to everyone else, the like count was unknown.
For people with personal Instagram accounts, this change could hugely improve a lot of the issues of comparison and insecurity fuelled by the number of likes on each post. But what does it mean for businesses?
Companies with super high levels of engagement on Instagram are unlikely to welcome hidden likes. Currently, when posts get loads of likes, it can influence more people who come across them to take notice.
If pictures receive thousands (or, in the case of one oddly famous egg, 50+ million) likes Instagram users are likely to respond more favourably and share the love.
For the majority of businesses, though, hidden likes are likely to help. A lot.
Instagram can feel so heavily like a numbers game. When you post pictures, it’s hard not to think first and foremost about whether people will like it, rather than whether it truly represents your brand and ethos.
If content, rather than like counts, was truly the focus of Instagram accounts, there could be such a potential to curate visually brilliant, unique and unconventional pages – without the worry of whether your posts are the ‘type’ to generally attract likes.
With the competitive nature of likes, there are distinct trends in images on Instagram, where influencers take, well, influence from other posts which receive high levels of engagement. Take the example of when a couple went viral for the hand-holding photos from their travels: suddenly similar images were popping up everywhere. The theme even made its way to Jet2Holidays’ TV adverts.
Accounts often attempt to replicate successful posts from elsewhere in the hopes of achieving the same kinds of like counts, which makes original, stand-out Instagram content hard to come by.
It’s not necessarily going to be all good, of course. Without likes, there’s the chance that the number of comments becomes the new major tool of comparison on Instagram. Suddenly you may find yourself thinking, ‘what posts will generate the most comments?’
It’s worth thinking about how your business’s Instagram would look if you were free from like counts. If you’re already posting the content that you want, without focusing on likes, then you’re doing something right.
However, if you, like (we expect) countless others, would like to be doing things differently on Instagram, this news could be the push you need to start creating an account that’s truly representative of your business.
It hasn’t yet been confirmed whether the hidden likes will be introduced across all of Instagram, but we hope it does – and soon.
If more businesses started posting images that really reflected them, without worrying about the number of likes they received, there could be a massive change in the way that brands present themselves to audiences online.