WhenInstagram started, it was meant to be a creative, community-based social platform. It was a way to share your images, micro-blog in the captions, and find your tribe with hashtags. In the last couple of years, we’ve seen the dark side of Instagram emerge. Popularity measured through likes and follows overtook the desire to post authentic content. Self-esteem and self-worth for many users hung in limbo as they waited for the likes to roll in. The mental health of these users declined as they continued to compare themselves to others. Instagram is now trying to change that.
In Canada, Instagram is running a “hidden likes” test. If you post an image, you’ll be able to see how many users “like” your post. However, users cannot see how many likes your post is getting. This removes our ability to compare our posts to others based on likes.
Why is Instagram doing this? What does it mean for influencers, brand ambassadors, and social media companies? It means we need to take a more human approach to the digital space. The constant judgement and comparison on social platforms are causing mental health problems for users, most notably for teenagers. With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, Instagram’s new test couldn’t have come at a better time.
Removing the visibility of likes from posts encourages users to stop deriving self-worth from their social media accounts. It’s crucial that younger, more impressionable users don’t depend on Instagram for their self-esteem. Low self-esteem can lead to anxiety, depression, and more severe mental illnesses. We applaud Instagram for realizing how their features were contributing to the decline in mental health among their younger users.
In terms of businesses and social media companies, we need to shift the metrics we focus on. Likes seemed a critical metric, but they were never the most ideal form of engagement. Comments and direct messages are more valuable. At SocialEyes Communications, we believe in growing your genuine engagement rate.That means creating content that your target customers find true value in. Some posts were known to get more likes, but now it’s time to focus on posts that boost other types of engagement. This is a positive and exciting change for businesses.
Forget comparing your numbers to your competitors. Improve the quality and authenticity of your content to boost engagement, and thus, conversions. What are some ways you can do this? Engage with your followers’ accounts and comment on their posts. Show the love you want to receive. Ask relevant and genuine questions as your CTAs. Interact with the users who answer in your comments. Don’t respond by simply liking their comment; engage and start a conversation. Show the human side of your brand in this digital space.
If you need some help updating your Instagram strategy with the new hidden likes feature, contact us today!