The world of social media has been exploding last summer over the latest news of Instagram’s innovation of hiding likes from the audience. It has created numerous debates related to mental health issues on social media and the future of influencer marketing business and the views of both experts and the public eye diverge a lot. Influencers, agencies and other experts have expressed joy, concern, and surprise over the decision and now it is time to sum it up including the already existing results of the testings.
As far as influencer marketing and its future, this shift will result in finding or focusing on different ways to measure an influencer’s real impact on their audience. Brands and agencies will have to rely on other forms of metrics such as engagement, sales, community, shares, saves or story swipe-ups, which might even prove to be better ways to measure a creator’s true influence.
Views on the fact that Instagram's explanation for the change was to prevent and remedy mental health issues were also varying, but clearly, it would require a much deeper understanding and research of the psychological problem itself to be able to take a side with full certainty. Hiding the likes will not be able to make influencers forget about the number of likes they get, as they will continue to see the results and they will keep affecting them. Comparing themselves with other creators, on the other hand, will not be openly possible anymore - not for influencers at least. Managers and advertisers will continue to see the metrics and compare, judge, accept or reject to work with a content creator based on them. For arguments like these many question if there will be any positive effect on the users' mental health at all.
A beneficial consequence appears to be the end of fraudulent likes on Instagram since they’d no longer be as valuable when it comes to showing engagement. On the other hand, as likes will be hidden from the public eye, engagements, therefore the comments will become more relevant, which might give space to fraudulent comments just as easily as it happened with the number of likes. For us at Post For Rent this problem has always been an important issue, that is exactly why we use our Credibility Score at our platform, which examines the quality of the people following a specific influencer - this helps brands choose the influencers with an authentic audience.
What does it exactly mean for you as a content creator? All you need to do is keep focusing on quality, honesty and impacting your followers in a positive way. When doing so genuinely, your work will not be negatively affected - come what may.