Instagram Growing Rapidly

With over 1 billion active users, Instagram remains one of the most popular media platforms to exist as of 2019. Eighty percent of users follow at least one business account on Instagram. These stats are striking, and help us understand why there has been such an uproar with Instagram’s latest update to remove likes. As a small business with many small business clients, we wanted to get to the bottom of this digital upheaval and reveal what it actually means as a marketer in addition to its impact on our small business clients.

What does “No Likes” Mean?

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, rattled the public when he shared that Instagram will be implementing a new feature that will hide “likes” on posts from the public eye. Mosseri shared that this feature has been tested in various countries so far and will be executed in the US soon. Logistically, this feature simply hides the quantitative number of likes your individual post has received from your followers. Instead they are able to click on the list of likes beneath the photo and scroll through the list of users that favorite your image, but are not granted access to the number. As an account owner/admin, you still have access to the number of likes on your own posts.

The Motive

It’s easy to understand why Instagram thought these changes were necessary. The negative impacts these public likes have on our media centered society, and its contribution to the decline of mental health, is enough of a reason on its own to remove the feature from the social platform. The change will deter the focus from something superficial (the number of likes) to more substantial quality of the content. This is great news for small businesses, because larger companies with money to throw at social can no longer game the system by buying likes and inflating thereby inflating their influence on the platform.

Increasing Authenticity on Instagram

This new feature will instead allow Instagram to identify content producers who establish genuine relationships with their clients, contributing to an increased authenticity on Instagram. The number one challenge of a small business is avoiding being overshadowed or beat out by large robust companies that focus on systematic metrics to heighten their popularity. Now small businesses can continue focusing on creating quality content for audiences to engage with, without the concept of likes guiding the creation of content.

Instagram Influencers

From the first announcement of this new measure, Instagram influencers were worried. Singer Nicki Minaj threatened to leave the platform if the feature was implemented, and many other influencers have lashed out at Instagram as well.

It’s no surprise that influencers on the platform depend on Instagram as a way to curate revenue from self-made brands or unique content. This revenue often comes from making brand deals based on level of influence or popularity, which is measured by likes. Some influencers and celebrity ambassadors like Minaj, fear that the lack of these likes will make it impossible to quantify their reach, causing brands to rethink how they qualify an influencer and justify their paid posts.

“No Likes” + Small Businesses

Small businesses promote positive, genuine and personal relationships with their clients and their clients’ needs. They don’t grow according to a metric, but rather by opinion, fact-based testimonials and real consumer content. Removing the likes feature on Instagram shifts a user’s focus to what really matters: true engagement. It takes a second to double tap a picture, but it takes much more effort to leave a comment.

Impact on KSA + Clients

As marketers, we honestly aren’t too concerned about this change. If anything, we celebrate it. The only businesses it will harm are those whose social accounts are built upon artificial relationships and simulated content. That simply is not the KSA way. We defy both those standards and help our clients build meaningful relationships with all stakeholders in their business and in their community. Any negativity surrounding this change comes from those who fear the loss of their influence.