Is The Death of Instagram Influencers Upon Us?

Hit that pose, take that flick, check your angle, post that sh*t. Props to Leikeli47 for coming through with the lead for this one. Every millennial knows this game too well, especially with the increased pressure to get maximum likes on Instagram or other social sharing platforms. As reported back in June, Instagram is looking to remove that pressure from everyone by removing like counts from user posts and, now this “like ban” has officially launched in select markets, one of those being Australia.

Now I’m not going to bore you with the overarching concept of removing likes since you can easily click over to our previous blog and learn more about the removal, but I want to discuss how this ban is already affecting social media influencers and what it means for them, your brand, and Instagram itself. To get started, let’s take a dive into how this change affects influencers.

HOW DOES THE INSTAGRAM LIKE BAN AFFECT INFLUENCERS

At this point, everyone and their brother knows who and what an Instagram Influencer is. If not, please refer to this wonderful article on how to win with influencer marketing. To go a little more into what makes someone an influencer, these individuals are selected by brands off a variety of social statistics, with the big three being: engagement, follower count, and brand relevance. When brands look at an account, it is key that they take all three into account because many “influencers” actually have fake followers that do not engage with their content in the slightest bit. But enough about how this works, this isn’t a 5-step-guide to become a social influencer.

Remember how I mentioned that the like ban is being tested in Australia? Great. With the like ban being enforced and tested in the Australian market, the outcry from distressed influencers is at an all time high. One influencer said that she has to spend two more hours a day on the platform now just to keep her engagement rate the same. Yes, you read that right, two more hours on Instagram a day (poor her, am I right?).

First off, I would like to say that this is definitely a first world problem and in reality, this is not going to be the end of the world for any influencer because if you have a business account you can still provide analytics to brands. Most brands will more than likely acknowledge the social giants’ change in engagement reporting. But what we need to discuss is why simply not showing the total number of likes on a photo is detrimental to the posts engagement.

The answer is very simple actually–we as humans like to interact with content that the masses are interacting with. When we cannot see how many people have already interacted with something, we are less likely to engage with content that doesn’t resonate with us. So with that, I have one piece of advice to influencers: make sure that the content you post always resonates and you should be able to achieve the same level of engagement.

HOW DOES THE INSTAGRAM LIKE BAN AFFECT BRANDS

So, if you’ve read this far, you are probably wondering what this new ban means for you as a brand. Well, it just means that you will need to be more selective with the statistics you look at when deciding which influencers to pursue. There are many analytical tools out there that will help you gauge a social influencer’s success. One of the most popular is social blade. This tool is fairly intuitive and easy to use so if you need something quick and free, be sure to check it out.

Now the other big piece of the change is how Instagram is hoping to change the way that these deals go down. Put on your reading glasses folks, because this is where the biggest change is going to come for your brand.

Currently, when you want to partner with an influencer, you have the luxury of paying them directly and having them post appropriately. This may come as no surprise to you, but Instagram wants a cut and this is why they want the brand to promote the post now instead of just paying the influencer for the content. This concept is still in development at Instagram so it will be interesting to see what comes of it, and if they will provide tools to brands directly to help them better select which influencers to work with now that like count is hidden.

INSTAGRAM AND THE LIKE BAN

Last but not least, what does the “like ban” help for Instagram’s sake? Well for one, it allows them to develop a tool to market to influencers and brands to bridge the information gap that is likely to occur, especially from influencers who operate on a personal account (not sure why they are still doing this, but if it works, why change it?). Another thing Instagram is hoping to accomplish here is that users will post more because it won’t feel like a competition. Instagram wants to inspire creators of all sizes and the best way to do this is to take the competition and negativity out of the platform so that users can post freely. I for one, am definitely pro-positivity when it comes to the platform.

Lastly, Instagram is hoping to drive more users to their Story platform. It’s no secret that both Facebook and Instagram believe that short video clips are the way of the future and what better way to push users to use this functionality than to take away key metrics from their photos!

POST THAT SH*T

So with the removal of the like count being upon us, I ask you, do you think the death of the influencer is upon us? I for one, am very interested to see what happens once the restriction comes to America to see how it affects some of our favorite celebrities. But for now, I challenge you to post that picture, live your life, and don’t let something as silly as the number of likes you get determine your personal value.