Purple Giraffe were recently asked by Channel Nine to discuss our thoughts on the new development on Instagram – the testing of the removal of like counts on posts.
The testing has created much discussion and some concern for individuals, businesses and influencers on the platform. With our experience of partnering with businesses and offering an outsourced marketing service to help them grow, we have aimed to see this change through their perspective and to look forward to monitor how these changes could effect the future social media landscape.
While the final A Current Affair segment focuses on influencers and individuals; which you can watch here. You can read more about what was discussed in our notes below and we have also explored the reality of these changes in real time and made some suggestions for managing them moving forward here.
1. What changes have you seen on social media over the past 5 years?
From a marketing point of view, social media has changed significantly over the past five years:
- Social advertising
- Information gathering by the platform is gaining sophistication
- Marketers are able to use this information to help target their messages better than they ever have before
- The way we speak as marketers has changed
- The language has changed with the use of hashtags and emojis
- Retargeting and content generating
- Thumb stopping moments
- Constantly changing the way we interact and engage with consumers
- Rising digital focus
2. What are your thoughts on the addictiveness of social media and the well being of its users?
Research suggests that social media can become addictive for some users. I’m sure mental health professionals will be able to advise further on this topic. I believe people have always craved validation within society and social media is one mechanism where people can source that validation. Like any addiction, whether it’s food, alcohol, gambling or working – it’s all about achieving a balance.
3. What do you predict for the future of influencers with the change Instagram has made?
This change will almost definitely impact the way influencers communicate with their brand partners. Influencers are measured by the number of followers they have. They are validated by the number of likes and comments they receive. This validation is important to businesses as it can be a tool to identify genuine influencers.
It’s important to note that businesses and influencers will still have the ability to monitor their own metrics via insights.
For businesses who are working with influencers or thinking of doing so, it will be important to view their insights before engaging in paid activities with them. This change will not be the end of influencer marketing; it is just another change in the ever-evolving world of social media.
4. Why do you think Instagram has made this change and what will the ramifications be, in particular for influencers?
Instagram have said the changes have been implemented for the benefit of their users well being. They hope the change will remove the pressure of how many likes people receive and users can instead focus on sharing content they love. I suspect for influencers, they will start to change their posting style to generate greater engagement via comments rather than likes.
5. What will be the ramifications for other social outlets, can we expect them to follow suit?
Facebook owns Instagram, WhatsApp and over 75 other companies. It’s a massive business, the reasons for their changes are not always as simple as they appear. Will other social outlets follow? I guess only time will tell, and when they have had the time to measure the impact of the change.
6. How do you believe likes impact people, from both a business and personal branding perspective?
A strong social media presence is essential for successful businesses in the digital world we are living in.At Purple Giraffe, we believe that comments and shares are more important than likes as a measurement of social engagement for businesses and brands. This recent change by Instagram affirms this opinion. Businesses should also be concerned about the interactions they have with followers, the number of times followers get to see their posts and their reach into new accounts. We believe it is far better for a business to have a smaller group of loyal followers who are engaged with your business or brand, than a large and disengaged audience.