Comparing likes on Instagram photos may soon be a thing of the past. During F8 in April, Instagram announced it would be testing the removal of the like count and video views from posts in certain countries.
Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, told Buzzfeed News that these steps were being taken to promote a less “pressurized environment” for those using the platform. With this update, users would be able to see the number of likes or video views their posts had received, but they wouldn’t be able to see the likes or views of other users’ posts. The tests began in May in Canada. On July 17, 2019, Instagram announced they would expand the tests to Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.
Why is Instagram doing this?
Instagram can often feel like a contest. Who has gone on the best vacations? Who has the cutest fall outfit? Who took the best photo of their Starbucks cup? We all know the phrase “Instagram-worthy,” but should this be something posts aspire to?
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According to critics, the race for more likes can lead to negative behavior and is seen by some, particularly teens, as a proxy for self worth
In recent years, social media has been accused of helping fuel depression and digital addiction among adolescents. According to critics, the race for more likes can lead to negative behavior and is seen by some, particularly teens, as a proxy for self worth. Especially problematic among girls, social media use can lead to interpersonal stress and cyber-bullying. At F8, Mosseri said, “We don’t want Instagram to feel like a competition.” Instead, they want to make folks “feel comfortable expressing themselves” through the app.
Who will these changes impact?
With the possibility of removing the like and video view counts from posts on the horizon, you might be wondering who will be impacted by the change?
To begin, let’s hope that removing these counts does some good. If individuals, especially teens, are experiencing negative mental health impacts or bullying due to their popularity on Instagram, perhaps this update will remove some of the “competition” between users. If removing likes can allow people to lead better lives, that’s definitely worth it!
Influencers might also see a change, which would in turn impact marketers. So instead of relying on a post’s like and view count to measure engagement, marketers will need to rely on other tactics, such as tracking leads, conversions and sales. This means that influencers are on the hook more than ever to deliver high quality content.
What should marketers focus on instead?
As an online marketer who uses Instagram, it’s important to know that likes on posts are no longer the focus. Instead, focus on other aspects of Instagram, such as:
Comment contests to promote engagement
Comment contest on Instagram
If you’re looking to promote engagement on Instagram, then try a comment contest. With a comment contest, you post to Instagram with a contest prompt (e.g. “Comment below with your favorite vacation spot for a chance to win a trip to Mexico!”). To enter, folks post responses to your post in the comment section, then you choose a random winner from the comments.
TIP: Use the ShortStack Comment Contest tool to pull in the comments you receive, then randomly select a winner.
Lead generation campaigns through landing page links
Landing page used for collecting leads
Instead of focusing on engagement, try collecting leads. Email leads are extremely valuable in moving customers along your sales funnel. To collect leads, run a contest (e.g. a simple giveaway) where you announce the details in an Instagram post, but collect the entries via a form on a landing page. Instagram doesn’t allow you to include links in posts, but you can link to your landing page via your Instagram profile description.
TIP: Create a landing page with ShortStack with a lead collection form. Our giveaway template gets you started with a campaign that is simple to use and easy to enter.
Hashtag contests to collect UGC and raise brand awareness
Instagram Hashtag Contest
Looking to collect UGC? Try a hashtag contest. Hashtag contests encourage folks to post to their own profiles using your contest #hashtag(s). These contests not only allow you to collect UGC (Instagram images) but also promote brand awareness, as participant’s followers have a good chance of seeing a post that includes your brand.
TIP: Use ShortStack’s feeds feature to collect hashtag contest entries from Instagram. Entrants simply need to post from a public profile with the contest #hashtag(s) in the original caption.
Instagram is running a test where they remove the like and view counts from Instagram posts to help curb negative use of the platform and encourage a more positive social media environment. Using Instagram for your online marketing? Don’t worry about Instagram post likes, and concentrate on comment contests for engagement and linking to online forms for lead generation instead.
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