The “Like” counts on Instagram and Facebook posts may be going away, leaving brands without a valuable measurement of how consumers feel about their products.
In April, Instagram began testing the hiding of Likes in Canada, expanding to Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland and Japan in July. In those countries, a post shows just a few names of mutual friends who’ve Liked it instead of the total number. Instagram said the reason for the new feature is to have users concentrate on their posts and interacting with the app, rather than Likes.
Now Facebook has confirmed to online technology news source TechCrunch that it too could soon start hiding the Like counter on posts, and ultimately remove it altogether.
“Personally, while I value Likes from a metrics visibility perspective, I’m always in favor of anything that can cultivate better content creation, storytelling and community engagement.” – John Oates of JPO Digital
“This move by Instagram is meant to put the focus squarely on the quality of the content that users, influencers and brands are sharing,” said John Oates of JPO Digital. “A greater onus will have to be placed on what is being posted and how they are engaging with their communities rather than just the perceived relevance that comes along with a large Like total.”
Engaging Through a Personalized Community
Businesses have long used social media platforms to market their products and one measurement of a marketing campaign’s success has been Likes. The removal of them on Instagram and Facebook will likely force businesses that rely on social proof to measure what value and impact in other ways and to work even harder to deliver stronger content.
Supernova, a Singapore-based social e-commerce company offering health, beauty and fitness products, has created a community on Instagram that allows the company to talk with its audience to ensure that customers stay engaged and trust the brand.
Identifying and developing a community on social media starts with creating personalized content and then taking advantage of the opportunities found with social media influencers. Their strength, says Supernova, is in creating content, and the better content they can create, the more working together with a brand makes sense. In a world without Likes, influencers would be pushed to create not only better content, but more diverse types of content such as videos and Instagram “stories.”
“The Like total is a fundamental part of the infrastructure and user experience, and it will be interesting to see how the community reacts to it being stripped away if this feature does get rolled out site-wide,” said Oates. “Personally, while I value Likes from a metrics visibility perspective, I’m always in favor of anything that can cultivate better content creation, storytelling and community engagement.”