What Instagram’s international ‘like’ ban will mean for your business

You may have noticed that you no longer have any publicly visible likes on Instagram anymore. But don’t worry, there are other ways to make your business or brand excel on Instagram – without likes.

It may come as a shock to Instagram’s 1 billion monthly active users, but the likes that had once been the backbone of sharing on Instagram, have been canned.

And it means a lot to the world of businesses, brands, influencers and consumers that partake in avid Instagram posting, stalking, commenting and liking every-day.

The internationally recognized app began testing the new no-likes system; much to many users’ horror and/or joy in April 2019, beginning in Canada where trials were seen to be successful, then rolling it out to Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand in July.

However, due to the success and majority of positive reactions from users, Instagram has decided to stop likes worldwide.  

From now on, your small Instagram account may seem as though it’s closer to the seriously popular accounts. But is it really?

The app has suggested that the reasoning behind the lack of likes is due to Instagram wanting users to feel comfortable being themselves and expressing their creativity.

But don’t worry, you can still have the satisfaction of seeing how many likes you get on your own photo – you just can’t see anyone else’s.

Instead of displaying the likes count underneath any photo, the app now displays the words “Likes by ___ and others”, producing names of mutual followers in the blank space. So even though the number of likes are gone – which seems to be a massive step in a less-egotistical, more self-loving, accessible direction – likes still exist and so do comments…. and followers.

However, Instagram being one of the first social media platforms to take away a part of their app that seemingly helps keep users so addicted does make the app more unique and fit in more with the social values and rules that are becoming more and more popular as we head into 2020.

A study conducted in the USA in 2018 showed that nearly 40% of teenagers using Instagram felt obliged to share only content likely to generate many likes and comments.

This in itself shows how unhealthy having likes, comments, followers, friends etc on apps really is for the state of mind of all users, especially young minds that are already fraught with the struggles surrounding growing up.

Other surveys have highlighted the influence of these popularity measures on the mental health of Internet users.

Through this paradigm shift, which is part of a broader movement to challenge addiction mechanisms put in place by social networks, Instagram hopes to ease the competitive spirit that prevails over its network by creating a less pressurized environment in which users feel more comfortable expressing and publishing more, less prone to self-censorship.

“We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not the number of likes you have,” the company said last April when the experiment was launched.

How no likes on Instagram is affecting Influencers:

This decision to bin likes has not been unanimous.

For brands like those of Instagram influencers (people making a living from posting and creating content, and influencing their followers to purchase products or services that they are campaigning with) No longer having visible likes could be a massive issue. Many influencers have accused Instagram of wanting to harm their business model because the likes represent for them a real indicator of their profitability.

However with the rise of influencer marketing growing exponentially in recent years, businesses are getting better and spotting which influencers hold a real, authentic influence over their followers – without the need for visible likes.

For influencers, popular brands and businesses on Instagram, one massive way to create real influence and relationships with users is to comment and reply to comments and questions often, creating an ongoing conversation with followers.

And seeing as the amount of comments is still visible to users and businesses alike, it is evident when an influencer for example doesn’t generate a lot of electronic word of mouth (e-WOM) on their posts or affiliated posts.

If you are a brand wanting to utilize influencer marketing via Instagram, and you aren’t sure how to know an influencers popularity without likes – look to their followers and comments – especially on sponsored posts to see how their followers reacted when being advertised to.

Facebook’s subsidiary said it “is actively thinking of ways to allow creators to communicate value with their partners.”

Use the ban on likes to the best of your ability!

Likes may be gone forever, or they could return in some form or another in the near future. The social media landscape let alone Instagram, is ever-changing.

Look at the changes in social media in recent years; Instagram has taken over from snapchat in a place to share stories, images, videos, IGTV and a place to online shop.

Tik-Tok has taken over Generation Z, with e-commerce brands like @princesspollyboutique creating and sharing their account online.

LinkedIn is now an incredibly popular app for workers and businesses alike. Facebook has followed in Instagram’s footsteps, introducing stories and trialing having no likes.

Instagram users and businesses alike need to grasp the opportunity at hand – having no likes creates a clean slate for your account. Your content will be less judged on the amount of likes it has and judged more on the value, uniqueness and creativity of each post.

Parting words

The ban on likes has created a different environment on Instagram and other social media apps by making content creation less superficial. The only way to keep up with the ever changing social media landscape is to shape and evolve your content to fit in with these changes.

Need help running your companies Instagram? Contact us now at Media Lion Digital Marketing Agency.

Subscribe to Media Lion Blog

top posts

More Articles

Media Lion Digital Marketing Strategies
Nicola KR

How to engage with the future of SEO

It’s no secret that the game and industry of SEO is changing rapidly. If you stay attached to the old SEO outlook will fail. SEO is changing constantly and at a rapid pace. Extra links and keyword volume will not be the way to excel in SEO in 2020. Having the opinion that SEO is

Read More »
Facebook Stories
Lance MA

Everything You Need to Know About Facebook Stories

Last year Facebook launched a new feature called Facebook stories, giving users a new way to show friends and family what they’re up to. At first, it was only available on mobile but now have become available on the desktop version. Facebook stories are very similar to Instagram and Snapchat stories, which gives users a

Read More »
Facebook vs google ads
Lance MA

Should My Business Run Google or Facebook Ads?

You decided paid advertising is right for your business. …You created a budget and now you’re weighing the options of where you should spend your ad dollars. The two biggest players in the online advertising game are Facebook and Google. Both yield millions of daily users and both have advanced targeting capabilities. However, the platforms

Read More »

We're ready to strategise

Enter your details to schedule your FREE strategy session