Instagram Is Removing Likes: What You Need to Know

By Patty McNease, VP of Brand Marketing for Homes.com

Since its creation in 2010, Instagram has become one of the top social media platforms. According to recent stats, one billion people use Instagram every month.
 
Even with its booming popularity, Instagram is releasing a major change to the U.S. app in the near future. A recent announcement from Instagram's CEO, Adam Mosseri, shared that the platform would be removing public likes. In a follow-up tweet, the company said they wanted users to "focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get." Their main focus is to make users' well-being and mental health a priority, rather than popularity.
 
Why the Change?
Instagram says the reason behind the change is so users will focus on the content being posted rather than how many likes it has. While this may seem like a negative shift, keep in mind that Instagram Stories exploded in popularity, even though users couldn't see how many views each story had. Instead, they were watching because they wanted to be in the loop, or they were interested in the content.
 
How Will It Work?
While this roll-out has already taken place in seven countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand), only a select group of U.S. citizens will see the change. Instead of seeing the number of people who have liked a post, users will see a couple people who have liked it, but that's all. The poster, however, will still be able to see who and how many people liked their posts.
 
What Does This Mean for Businesses?
Overall, this change shouldn't cause much of an issue for businesses. They'll still be able to see how many people are interested in what they post. The only potential negative could be that, since users won't see how popular posts are, they might not "like" them. Even still, this is fairly inconsequential. Brands can use other metrics to see how their posts are doing, such as saves, reach or impressions. It also gives them the opportunity to try new kinds of content that didn't necessarily fit with their social plan before.
 
What Can Agents Do About It?
Since this change shouldn't drastically affect your social reach, there aren't many things that need to be done. However, here are three general guidelines that can help you form better connections with your audience.
 
1. Content Is King. While this has been a best practice for years, it's even more important now. Follow the 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of your posts aim to engage your audience and 20 percent are about your business. Whereas before, you may have been scheduling your posts based on how many likes you received, now you can post as topics are relevant. Instead of relying on likes to tell you what's popular, create posts that support what you want your business to represent.
 
2. Be Helpful. One of the best things you can do for your followers is provide value. It's a great way to build trust and help them associate your brand with positivity and usefulness. Share your favorite local coffee houses or advice for holiday decorating while trying to sell your home. Utilize the power of Instagram Stories to showcase landscaping tips to increase curb appeal or interview a home inspector so the process seems less daunting to potential clients.
 
3. Be Genuine. Instead of thinking about "what will get the most likes," consider what will create the most meaningful engagement. Give a behind-the-scenes look at life as an agent by taking your followers through your office. Instagram can be a great way for people to get to know you before they even meet you. It can be the perfect opportunity for you to show potential clients who they would be working with so that they can start to build a strong foundation that will support a trusting relationship.
 
Instagram is a great platform for sharing content with your followers. It can be challenging to create content that will bolster engagement, and it can take some time to learn the platform and how it works. If you need help with building your social presence, let Homes.com help! Our team of social media experts can help you find and engage with your audience. Learn more about Homes.com Social Fuel at Marketing.Homes.com.
 
Patty McNease is vice president of Brand Marketing for Homes.com. For more information, please visit marketing.homes.com.

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