By now you have heard the news and maybe even seen Instagram likes start to disappear. I have been receiving a lot of questions along the lines of “what does this mean?” “are brands still going to work with influencers?” “will my account still be relevant?” and the list goes on. Today I wanted to share some of my thoughts on getting rid of likes and some of the tactics you can use to make the most of this amazing free platform.
Instagram has become an all-consuming platform for businesses and in personal lives too. On average, a user is on Instagram for 53 minutes a day, so if we can make these 53 minutes a day more about connection and lifting each other, I am all for it. Instagram has stated that the goal of removing likes is to take away unhealthy pressure and competition that spurs from this platform. I wrote a post about losing followers this year, and how it impacted my business and my own relationship with the platform in a positive way. Honestly, saying goodbye to likes has me reassessing how I was valuing my content only by what others could see. There are SO many other metrics to measure your content by including reach, saves, shares, etc. It makes me extremely excited to take a step back from just creating likeable content to creating content that all of you want to share with friends and save to remember later.
That said, with Instagram being part of my job, I also have a lot of reservations and concerns (just like everyone else) about this platform changing yet again. I’m considering how I would like to use the platform and the type of content that I am interested in sharing with all of you. I am planning to intentionally, yet quite drastically disrupt my feed over the next few weeks to become a place that is more about content that will be helpful, inspirational, and forging a community.
How Will This Affect My Account?
This is the question everyone is asking and luckily there is some information out there about this. There are thousands of articles about this right now if you are looking for a deep dive, but I wanted to break it up into bite-size things to know.
Will people still like photos?
Instagram has rolled out removing likes in seven different countries and we have seen around a 20% decline in engagement in these countries across the board. BUT remember if engagement is going down for everyone this shouldn’t affect how your posts are ranked in the algorithm. Think of it as everyone just being on an even playing field.
Will brands still work with influencers?
Absolutely! Just because brands cannot see your likes by scrolling through your feed does not mean they will stop working with influencers. The majority of brands already ask for more metrics than just scrolling through and seeing your like count. If you are a brand or influencer here are the metrics I recommend being ready to supply/ask for.
- Average reach on posts
- Average shares on posts
- Conversion rate
The bottom line is that the blogger/influencer marketing sphere is only growing and you can expect to see that continue in the coming weeks, months, years, etc.
What can I do to stay relevant on Instagram?
This is perhaps the first and most important question people should be asking. Removing likes is Instagram’s way of decreasing these vanity metrics. The metric that should matter to you and your community is “is this adding value to my life?” If you look at your content and feel that the answer is no then it’s time to make some changes. Let me also note that “adding value” doesn’t mean you need to share something life-changing every day. It means you are sharing something that either solves a problem (ie. Christmas Shopping Guides), inspires (ie. quotes), or educates (ie. travel guide). Your content doesn’t need to rock someone’s world and turn it upside down, it just needs to add the value they are looking for. So if you have gotten stuck in the ways of just posting to beat the algorithm I encourage you to welcome this change. Take this time to get back to the core of what your community was built on and then produce content for them.
Okay, Okay…BUT What Content Should I Create?
First things first, the only way to truly know what content to create is by testing it out! Not all of these things will resonate with your audience, but I wanted to give you a few ideas to start out with.
- Create content that people want to share with friends. The easiest and best way to do this is through quotes or memes! Ever found a quote that really resonated with you but only posted on stories because you were scared it wouldn’t get enough likes and ding you in the algorithm. Well, step away from this fear. The most frequently shared(on stories, and in DMs) items on Instagram are quotes and memes. Sidenote: if you are reposting content always ask and always credit before sharing.
- Put important information in your posts. Another really important feature in the Instagram Algorithm world are saves. Saves mean someone saw your content and hit the save button so they could revisit it. There are two main reasons people save things. The first being as a mood/inspiration board like people do on Pinterest (I find when it’s this type of content people don’t often revisit it). The second is if there is something you have shared that they don’t want to forget, like tips on the new algorithm change, or a list of places to go to in San Diego, or a new product to try at Trader Joes. Create content that people want/need to go back to to get relevant information.
- Create content that fosters a conversation. If engagement is still important to you then you have to engage right back! Write out thoughtful captions that people want to talk to you about. Examples of this might be asking for book recommendations, or talking about something vulnerable/personal, or even sharing your favorite holiday traditions. The bottom line here is to TALK to people.
With that, I am here to say goodbye to likes on Instagram, and maybe even Facebook too.