With a new focus on the impact of social media on mental health, Facebook and Instagram are testing out hiding “likes” on some posts on US accounts. With the new feature, instead of saying “Jane Smith and 17 others liked this,” the blurb under each post will simply read “Jane Smith and others.” Like numbers will still be visible to the poster, just not to the general public.
The move is intended to help make both social media platforms more about quality connections and less about competing for likes and shares. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri explained that understanding the impact that social media competition has on mental health, particularly for young people, is a big motivator behind removing likes from the platform.
So, what does this mean for brands?
Luckily, we’ve got a bit of time to figure that out. Going “like-less” is still in the testing phases on both Facebook and Instagram with only a few users in the US experiencing the feature. However, should the feature roll out to the general public, the impact on brand and influencer marketing could be significant.
With likes lacking visibility, it may be mean that a more level playing field develops. Instead of posts with the most likes (many of which may be a result of bots or “like for like” exchanges instead of actual engagement) being at the top of the feed, posts with quality content may have a chance to rise to the top.
Brands should take advantage of this update and focus on quality content that really speaks to their followers, even if it is only a small portion of them. While capturing millions of likes may not be possible, content that gets even a few dozen people to truly engage with your brand may be the catalyst you need to gain real traction and boost sales. This means that you’ll need to focus on what your brand means to your followers, what stories they identify with, and what visual media is truly engaging, instead of paying the big bucks for influencers who don’t deliver.
With a shift away from social media being a popularity contest and back to genuine social engagement, brands that tell genuine stories and create engaging content have an opportunity to turn their social media presence into measurable sales instead of just likes.
How well is your brand (personal or business) teed up for a change like this? Do you lead with your Values, Vision, and Mission to engage effectively with those who share similar passions?
We’re here to help you figure this out. If you need assistance, give us a shout.