Back in April 2019, Instagram released a statement that their platform would be undergoing another change; the removal of ‘like’ visibility to users.
The initial test began in Canada, where random accounts were selected to have their like count hidden from the newsfeed. To clear this up, users can still see the likes they receive on their content, but their followers will not.
The removal of likes was in response to the recent notion that Instagram was becoming an unhealthy platform for users, damaging their mental health and putting unnecessary pressure to compete with others.
Fast forward to November 2019, and the test has gone live for some U.S. accounts as well.
Interestingly, some business owners are not in favor of this test because they gauge their social strategy success by the number of likes they receive on the platform.
Even though business owners can still see the likes they get on their posts in the backend, moving forward, the removal of likes to the public will inevitably have an impact on the way people interact on the app.
Since October 2010, users have been conditioned to endlessly scroll and only stop to double-tap on posts they enjoyed. They were able to see who of their friends liked the same posts and were able to see the number of likes people got every day. The entire design of Instagram was to make it easy for users to ‘like’ photos – it’s what people have been used to for nearly a decade.
Removing the visibility of likes from the public could have users not ‘like’ posts because their peers will no longer see it (and vice-versa) because they no longer find it valuable.
So moving forward, what metrics should businesses focus on, given that their audience may engage with the platform differently?
Three words: comments, stories, and saves.
REAL PEOPLE LEAVING REAL COMMENTS
Sometimes businesses forget that social media was designed for people to be social on media platforms. It’s not a place to sell.
And being social means engaging with others and leaving comments on posts to have a conversation. Someone took time out of their day to type a response versus just tapping their phone and scrolling on. There’s value in that!
If your comment section is empty, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate whether or not what your business is sharing is thought evoking, educational or entertaining. When a post is either of these, it’s guaranteed to get a response.
BEHIND THE SCENE STORIES
We’ve been so accustomed to crafting the perfect Instagram news feed, but in 2019, people want to know the person (or team) behind a business. And that’s where Instagram Stories come into play.
Stories are a perfect place for businesses to show the behind-the-scenes to their everyday workflow, insight on products or services that are available, and provide some transparency between the business and the consumer.
It’s a feature that allows businesses to easily poll their audience, ask them questions, host IG lives – the possibilities are endless. And it opens up the door for consumers to engage with a business in an authentic and entertaining way, providing valuable insight as to what consumers want and how they respond to certain marketing techniques.
SAVIN’ IT FOR LATER
When’s the last time you dove into your Instagram analytics to see how many accounts actually saved your post to their profile so they could reference it later?
Saves are often an overlooked metric but moving forward, they will be more important than ever.
When someone saves a post, it means it struck a chord with them. They resonated with a post and wanted to save it away so they could revisit it easily in the future. The point? You’re delivering what your audience really wants to see!
This metric alone can help businesses identify what content is resonating with its audience the most and can guide social media strategy moving forward. And that’s much more valuable than a simple “double-tap” on a post.