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Ashutosh Harbola, CEO and Co-founder, Buzzoka, pens down the answer and the reasons why coming out of the vicious circl...
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Why removing Instagram likes is a blessing in disguise for the industry

Ashutosh Harbola, CEO and Co-founder, Buzzoka, pens down the answer and the reasons why coming out of the vicious circl...
  • What changed suddenly that Instagram, one of the leading social media platforms, decided to take a bold move and remove the ‘Like’ feature from its platform?
  • Ashutosh Harbola, CEO and Co-founder, Buzzoka, pens down the answer and the reasons why coming out of the vicious circle of Instagram likes was important for the industry.
Like — the word strikes a positive connotation and a cheerful mental image at its very mention. It’s a positive word and perhaps that’s the reason that various social media platforms have been tapping its immense potential by having the ‘Like’ feature on the posts drafted by people.

So what changed suddenly that Instagram, one of the leading social media platforms, decided to take a bold move and remove the ‘Like’ feature from its platform? Well, it is the need to promote quality content over numbers and ‘Like’-chasing scenario; that the social media giant started with testing a Private Like Counts feature earlier this year, whereby only creator of the posts were able to see the number of their likes, but the same was not visible to their followers and others on the platform.

Instagram launched this feature as a pilot test globally, including in India and started removing ‘Like’ counts on several Indian Instagram accounts in order to depressurise Instagram and reduce fierce competition. And now, after the successful project testing, Instagram is set to be the first platform to remove the feature completely in the US, soon spreading out the move to India as well in the next few months. This has created an uproar in the market as ‘Likes’ have always been an important metric for influencers’ businesses, especially in India.

Well, there is no doubt that the influencer marketing community on Instagram, which is one of the many communities that practically thrive on the ‘Like’ feature on social media posts, has shaken up completely with the sudden announcement, however, this has come as a blessing in disguise if looked at in detail.

Impact of the move on Instagram influencer marketing community in India
The move has incited a set of mixed responses from the Instagram influencer marketing community. Of course, there are some who feel that it would gravely affect their incomes and survival because their brand business till date, largely depended on the ‘Like’ metrics. However, there are also some who seem to be elated at this move of Instagram, feeling optimistic about how it may put an end to the cut-throat competition and poke content curators to focus more on high-quality content instead of just likes.

Here is a look at the benefits of this move-

1. Content which took a backseat due to ‘Likes’ would come to the fore: This move would bring the focus back on good content and stories which cannot be merely judged by the ‘Likes’ and followers they receive. Here, it is to be noted that no doubt, ‘Like’ was a tool to measure the effectiveness of the content but it also brought in a lot of fake practices such as increasing ‘Likes’ by unfair means. Thus, this step by Instagram would help in putting an end to all these unethical practices and motivating the influencers to create engaging content.

2. The focus would be shifted to triggering actual brand building and longer audience relationships instead of just mere ‘Likes’: A part of the influencer marketing community believes that ‘Likes’ are not, and actually should not, be the sole basis of assessing brand performance. Instead, it is needed that businesses shift their focus to authenticity, higher quality content creation and building longer and deeper connections with their followers through influencers, all of which can eventually facilitate actual transactions and business growth. Hence, this move by Instagram would help in doing so.

3. The social media-depression issue would be sorted: This move to remove the ‘Like’ feature will also create a less stressful environment for the users. Till date, users where highly affected by the competitive environment and were constantly questioning and judging themselves on the basis of the ‘Likes’ that they received as compared to others, however, not so after this move. Thus, this step would highly reduce the number of depression cases in the country and thus can be considered as a good move in the right direction.

In a nutshell

Instagram’s decision to remove ‘Like’ feature is actually a boon for the influencer marketing community in India. This is because influencer marketing is much more than mere numbers and appreciative gestures. In fact, it is a relationship of the brand with its existing and potential customers through good stories and engaging content drafted by the talented influencers. Thus, this move of Instagram will definitely boost fruitful relationships and create happy and healthy users.

- By Ashutosh Harbola, CEO and Co-founder, Buzzoka
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