Instagram Hiding Likes – Good or Bad?

We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about,” – Adam Mosseri, Instagram Chief.

Image Credit – Pixabay

Instagram has hidden likes in 6 more countries now and it’s soon going to be implemented in more geographies.

So this change happened and I think it’s for good, as an individual as well as a marketer. 

I know there’s a lot of hue and cry going on for this feature especially by the influencers but if I think of it rationally, my hunch is, this will fix many ongoing issues with the platform.

While the number of likes was one of the key ways to put a value on a post for the business side of Instagram, but if I think it from the business side I am not sure what purpose those likes were serving.

Not just for business accounts but for regular accounts too, these likes and follower counts have become like a digital popularity contest leading to users taking any measure to increase their worth in terms of social currency.

For Instagram, it must have been a very bold step, something that might even hit their popularity in the short term but considering all types of scams and bots that are floating on Instagram to increase these followers and likes, it’s high time that measures like these are taken. 

Instagram After Hiding Likes. Image via CNN

I have been a huge fan of influencer marketing always; when done right it has given wonderful results for the brands that I have worked for. There was a time when I used to interact personally with the influencers for different campaigns and wow, what a wonderful era that was where some of those influencers actually created content better than us and our agencies. Those content were stunning, useful and worth every penny that we spent.

But speaking of now, the past three campaigns that I have tried hasn’t given us the engagement ratio of even 1%. In fact, nano influencers have turned out to be better than influencers or micro-influencers.

And there is a huge difference in the rates of hiring a nano, micro vs popular influencers these days.

One of the data points from a recent campaign that we did with few influencers –  Influencers with 5k – 6k followers gave us approximately 10% engagement whereas the ones with around 60k followers gave us approximately 1% engagement. We got almost the same results from these two segments but the payouts to them were very different. We paid almost 5x to the folks with 60k+ followers as against the ones with less than 10k followers!

With the bought likes and followers, Instagram honestly speaking has been losing its essence. More than beautiful visual storytelling, it’s becoming an automated-content battleground.

Similar trends have been observed by many other independent studies and research. Recently in an analysis done by Markerly for over 2 million influencers on Instagram, it was clearly found that influencers with 

  • < 1,000 followers average about 8% engagement
  • 1,000 – 10,000 followers average 4% engagement
  • 10,000 – 100,000 followers average 2.4% engagement
  • 100,000 – 1 million followers average 1.8% engagement
  • > 1 million followers average 1.7% engagement

Let’s hope that with changes like these, hopefully, the fake will get filtered out and better features and metrics will get introduced to help both the content creators and marketers. Speaking of features, I think it would be good to have:

  • a transparent influencer platform like Amazon, currently brands are dependent on finding influencers through third-party platforms or agencies. A robust influencer network connecting brands and influencers will be beneficial for all concerned.
  • tools to clearly differentiate between genuine vs bot followers of influencers. I am ok if the influencers garner reach through paid promotions too but at least the bots or fake profiles should be called out clearly.
  • better analytics and reports for brands using which they can monitor the performances of the campaigns with influencers. Payouts can be based on performance and reach. Not only will this help brands, but this will also help the genuine content creators command better deals from brands. 
  • better image tagging for business accounts, so that not just accounts but exact product image/pages could also be tagged.

The wishlist could be more but for now, all I hope is that Instagram retains its original charm and doesn’t meet the same fate as SMS or email.

What do you think about “Instagram removing likes”? Which tools do you use to audit the potential influencer’s account? I am currently using IG Audit and HypeAuditor. Any other good audit/ranking tools that you can recommend? 

7 ways brands can use Instagram Stories

Instagram – 800 million monthly, 500 million daily active users and 300 million daily active users for stories! With more than half of their daily users posting stories, there is no doubt that stories are the craze these days. And where there are users, there have to be brands – trying to target, engage and connect with their users through stories.

I have been using stories for some time now and there is something about it that makes it fun. To add to that, it’s placed very prominently and hence every time you go to Instagram, you can’t miss those tiny circles on top. Many brands are experimenting with stories for different marketing objectives, while some have been able to do wonders, some still are trying to figure out the power of this tool.

Here’re some of the ways in which brands can use Instagram stories , I have personally implemented these in my marketing initiatives and I think these are worth giving a try:

  • Announcements: Stories work good for announcing new updates, be it a new blog post on your site or a to-be-launched collection. The placement of the stories icon ensures visibility and higher reach. There are many brands and users who are already using stories very effectively.

Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/zara/

  • Contests: If you’re hosting contests, Instagram stories are absolute fun – right from announcements prior to the contests going live to the countdown before announcing the winners, stories can add a lot of value in getting your audience hooked on to your contests plan.

Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/chumbak/

  • Enhanced Storytelling: While whole Instagram is anyways all about gorgeous photos and beautiful visual storytelling, but if you have some aesthetically shot products with details to be shown, stories will be helpful. The large size picture format adds to the charm of your visual storytelling and makes it more appealing to users.

Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/natgeo/

  • Events: Stories by virtue of being “photo stories” are great for events or documentaries, be it for communicating the sequence or some of the behind-the-scenes fun. The slideshow format of stories helps in presenting different aspects of any event as a series.

Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/weddingsutra/

  • Feedback: Instagram stories polls are great to gather some quick opinions and feedback from your users. While audience-reach wise, it can never match up to Facebook but these polls are easy to use, fun and visually noticeable.

Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/snowberrydesignco/

  • Topical Communication: If you’re a brand that communicates about kinds of stuff like daily outfit suggestion through #ootd or some contests & offers that are valid only for 24 hours, stories might be the platform worth giving a try. Considering stories last only for 24 hours, there is this urgency to view it and it’s good for topical communication or promotion

Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/harpercollinsin/

  • Shoutouts: It’s a great tool to tag your partners or give shoutouts to your fans. Tagging in stories ensures additional reach apart from your feed by sending your stories to the tagged account via DM.

Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/amul_India/

So, what are the other methods in which you’re using Instagram stories? Would love to know how it’s been working for you so far? Do let me know in the comment section below.

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Photos Credit: Links to the awesome Instagram accounts of the brands whose work I like mentioned below each photo.

4 quick tips for Influencer-gramming

Image Credit — Pixabay

On an average, 1 out of 3 or 4 posts on my Instagram timeline is an influencer plug these days. I did a quick check on if I am following influencers more? No, these are pretty much my own contacts who are doing brand plugs now. Looks like brands have become quite active with influencer marketing especially on Instagram and there are many brands that are opting for influencers as against ads on Instagram.

Influencer marketing works well for many reasons but if I have to quote one reason, it has to be the following blink from the book — Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini:

Observing people similar to us can greatly influence our choice. We comply with people we like and it is easy for some people to make us like them.

So damn true, it’s just so easy for some people to make us like them and once we like someone, we get influenced by their behavior and choices. While many bloggers and social media personalities are open to do brand collaborations but how many are actually capable of influencing your users with authenticity? And no, it’s not a number game only. Influencer marketing is as much an art as it’s about science and numbers.

There are many resources available for you to check in case you are starting with Influencer Marketing on Instagram but for those who are already doing it, here are 4 quick suggestions from my side that are based on my own experiences of running campaigns and practical observations of some other live campaigns on Instagram these days.Read More