Here’s how to use a like-free Instagram.

If you’ve logged onto Instagram lately I’m sure you noticed a massive change – that the number of likes are no longer visible. 

Removing likes from Instagram is one of the biggest changes to hit the platform, ever. So the big question now is how to use Instagram, post likes? 

Instagram has been talking about removing likes from the platform since May 2019. They ran a trial in Canada and have now rolled out the test to more countries including Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand!

With the changes you’ll still be able to see how many people liked your post but you’ll no longer be able to see the number of likes on other accounts. 

Why did Instagram remove likes?  

Instagram has said that they have removed the like count to help minimise mental health problems in the community. However, the update also tied in with a significant 19% drop in organic engagement across the platform. 

 Although mental health concerns may be part of the reason behind the move – I think it’s safe to assume that Instagram knew such a significant change in the algorithm would spark pushback and may have rolled out the changes to distract from any possible algorithm changes. 

How should you be using Instagram now? 

Although we can’t see the total like counts,  they still count in the algorithm.  So you should continue to like posts that you connect with. However the updated change now means that comments will become even more important as social proof. 

If up until now your engagement strategy has relied heavily on liking posts, you’ll need to place a higher emphasis on comments. 

With likes removed, and organic engagement on the decline, now is the perfect time to review your social media strategy. Expanding your activity on other platforms, as well as making sure you’re driving your social media followers off the platform and onto your own website and email lists is now more important than ever.

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From the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri (@mosseri): “We know bullying is a challenge many face, particularly young people. We are committed to leading the industry in the fight against online bullying, and we are rethinking the whole experience of Instagram to meet that commitment. We can do more to prevent bullying from happening on Instagram, and we can do more to empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves. Today we’re announcing one new feature in both areas. 💙 Encouraging Positive Interactions In the last few days, we started rolling out a new feature powered by AI that notifies people when their comment may be considered offensive before it’s posted. This intervention gives people a chance to reflect and undo their comment and prevents the recipient from receiving the harmful comment notification. 🧡 Protecting Your Account From Unwanted Interactions With Restrict We wanted to create a feature that allows people to control their Instagram experience, without notifying someone who may be targeting them. Soon, we will begin testing a new way to protect your account from unwanted interactions called Restrict. 💛 It’s our responsibility to create a safe environment on Instagram. This has been an important priority for us for some time, and we are continuing to invest in better understanding and tackling this problem.” 💗 To learn more about these new updates, click the link in our bio. Artwork by @heysp

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Fall back in love with Instagram

We’re hearing around the place that people are feeling frustrated with Instagram. That people have plateaued or are feeling that they are not getting the same reach as even a few weeks ago. Has Instagram changed the algorithm again? Maybe. But at the end of the day, does it matter? 

Instagram is still a fantastic platform to connect with customers and grow your brand online. However, if you’re not feeling the love right now, here are some tips to shake it up!  

What are you posting on Instagram?

Have a look at your feed. Is it all looking a bit… the same?  
Mix it up. Post some behind the scenes shots. Got any work in progress?  Post that. Has something or someone inspired you lately? Share it with your followers. What are you dreaming about? Tell everyone! Change the conversation to see great results.

When are you posting on Instagram?

If you have an Instagram business account they tell you the best times to post. I find however that when you post at the exact same time your posts attract less and less engagement. Even adding an extra 30 minutes can result in a HUGE increase in likes and comments. If you usually post in the morning, try the evening. Think about when your customers might have some down time. Is it in bed before they head to work, after they drop the kids at school, on their lunch break, on public transport after work. Post at a different time of day and see what happens, and don't worry if Instagram says its not the 'best time'. 

How are you using Hashtags? 

When was the last time you reviewed your hashtags, and the number you use?  For a few days last week I used 5 hashtags LESS and saw my engagement go up. Varying the hashtags and amount used can give you big results. Maybe it’s that different people see it, or maybe Instagram just prefers accounts with less repetition. Variety is the spice of life after all.  

Are you connecting online?

The final tip - think about how you connect online. I’m a huge advocate for sharing the love by liking inspiring and cool images. Are you commenting too?  I’m not talking about those autobot comments like ‘too funny!'  or ‘this is beautiful’. Aim to leave a few meaningful comments on posts you connect with every day.  Remember social media is a two-way street.  

I'd love to hear if you use any of these tips and how they work for you. Have you discovered any tips that you find increase engagement?