Did you know last month Instagram announced that the platform will be  hiding likes in the US? This update has already been released in other countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. The news has been accompanied by a flood of opinions.

Both positive…

and negative.

There are two ways of looking at the removal of likes…

First, we must recognize that Instagram is a business that needs to generate revenue. Without innovation, they run the risk of following in the same footsteps as MySpace and other social platforms that could not withstand the test of time. Instagram is doing its best to take back control of the millions of dollars that Instagram influencers have made in the past several years. Instagram will try to shake off some influencers by forcing brands to buy ad space rather than work with influencers to promote their brand. With the removal of likes, both businesses and influencers will have to focus on distributing creative and distinct content to capture their audience’s attention. They will have to deliver results and measurable analytics such as engagement and reach, not just a number below a picture.

Additionally, we’ve learned over that past several years that social media has a profound impact on mental health. Self-esteem is easily compromised when you put a number on your worth. The number of likes posts are anticipated to receive should not stop an Instagram user from posting on the platform. Even if you do post, but don’t get 10+ likes in 10 minutes, you may feel a sense of self-doubt, wondering if you should take down your post. The removal of likes from the platform will shift Instagram back towards its roots- instantly sharing moments and experiences without the fear of disapproval (via lack of likes) from your peers. At the same time, it will breathe a breath of fresh air into user’s feeds, hopefully eliminating some of the over-edited, far-too-perfect posts that in no way depict the reality of the average person’s life.

What does this mean for business owners like you? You will not have the social proof of likes justifying your brand’s presence on social media. It will be more important than ever to have genuine and fresh content that speaks to your audience! Focus on a strategy to build an audience of highly targeted followers for your niche and curate your page to speak directly to them. Build relationships with your followers by talking to them in the comments or via DMs and you have a better chance at converting them to customers.