Big news coming in that Instagram are going to be testing hiding likes – it’ll start off in different countries, and be interesting to see how to this works.

Like for likes

A popular trend with Instagram (and one we don’t recommend) is the “like for likes” – a bit of you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. If you like a post, then the poster will like your account in return. Sounds easy, right? Of course, there’s nothing to stop them if they then decide to unfollow you as soon as they’ve seen you’ve followed them. Seems a bit of a mean trick (and exhausting!) and it’s not one we do – we grow our accounts organically, and only follow people posting content in the same ball park as our accounts.

Incidentally, this is a neat trick for identifying who’s bought their followers – if you’re only seeing 20 likes for 10,000 followers, chances are they’re mostly zombie accounts and spambots.  After all, follower numbers are also a marker for Instagram success – important if you want sponsorships too.

Hide & Seek

Instagram are debating a bit of a change in how we see posts. This is tied in with the sweeping changes Facebook are making. Instagram is considering removing the likes from your Instagram post.

“We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” an Instagram spokesperson said.

What would this mean, realistically, for the influencers and more generally speaking, the business accounts that use Instagram? Well, if you’re getting your self-esteem boost from the amount of likes you’re getting to your selfie, then you might be feeling miffed or even relieved. Businesses, however, may end up focusing on more “real” content, posted for its ability to promote an authentic impression of the business or to produce a more honest relationship between the business and its followers.

Follower numbers could be the new marker

What could also happen is that our markers for success might shift from how many likes a post gets. So it’ll be all about how many followers an account has or the comments beneath the pictures. That might be a big win for those who’ve bought their followers, but it’s not exactly fair. And it might also decrease your reach, as the more likes a post gets, the more people see it.

We’ll be closely following this over the next few weeks and months, to see how the Canadian trial pans out but one thing’s for certain – it won’t necessarily hurt your account if you do business with us. We’re not reliant on likes – though we do love a cheeky reach. We’re all about creating authentic content and increasing your follower base. Likes are great, but if you’ve got other platforms posting complimentary material, then you shouldn’t be hit as hard as the influencers are likely to be.