Haven’t you heard? Instagram is experimenting with hiding the Likes of posts. Depending on who you listen to, it either means the sky is falling, all “influencers” will suddenly explode, or social media is either worthless or even better. How do you see through the fog of such wildly different reactions? Taking a deep breath and remembering what was important in the first place.
And so, our top five ways to survive the (probably) coming Instagram Likepocalypse:
The change may seem like an apocalypse, but it should actually be a relief for brands; no longer do we have to fear that we’re being judged based on the number of Likes for a post; it WILL take education internally though, especially for those where Likes were easy ways to (mis)diagnose brand health
- Let’s start with “influencers” – it’s okay they’re disrupted. it doesn’t bother us at all that this could truly rock the Influencer-Industrial-Complex; in fact, we think that it could benefit brands quite a lot in the long run
- Why it could benefit brands… It emphasizes the public engagement now to followers, which we have always pointed out was a far better indicator of loyalty, both to your fans and in assessing the quality of influencers
- Your brand KPI’s will survive, too. We should note that brands can still see their own Likes – the execution of this change is not being able to see the Likes on another’s post. (The exact format of what we will see or not see is still being tested – it could be you only see if friends Like, or that it’s truncated to say, “hundreds” or “thousands” or simply not there.) Furthermore, we would advise brands to ask partners / influencers to share their numbers too so you have a better view.
- But seriously, what about the influencers? This is why we have always supported finding influencers (as opposed to being pitched) that were high in quality for various segments, with substantial, provable engagement as seen in the behavior of those who follow them; this can mean an emphasis on influencers in various geographies, on particular message boards / groups, representative of various demographies, and significant in various interests (these are far less expensive influencers to engage with as well and develop into far longer, more fruitful relationships)
- Let them eat (Firefly Festival) cake! The influencers for whom it truly decimates are the ones who lived and died based on handing out contracts promising Likes that were potentially from dubious sources (like bots and fake accounts) to begin with; these were large, expensive influencers who we very rarely recommended.
For all our clients we have discovered through research or vetted influencers, at times taking what another agency or vendor had handed them and truly analyzing for quality – not just supposed Likes. This is what we’ve been doing for years now, and now with Instagram’s changes it will become what is required to ensure success with influencers. But the bottom line: the change they are testing is probably a good thing.