As you may have heard, hidden likes have come stateside this week. The U.S. is joining Canada, Australia, and a handful of other countries in no longer showing like counts.
Taylor Loren breaks it all down on the Later blog—from how to know if you’re affected, to how to see your own like counts even if your followers can’t—so for the nuts and bolts of this news, like what your feed will look like, head on over there.
Once you’re up to speed, let’s talk about what this means for those of us who live and breathe all things IG (and maybe make some spending money from sponsored posts).
We think hidden likes are a welcome development for Instagram in general and for our community in particular.
Hiding likes helps us level up and makes the experience of being on IG more meaningful for all of us. Here’s how we see it playing out:
More meaningful engagement
Likes are a really passive (dare we say lazy) way of engaging and of measuring engagement. As we heard a few months ago, Instagram started weighting ‘saves’ more heavily, meaning they were prioritizing useful content above shiny-object content. Hidden likes are another step in the right direction of prioritizing high-quality content that drives more meaningful engagements like comments, saves, and shares. (More on how to get more of those, below!)
More meaningful partnerships
Savvy brands have been looking at metrics like engagement rate above more superficial, vanity metrics (like counts and followers) for a while now. With hidden likes, more brands will be encouraged to take a more holistic look at influencers’ profiles when they’re evaluating potential partners.
And since IG stories have always had hidden metrics, and brands have been investing heavily in influencer content there, we don’t anticipate this will change anything about influencer opportunities on IG—other than to focus partnerships less on vanity metrics and more on brand alignment and audience engagement.
Connection > popularity
As Instagram CEO Mosseri said, removing like counts is intended to shift the focus away from popularity and toward conversations and connection. That’s something everyone in this tribe already prioritizes, and we’ll be able to put more attention to those more meaningful engagement metrics.
We think this focus is good for all our mental health, too, so we can spend more time online building meaningful relationships and less time getting caught in the comparison trap.
More content freedom
If you found yourself aligning your content strategy with what got more likes you may have focused on creating tried and true content that you knew would perform well—and stopped experimenting with new kinds of content.
Hiding like counts frees up creators to experiment more, and take more risks. That’s exciting and fun and ultimately good for showing off YOUR unique brand and perspective. It also helps keep Instagram interesting by giving individuals more opportunities to shine instead of trying to fit in with a particular aesthetic.
Even if you’re not yet part of the hidden likes group of users, you can start planning for that future now, by planning out content that is less about driving double taps and more about encouraging conversations and connections.
Here’s what to do, now:
When you’re creating content:
Focus on creating content that achieves one of these goals:
- Comments. The simplest way to encourage comments is to ask a question, or invite someone to take part in a simple poll. The other best way is to comment on other people’s content. 🙂
- Saves. Create something that your audience will want to refer back to later, like a recipe, a checklist, or other tool.
- Shares. In general, people like to share things that make them look good. Inspirational or funny quotes are a perfect place to start. Tools like checklists. recipes, and workouts are great candidates for sharing, too!
When you’re engaging with your tribe:
- Go beyond the double tap. Focus on commenting, sharing, or saving when you interact with posts. Even if you end up interacting with fewer posts, you’ll be doing more good for those creators you interact with, and likely for yourself, too.
- Keep double tapping, though. Just because counts will (eventually) be hidden doesn’t mean they’re no longer relevant. People can still click through to see who liked any post, and your handle showing up consistently in those lists can only be good for your own visibility and growth.
What’s your take on Instagram hiding likes? Share below, and of course let us know on IG stories if you’ve been affected yet!