So you’ve probably hear the news by now: Instagram is removing likes. Enter: panic mode, full-blown meltdown, and allll the “now-what’s?!” Seriously, how did you react? If you’re like much of the IG-verse, you might’ve been a little unhinged at the thought of losing this metric on which we track so much of our success on the platform.
Or maybe, you’re cool cucumber and totally fine with the notion of losing likes on Instagram. As someone who teaches IG strategy, I felt all eyes and ears on me when the company made this mind-blowing announcement, and so I did what I often do. I took to Instagram itself to give y’all a breakdown on why I believe this actually isn’t the end of the world.
Seriously! I’m kinda into it, if I’m being totally honest. I know, I know, we don’t like change, and this is a BIG one coming to everyone’s favorite app. And it can be especially frightening when you run much of your business from the app (*cough, cough, this is why I always push building your business on your OWN land, aka an email list!*). I get it, the fear and the aggravation.
But truly, I don’t think this will harm business or take away from the good experience that can come with Instagram. The community, the positive interactions, the storytelling and camaraderie, AND the real results. The fact is, you’ll still be able to see your own likes — it’s just everyone else who won’t be able to see them! And you, theirs. It’s sort of brilliant, the more I think about it, and here are 3 big reasons why.
1. You can start measuring your success on IG with real results.
Have you found yourself complaining that your engagement is down? Womp, womp. Welcome to the club. The thing is, so many IG users spend their time measuring their success with vanity metrics: the number of likes or followers, the amount of comments a post gets. But really, does “liking” a photo actually do anything beyond giving you a quick ego boost?
Liking a post is literally the most mindless thing you can do to engage on the app (harsh, but true if you think about it). It doesn’t show legit interest in your business or story. Sure, some people who like your posts are actually interested, but they’re the ones who will then follow through on that interest by contacting you or landing on your website or sending you a comment or DM. A ‘like’ literally means nothing in terms of growth or success — and it certainly doesn’t pay the bills.
Things you can focus on instead of counting likes (or waving them buh-bye)? Building a community. Serving your followers. Growing an email list. Making sales. Booking clients. Driving impact. Tracking actual, real, business-flourishing results that matter!
2. You can begin focusing more on impact over popularity.
Woo-eee, sorry y’all but I’m bringing the heat today! You know I love Instagram and am obsessed with utilizing it smartly to grow businesses. But it’s become this popularity contest, one that people are desperately aching to win. (So much so that many people have bought likes and followers to just get ahead. *face palm*)
Truth: Popular doesn’t pay the bills. If you compared a biz post on my Instagram to one about Conley, you’d see the Coco posts slam everything else in terms of engagement. I can’t blame my followers for liking a cute baby photo, but at the end of the day, popular doesn’t pay bills. (Although, I’ll ALWAYS post photos of Coco!)
My posts that seemingly perform the “worst” number-wise are the ones moving the needle MOST in my business. They’re the ones reaching the right part of my audience — those who are ready to take action. And now I feel free to focus more on those needle-movers because my engagement numbers and vanity metrics won’t be weighing me down!
3. You can finally kick comparison to the curb — hallelujah!
This is honestly what I’m most excited about Instagram removing likes. Praise the Lord, hallelujah, we all get a bit of a break from the comparison game. It doesn’t matter if you’re 15 or 55, we’ve all sat and watched our friends’ or peers’ likes rack up. And then we compare ourselves, wondering how we measure up.
It’s not even a conscious thing. It happens because we’re human, and we’re made to regularly wonder if we’re good enough. Removing this major marker for perceived worth is such a glorious, freeing, wonderful thing that we can ALL benefit from. Your business isn’t going to tank; your followers aren’t going to disappear.
In fact, I think if we think about it in the right way, Instagram getting rid of likes will only drive more growth and deeper connection. I think the bigger focus for creators is going to be on IG stories and getting engagement there, which is amazing.
And using hashtags in a smart way will be even more impactful for your posts (peep the recent hashtag deep dive episode I did here to grab ALL my tips!). I personally feel free by the likes being removed because we can post without fear of judgement, whether it’s a paid campaign or something we’re passionate about that may only speak to a segment of our audience.
So, have fun with it! Push limits, experiment, and get out there. You’ve always had total freedom to do so, but now there’s less pressure, you know? If you agree, go ahead and share this post with your followers — some of whom I’m sure are panicking, if they’re anything like the rest of the world — to let them know it’s going to be okay! More than that, it’s going to be really, really great.