I had a post almost ready to go tonight about Instagram hiding likes and the reasons I welcomed the idea. The blog was actually titled ‘Why I Sometimes Wish Social Media Didn’t Exist’ because the hiding of likes got me thinking of all the other reasons I don’t like social media. However, I’m going to save that one for Friday because I’ve just come across a tweet which has made me change course.
The tweet claimed that the hiding of likes is going to ‘make it impossible to measure social media and influencer campaigns,’ which I kind of disagreed with. I can think of a few different problems that this will have for influencer marketers but I can also think of a few reasons why this will most likely improve influencer marketing as a whole.
Sorry, before I jump ahead of myself, if you haven’t already heard, Instagram have announced that they are going to trial hiding likes from people’s profiles. You will be able to see how many likes you are receiving, but no one else will be able to. The reason for this is because Instagram think people are becoming more consumed by the number of likes they are receiving than they are about the images that they are actually sharing.
I think it’s a great idea and would personally find myself posting a lot more content without thinking ‘I don’t think this will get many likes so I’m not going to post it.’ Plus it may also do away with people only posting at optimal times (that’s Sunday morning and Wednesday evening if you didn’t know). I wrote a blog post about hiding likes and follower numbers a few months ago when Kanye West was giving off about it, which you can find here.
But back to influencer marketers. Will the hiding of likes make it harder to measure campaigns? Will it make it harder to decide which influencers to work with? And will influencers start doctoring how many likes they are receiving? We’re all going to find out soon enough it seems.
I think this is going to be heavily focused on the trust and relationship between you, the marketer and the influencer in question. Do you trust that they will be truthful with their information? Will they allow transparency of their figures (views/likes/shares)?
I can see that it will be more of a hassle for the influencer marketer as they will have to chase each influencer for figures at certain points of the campaign, and can no longer just view the post for themselves and have the information right in front of them. Perhaps influencer marketers might have to start paying influencers later, once the information has been provided – or just put their trust in the influencer that they will provide the metrics.
However, does the number of likes alone measure the success of a campaign? What about views, comments and clicks? Views/reach isn’t made public and neither are the number of clicks through to a link. If these can be invisible and still be measured, why too can’t the number of likes?
Influencer marketers kicking up a stink about the hiding of likes should think about how they measure ROI on their campaigns. What’s more important: the number of people that double-tapped on an image or the number of people that followed through and made a purchase? How a campaign is measured is completely down to the objectives of that campaign, which may not be likes-focused.
Likes don’t equal self-worth and they don’t solely equal campaign success, either.
Content is king
We all know influencers can buy likes and comments. I’ve just written 10,000 words on the topic, so I can assure you that they are able to. Hiding likes will deter influencers or any social media user from buying likes and comments. Influencer fraud may see a decline this year, people!
Hopefully from the hiding of likes, influencer marketers will place more emphasis on the content that these influencers are creating and choose them for campaigns because of their talents and not because of how popular they are. Wouldn’t you rather work with an influencer that can provide amazing content for your brand rather than someone that can provide 50,000 likes and average content?
However, will the hiding of likes put more emphasis on the follower number? Since the influencer marketers will only have this number to go on, we could see a rise in the number of people purchasing fake followers. Hopefully not, but this could be likely.
Remember, it’s just rented space
Instagram is a free platform. No one owns their space on the app. Instagram could shut the whole thing down tomorrow and want to start afresh. We’ve recently seen an increase in problems with the app, with it shutting down for days at a time and everyone taking to Twitter asking ‘Is anyone else’s Instagram down or just me?’. I think soon enough Zuckerberg’s going to realise just how many bots are on the app and see that the only way to get rid of the problem is to shut down and start again.
Personally, I think it’s only a matter of time before Instagram is old news. Yes, it’s improving with purchasing within the app, adverts, stories, IGTV and everything else that it’s rolling out but let’s not forget the reason Instagram started. It was created so that we could share pictures with our friends and family and keep up with celebrities. Now it’s a shopping site, a TV channel and somewhere we end up feeling worse about ourselves.
Maybe the warning signs should have sounded when Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigned after Zuckerberg took over (the founders and creators of the app). Maybe they got out before the site got too big too quick and imploded.
As influencer marketers, we need to be mindful that there are other platforms out there and spaces like blogs and YouTube which may be better suited and easier to measure. It seems like most social platforms have their life cycle before something else comes along. Think about MySpace, Bebo and Vine – now, all social platforms of the past.
It’s only a matter of time before something new and more exciting comes along and takes over. So maybe we shouldn’t put our life and soul into worrying about Instagram and likes and numbers that don’t really mean anything.
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