Instagram has been a hub for sharing photos and videos since 2010, but how will their plan to hide likes affect the social platform?

In an attempt to make the social platform less toxic for its users, Instagram will be hiding the once-loved but now-hated likes. Instagram would like to focus on how appealing the content is versus how popular the content is. Many believe that this change will be great for users’ mental health – I would have to agree. I once found myself becoming so obsessed with the number of likes my posts would receive that it was negatively impacting my mental well being.

Because of this, I chose to take a break from social media. I highly recommend this social media “detox” to anyone else getting caught up in the numbers. Despite this update being great for overall mental health, what will it do for businesses and the oh-so-famous “influencers” we see?

Say goodbye to likes and say goodbye to revenue.

Likes won’t completely disappear, as users can still “heart” posts and see their own metrics. Users just won’t be able to see the number of likes on posts shared by others. This seems like a rather minor update but with Instagram being more than an image-sharing platform, this update will change the way Instagram is used as a marketing tool.

Brands, influencers, and small businesses all use the platform as a marketing tool. Marketers will be affected by this new change in two key ways: identifying influential content producers and measuring effectiveness.

Some businesses and influencers have noted that there’s a correlation between the amount of “likes” they receive and how many sales they make. These same groups of people have come to rely on the social platform as a source of revenue.

While hiding the number of likes might help with users’ mental health, critics have suggested that hiding the number of likes will negatively impact content creators and companies. Many small businesses and influencers rely on being discovered on users’ feeds or on the Explore page – considering that the platform’s algorithm operates based on what and whom a user “likes.”

Hiding the number of likes could also make it more difficult for businesses to vet influencers whom they use for promotional or sponsored content. For example, accounts with a large following but low engagement rates might seem less valuable to a company. On the other hand, those with a small following but high engagement rates will seem more valuable. While hiding likes will help today’s youth, this new feature will only hurt those that rely on Instagram for business.

What does this mean for Roundpeg?

We’ve already seen the change to our own account, but we’re not too worried. We actively use Instagram but that doesn’t mean we’re making any sales with it. If we used Instagram as a source of revenue, we’d probably be freaking out a bit more than we are.

For small businesses that rely on Instagram as a source of revenue, it’s important to check out other social media platforms in 2020. Join us as a member of the Digital Toolbox community in December for the upcoming social media webinar series. In these sessions, you’ll learn the latest trends, tips, and tricks as well as simple best practices you can use right away!

Social Media Webinar Series