If you haven’t been on social media, specifically Instagram recently, you would be unaware that Instagram has decided to test the removal of likes (surprise!) This test started oversees and has now made its way into the United States. There isn’t an actual number of users that this has affected, but from the buzz of the internet, it seems to be quite a lot. So, you may be thinking, “so what?” or “who cares, it’s just a like!” but, this removal of likes has impacted influencers and business accounts in a negative way. For many social media influencers, the money and partnerships they obtain are solely based on their following, and a large number of likes their images get. Many celebrities and influencers believe that this removal will ruin the nature of Instagram. The motivation to post could dramatically decrease, making the app become obsolete. Now, I know you may be wondering why I’m talking about celebrities and influencers when this blog is for caterers. Well, many caterers use Instagram to showcase their work and to increase awareness of their brand. Caterers could lose their social media presence, making their work less credible.
Although this test sounds mostly negative for many who rely on social media for an income, there are some benefits as well. The main reason this change was made is due to the large impact these likes have on people’s mental health. When a picture or video is posted, the user often seeks validation through the number of likes or views it receives, consciously or not. A caterer could create the most delicious food and provide the best service around, but if their Instagram account doesn’t have an impressive following and a large number of likes, it may come off as if they are less than amazing. Taking away likes creates an even playing field for anyone who uses the app. Without likes, anyone can post whatever they desire without having to feel insecure about it. Eliminating this pressure can inspire people to be more creative and feel the freedom to be themselves. Caterers can now post without questioning whether or not their food looks perfect or if it’s being represented how they want through an event. Another element this removal could affect is people’s likelihood to like an image (no pun intended). When an image doesn’t have many likes, people are less likely to share or like it themselves — knowing that only the creator can see your like could remove the weird stigma around liking images with few likes.
All aboard the negative train! While there are positives to this like removal, there are a few negative aspects. For influencers, businesses and caterers alike, removing likes can make it difficult to identify spam accounts. Back in the olden days, circa two days ago, a spam account was distinguished by having a ton of followers with little engagements (aka likes). Now that the likes are removed, users will not be able to recognize fake accounts easily. The inability to filter out which accounts are authentic verse fake could create an issue for businesses because their accounts could easily get lost in the crowded platform. Another negative that could arise is a lack of exposure due to the unimportance of likes. Will posts for your business become harder to push to the public? For many companies, “boosting” a post, or putting money on a post, can increase viewership and engagement. Although likes help put posts on the map, there are many other ways to boost your content. Using a trending hashtag or placing a location on an image can increase the likelihood of users seeing your post. With all things considered, Instagram is still testing this approach, and nothing is set in stone. The only thing we can do is plan for the future and watch all the happenings unfold (buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!)