Influencers are fighting for attention as Instagram tests removing likes from its platform: 'There's no audience applause at the end of a performance'
Samantha Lee/Business Insider
- Instagram has been testing in some countries what its platform would look like without likes appearing on posts.
- The removal of likes is designed to improve the lives of consumers, but influencers are starting to feel the impact of the change on their accounts and their brands.
- But brands value "authentic" influencers who are their "true selves" more than engagement metrics such as likes, influencer marketers tell Business Insider.
- Influencers say it's a catch-22: Instagram's built-in algorithm values engagement for curating the posts that show up first in front of users, meaning that influencers - especially those that Instagram chose to remove likes from - have found their content is getting much less reach than ever before.
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The easiest link that brings together social media's wide range of consumers and influencers is a simple need: validation.
Instagram - one of those places for likes, comments, followers, and reblogs - has recently tried to curb that need. The platform has been testing out what it would look like without the "like" feature, claiming the feature will help to reduce its associated impacts on mental health and societal pressure. The "like" feature won't be hidden completely; users can see the number of likes on their own posts, but not on others' pictures and videos.
The results of the tested removal of likes are still being collected; the test only rolled out in July to some users in seven countries. But some consumers have started to share their reactions to the change. In a recent article for Huffington Post, affected users said they appreciated the less pressurized, more carefree version of Instagram without likes.
But for influencers in those countries, response to the change has been different. Although influencers Business Insider talked to haven't seen significant change yet to their business and brand deals, the idea of a like-less Instagram makes many of them nervous. Affected influencers have already noticed their posts are getting fewer likes and less engagement, pushing their posts farther down in Instagram's algorithmic feed. Some have expressed concerns it'll affect their reach and ability to grow on the platform.
Others say that the popularity-contest-style pressure associated with Instagram likes will just shift to another one of the many metrics measured on the platform.
"I really think that likes are just part of the platform," Canadian influencer Jess Grossman told Business Insider. "What can I do? It's a platform I'm using for free."