You know that Instagram account you follow even though it makes you feel terrible about your own life? I’ve got one too.
It’s no secret that the “likes” ecosystem can be damaging to people’s mental health. Everyone from grade school children to retirees has experienced FOMO at the hands of an Instagram feed.
There has been a lot of press this year about the social and business impact of hiding like counts. Now that Instagram has officially begun testing out hiding like counts in the U.S., what does this mean for users? If Instagram decides to permanently hide like counts for all global users, will it set off a chain reaction? What happens if like counts everywhere just go poof? It’s hard not to speculate.
If that sounds like the kind of world you want to live in then I’ve got great news. There are already folks out there cutting down the likes ecosystem like it’s an overgrown weed. From an open source social media network that hides likes by default to a browser extension that will hide all vanity metrics everywhere, the revolution is well underway.
If you manage any marketing, removing like counts means letting go of vanity metrics. Metrics such as engagement and impressions have always been more important for marketers because theses offer a more realistic picture of how your brand is doing online.
Instagram’s hope is that removing like counts will remove some of the more insidious aspects of social proof (a.k.a. when people like something just because other people liked it) from the equation. This creates an opportunity for users, influencers, and businesses to create more authentic and creative content that focuses on engaging with their audiences.
The loss of like counts could spell major change for which influencers brands choose to partner with moving forward. This could give micro influencers, who often have smaller like counts and more niche audiences, a better seat at the table.
Creating high-quality, engaging content will be key to building your online presence moving forward. If some businesses and influencers find their metrics taking a hit after the removal of like counts, they need to take a hard look at their content.
Social media can be an exhausting place, but I’m optimistic about the changes hiding like counts could bring for everyone.