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Instagram Tests "Like" Ban, What Brands Should Know

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Instagram Tests "Like" Ban, What Brands Should Know

Tracy Teuscher

Facebook-owned Instagram is testing the removal of the “Like” in seven countries. We reviewed coverage from PR Week, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Time, The Guardian, NPR, CNET and Business Today. Here are some takeaways.

Here’s the Good News

  • The change will help brands focus more on traditional PR, earned media and owned media. And, that’s smart. (We’ll never own social media. Let’s focus on what will always give us the best ROI.)

Although positioned to create a "less pressurized" environment for personal users, the move by Instagram is perceived as a power play to shift market investment away from Instagram influencers toward the Instagram marketing platform. The selective removal of the “Like”:

  • Is being tested in 7 countries including Canada

  • If implemented, would change the way Instagram influencers work

  • Would remove immediate engagement insights for brands

  • Would change brand approach to developing an authentic following, even for brands getting help from a paid service (not to be confused with fake followers)

  • Is meant to encourage users to comment vs. “Like”

    (But, will people do it? If so, will it mean more quality comments and conversations? Or just more emojis? And, does this create a new system of engagement metrics and user insights for brands? It must, right? Some reports say time spent on the platform, engagement, comments, and profile views will rise to the top as key performance indicators. What about website visits? And, conversion metrics beyond the website visit? Yes, how about that?)

How Brands Should Respond

  • Focus more energy, creativity and budget on developing owned and earned media

  • Leverage Instagram to share authentic brand conversations, culture and insights that engage, inform and inspire

  • Use strategic calls to action, content marketing and promotion of earned media to more deeply engage audiences and provide better performance metrics

What Instagram Seems to Want Brands to Do

  • Invest the influencer dollar with the Instagram platform vs. the influencer

  • Develop more conversations

  • Post more often

  • Publish more video

But, consider these tactics as part of an owned media and earned media strategy that will deliver the best results for your brand.

Copyright 2019 Tracy L. Teuscher, APR