Unless you haven’t upgraded mobile phones since the Nokia era, you might well be aware that Instagram recently removed ‘likes’ from the omnipotent social media platform.
On the surface, this was a bold move.
It’s reasonable to assume the ‘like’ count was the drug that kept most users hooked, because it provided an instant metric of their popularity. According to many mental health experts, this wasn’t necessarily a good thing as people’s self-esteem began to ebb and flow with the overall trend of their ‘likes’.
So, when Instagram removed the feature a few weeks ago, it received some praise for recognising the mental health impact and acting to address it.
But from more cynical quarters, it received suspicion. According to commentators less enamoured with Instagram’s commitment to social crusading, the ‘likes’ feature had been removed primarily to encourage more small businesses to advertise.
In other words, the change was all about boosting ad revenue.
About making more money.
If you’re a small business just starting out, Instagram can be a very intimidating place. With a big head-start, your competitors have built a following that seems insurmountable. As a result, their posts attract astronomical ‘like’ counts that appear out of reach. And this makes you feel a bit like the insecure teenager who can’t keep up with his or her peers on the platform. You feel like a failure, that no matter how good your product or service is in real life, it’s worth is cheapened by the low ‘like’ count.
By abolishing the ‘likes’, Instagram has effectively levelled the playing field for small business. In the blink of an eye, you feel as though you’re back in the game. That you can actually get a competitive edge.
However, hidden likes means less engagement, and less engagement means less visibility for your account. So what then becomes the best way to get your business recognised on the platform?
Forking out for paid ads. Or, as Instagram likes to term it, promoted posts.
We recently saw how Facebook’s revised algorithm for business accounts was introduced to force them to advertise. Facebook and Instagram belong in the same stable. Make of that what you will.
Notwithstanding Instagram’s intentions, the platform remains an indispensable marketing tool for modern business. While influencers might be affected by the loss of ‘like’ counts, it still offers a compelling and efficient way to tell your business’s story. Aside from paying to promote your posts, there are a range of strategies businesses – both new and existing – can leverage to make the most out of it. Brilliant Logic would love to help your business navigate this constantly changing landscape.