Instagram remove the ‘Like Numbers’ display. Great!

Is the ‘Likes Number’ display on borrowed time?  I certainly hope so….

Its been a digital marketing story for the past few weeks but you’ll be forgiven if you weren’t aware.  Instagram is testing the removal of the ‘Number of Likes’ display from public view.  Doing so in a move to help those who crave social approval from hitting a low when expectations of a post fall short.  You see for some (not everyone) these likes are perhaps a much bigger deal than for the rest of us.   Wondering what on earth is suddenly wrong and taking it personally when they don’t hit the benchmark, is a real life problem as they press refresh on their app every minute to see just how viral they’re going….is it 100,000 viral yet?  Why not?    Let’s face it – we all feel great when we get it, but less so when we don’t.   Whatever that number might be.    It’s far too much of a numbers game and always has been, it’s all we’ve known – but it’s high time we shifted approach and reminded ourselves just what is the real measure of success?   Is it a sale or phone call, email or someone walking through your door?  For me – it’s all of those things along with Web traffic driven to a website.   In fact for the services I provide that is my number one priority these days, and the first single step towards retargeting.   But I’ll save that story for another time.

So what if the great Social Media popularity contest moves a tiny bit further away?   That virtual world that for some feels all too real, where their mediocre notoriety suddenly gets turned on it’s head as they become the king of the moment.  Genius by smartphone photography, or boomerang video, or filter-tastic magic hash-tagging…  whatever you want to call it.  Insta is testing the removal of such public social approval for the benefit of our mental health,   Great!  A positive move that will play a part I’m sure in helping those who are hooked on Likes and perhaps a little vulnerable.    But for business it also brings us another step closer to that seismic shift of change.  The second after the much publicised ‘Facebook Zero (where organic reach is being pulled back to an all time low) meaning we should ‘Pay to Play’ leads me to the core of how I go about using social media today.

Lead by creative and think about the storytelling creative and not some contrived idea to try and win likes, comments and shares.  Something I see every single day, from ‘Lost object pictured next to a companies branding requesting to help get it back to its owner… please share now!!! or maybe the charity item that will be renamed.  In the hope of  50,000 comments on their facebook page?  I mean it’ll be fun right? and won’t damage our brand at all will it?   It’s not like it makes us desperate after all!?   What in 2019, where we now have a generation of adults who have had Social Media & Facebook in their lives from the moment they were born – No not desperate (much).   These people (let’s call them the hip youngster mob) are far more savvy than most when it comes to Social Media.   What I’m saying is that tolerance levels have jumped up as we all understand what everyones ‘Playing at’ and looking ‘daft and fun’ is not necessarily the best way of portraying yourself as being ‘Human’ if you are a corporate business.  Do they care?  (how many of those ‘Meet the Team’ posts actually do anything?  – and yes – I’ve posted them before too).   How about instead the benefits of the business and how easy you are to work with, attached to a retargeting campaign that features a testimonial video?  That is how Social Media works best today for the vast majority of business (whether they realise that or not).

Now I’ll say this now as a disclaimer, If you are one of the those businesses that only uses Social Media channels to increase brand awareness, then perhaps you can continue as you always have.   I.e. The objective is only to raise your brand awareness at all costs regardless of the content – if that’s working for you – continue and ignore the public hiding of likes on Instagram and do as you know best.   *If you rejected other objectives for using Social Media by the way I would bet there is a very good chance that your content creation and targeting wasn’t tested properly!

So let’s turn this on it’s head…. Am I worried about the number of comments or likes this post receives?  Not in the least (google will reward me in its own way for the fresh content on my website) that’ll be enough for now.  Also I’ve been made to think about what it is I do (during the Newcastle to Edinburgh stretch of a longer train journey) as I put fingers to keyboard.   If I really want it seen (not necessarily to win clicks) i’ll do as I do for everything I create these days for clients.  I’ll be prepared to push the post to a precise audience, with a follow up to any action it may receive (retargeting).   I may also edit the text all the way to Aberdeen if it’s needed.

It’s just the same old message I’ve been punting out for ages and apologies for sounding like a broken old record.   But take stock we’re now being steered in a particular way and it should work in our favour.   Organic reach down, hiding of the likes from public view, people will judge you for your content themselves, and not be swayed by the number of people who have already clicked on the like button!    At last!   But don’t worry if this is creating panic, they say that the Algorithm for Instagram won’t change and it’s only the public who won’t see your likes – you still can.  Oh and Facebook haven’t announced that they’ll follow suit.  But I hope the changes are permanent and global on Insta and the rest follow suit.

Finally a tiny piece of food for thought.   Remember Facebook about 10 years ago – it was very very obvious just how many people had liked a Business page.   Then over night it was hidden from the big blue button at the centre of the screen and tucked into small text on the home screen.  It went a long way to get away from ‘Like us now’ ploys, competitions and begging requests from pressured administrators.  Thank Goodness!

Weightman Digital Specialise in Video content that goes beyond ‘Video by Mobile’ we shoot PRO quality messages, are experts in retargeting, love the creative space, provide web solutions and Neil along with a team of freelancers are all avid coffee drinkers.