Welcome to another Guest Blog, can you believe we’re having our seventh guest writer? Last week, Chloe Gibson from @a.trail.of.sparkles shared her experience finding her social media sparkle. An honest, authentic post from Chloe that definitely deserves a read, give it a go here! This week, we’ll be getting Jamie Gordon‘s take on Instagram’s decision to hide likes from viewers, with only the person who has posted able to view the metrics of their post. Jamie is a Marketing student from Ulster University, currently working as a Digital Marketing Executive gaining valuable insights to the Digital Marketing sphere. As an up and coming marketer in the industry, it’s a pleasure to read Jamie’s informed observations of this controversial social media move.
Instagram is the place to keep up with all your pals (and sometimes even see what they are having for their dinner). I am a big fan of Instagram; I enjoy connecting with my friends, seeing what is happening and sharing stuff that I am doing. It is a happy place for many, but it can bring a wave of pressure to young people who observe on their feed people living ‘perfect’ lives. Seeing ‘instagrammable’ lives 24/7 can lead to comparison, with the pressure to achieve a certain number of likes being the reality for many young people.
Instagram has made the decision to trial the removal of likes, with Canada and Australia being amongst a few of the leaders to experiment with this change. Likes will still be visible to users but the overall number will not be presented, with the main aim being to make Instagram a place that promotes freedom and creativity while relieving the pressure of accumulating masses of likes.
From the perspective of my own scroll, I must admit that I like this idea. I realise that even subconsciously I can find myself overly aware of how many likes a post has and that impacts how I view other posts. With many people feeling the need to create a ‘social persona’, this change has the potential to eradicate that and encourage people to feel like they can be themselves online without the need to portray a façade. In my opinion, we must recognise that likes and a person’s worth are not correlated; a double-tap on a photograph doesn’t dictate how much you should value yourself. Linking likes to your self-worth is dangerously unrealistic.
From a mental health perspective, this move has the power to alleviate the stress young people might feel. It is a known fact that receiving a like realises dopamine into the brain in the same way alcohol or smoking would, so hopefully the change will allow people to post more freely, giving the vanity metric of ‘likes’ less power.
The big question…
The question on many avid digital marketers’ minds has been how this change will impact businesses. From a business perspective, I believe that engagement can be measured in many different ways other than likes. There will inevitably be a greater emphasis on the comments section – arguably a far more effective engagement metric – however, social content and strategies are going to have to become smarter to adapt to the change.
When users like a post on social media in the business realm it is often more a nod of approval to the author itself as opposed to liking the actual substance of the post. Likes can be purchased and influencer marketing has never been stronger, but real engagement and accolades are earned through customer satisfaction. Influencers in particular will have to pay close attention to creating top quality content as the posting sphere will become more reliant on purposeful engagement. Will the pressure really dissolve, or will it transfer to attracting more comments? Will it decrease the overall level of interactivity on the social media giant? The change has definitely sparked a lot of controversy and uncertainty. I am happy to welcome the change, however, and am excited as a digital marketer to adapt my strategy and step up my content creation methodologies.
A big thank you must go to Jamie for his input into Instagram’s decision to conceal our likes from us, but have your say in our comments! Good or bad? You be the judge. If you’d like to get involved in our Guest Blog feature, please contact us here or on Instagram – we’d love to hear from you!