I was recently on TRT World “Round table” and discussed the be or not to be of likes on Instagram.
If you have seen the episode, you know I’m all for removing them. And I want to tell you exactly why Instagram removing likes is a really good thing.;
1. It will benefit creativity.
At the moment too many people post photos on Instagram, not because they like that particular shot. But because they think other people might like it. We are so worried to have a drop in engagement that we don’t dare to try anything new or take any risks. Instead, we reduce ourselves to a particular formula – “A specific filter, 2-3 different shots done over and over again and captions that are funny enough to get a <3”.
If we remove the likes, hopefully, creators will dare to actually think outside the box and become creative again.
2. It’s great for mental health.
Both for influencers and followers. Not only will it make the “like chasers” chill out a bit and stop beating themselves up when a post doesn’t “do well”. It will also stop people worry about what other creators and companies might think if they don’t have the like engagement they are “meant to have”. It will remove a bit of the popularity contest online. And this will benefit everyone.
Instagram is meant to be fun, creating is meant to be exciting. Not depressing and based on what other people think.
3. It will make engagement pods a lot less prominent.
I even heard about a service the other day that offers a plug-in that will like the photos on your engagement pod for you. *sigh* Really? Right now a lot of people feel like they have to be in like-groups to keep their engagement up because their organic reach isn’t what it used to be. Removing likes will take away the urgency and need for these things. Fine, you can still be in follow/comment/save groups. But with the likes hidden, I have a feeling the popularity of pods will go down since it won’t be a “quick fix” anymore.
Imagine if all the engagement on Instagram actually was organic. I think we would be surprised at what we would see.
4. Engagement is so much more than likes.
I have spent a bit of time at Instagram’s offices and I was with them at Soho Farmhouse for a creator’s day a while ago. There they explained that the algorithm looks at so much more than likes and comments. It counts how long someone stops at your photo, if they swipe in a carousel, how many seconds of a clip they watch. If they go to your profile, if they save the photo and much more. Comments and likes are only the tip of the iceberg.
That’s why I these days never really worry if I put up a post that doesn’t get loads of likes.
5. It will make us post more.
I have a feeling that this is one of the main reasons why Instagram might want to remove the likes. We have stopped posting as much out of fear of diluting our likes, annoying our followers and have a photo with bad engagement. If no one can see the likes more than us, hopefully, this won’t matter as much and we might dare to put up more photos. The trend is to post less and less, something that removing likes might change.
6. Liking is fickle.
Something a lot of people fail to see is that likes are not a sure thing. You can have an amazing following and get low like numbers and it might be nothing wrong with the content. Things like the age of your followers play in. People over 30 like less, they use Instagram more as tv. And this is arguably the most affluent followers you have. Think about that for a second!
Also where your followers are from makes a huge difference. Certain cultures are “warmer” than others. In some countries, it’s “uncool” to like too many photos. If your following is mainly Scandinavian for example, you will have fewer likes than if they are based in the states. It’s cultural.
All of this will go with Instagram removing likes.
7. It will be a lot easier to show true engagement.
Instagram got great features on the business and creator profiles. We can see a lot about our followers and the way they behave. This will still stay the same. So instead of companies only judging influencers on the like number and amount of followers, they will ask you to screenshot your stats. Imagine how much better information this will be to have. It will clean up social media marketing to an extent.
What do you guys think? Will removing likes be a good thing or do you see any problems and negatives with it?