Instagram’s decision to remove likes from the platform has sent many influencers into a frenzy. They fear they will no longer be able to get the reach they once enjoyed.
However, some influencers are realizing the removal of likes is not the end of the world. If anything, genuine influencers producing quality content are going to have an easier time and may even find Instagram to be enjoyable again.
Instagram has made it clear this is a consumer-driven change. If it has you worried, it shouldn’t.
One study reveals the number of followers you have and the number of likes you have only matters to 11% of consumers in the UK and the US.
In short, numbers alone didn’t matter. What matters is trustworthiness; whether you’re informative, and whether you’re entertaining.
Likes were an easy way of getting noticed. The problem is when there’s so much competition it becomes harder to get the attention of your target market.
Instagram removed likes because they wanted to make life easier for consumers. Influencers should consider this change a crystal-clear sign that engagement is now the only way to succeed on this platform.
The average engagement rate on Instagram is just 3%, which tells you a lot about the quality of the content on the platform as a whole.
To rank on Instagram influencers must climb above this average.
The only influencers who will suffer from this change are those producing content nobody really cares about. A like doesn’t mean you’ve made an impact on someone. It requires no effort to get a single click on the like button. Most consumers do this without even thinking about it.
On the other hand, if you’re putting some real thought into publishing engaging content then you’re going to get a boost to your visibility.
Expect more exposure and a more engaged audience from now on. Consumers who want to support you now must leave a more valuable mark, like a comment.
Put it this way, 62% of Canadian influencers said the removal of likes was positive for creating better content.
Practically every influencer and major brand will look for a third-party tool to help them manage their brand. These range from full-blown social media agencies to terrible third-world services selling fake accounts.
The best part about the removal of likes is you can’t hide from the need to produce great content any longer. That easy option for social validation is no longer there. Expect many of the low-quality services to disappear.
On the other hand, high-quality Instagram growth services and Instagram management tools are expected to thrive because they focus on being an engagement marketplace and a way to get real social proof. Those third-party tools doing things the right way will thrive.
Ultimately, that’s better for everyone.
No more competing with influencers who are buying fake likes and followers as they won’t serve them a purpose anymore.
With the elimination of likes comes fundamental changes to the algorithms that make Instagram’s newsfeed work.
Instagram has already carried out tests and reports state that a post-likes world will allow users to see 90% of the content their friends and family post. This is compared to just 50% before the changes.
What does this tell influencers?
They need to dig deeper when it comes to connecting with their target market. Of course, these algorithm changes don’t mean businesses and brands are being discarded from the platform. Instagram relies on them to continue making money.
Instead, it means to get your content shown you must build a real relationship with your fans. The days of quantity over quality are gone.
An account with 10,000 followers may now get more exposure than an account with one million followers purely due to better engagement rates.
Influencers must focus on how they connect with their followers and how they grab their attention. Just because you get a lot of likes alone doesn’t mean you have their attention.
Ask yourself this: why someone would engage with your content on a deeper level?
As an influencer, if you were focusing purely on the number of likes and followers you have you were behind the curve.
The removal of likes has officially gotten rid of this amateur marketing strategy. To succeed on Instagram in the post-likes world it’s time to start looking further into your metrics.
It may also mean hitting an even smaller audience to guarantee higher engagement rates, and ultimately more of those users doing what you want them to do.
For example, you may want to think about whether someone is watching your Instagram video with the sound off. How long are the comments you’re receiving on your videos? How much traffic are you getting from Instagram onto an external platform, such as your blog or website?
Influencers who are serious about succeeding will now have the chance to deep dive into these metrics and tailor their strategies accordingly.
Some entrepreneurs such as Matt Redhawk may tell you that you shouldn’t focus so much on technology for growing your business as different marketing platforms can change their rules at any point in time.
However, the cornerstone of any strategy is quality content. After all, 80% of marketers say that Instagram posts are still the most effective way of getting your message out. So, don’t expect the format of Instagram to change if you want to succeed.
However, quality content comes with a twist. You must target the right audience. That doesn’t mean targeting males between 24 and 35 in the US. It means you need to know their interests, when they’re online, and what they react to.
You can never have too much information when it comes to figuring out your target audience.
Even if you’re a successful influencer already, the chances are you’ll need to refine your strategy and ensure your content is getting maximum engagement rates.
This change may seem groundbreaking, but the numbers don’t back it up. If you’re already succeeding on Instagram, you’ll continue to succeed.
The key is to engage and to create content that’s both informative and funny. However, you must make sure it’s targeted at the right audience.
How do you feel about Instagram removing likes?