With Instagram deciding on hiding ‘likes’ to make the platform non-competitive, and connection and community driven, we talk to influencers to understand how, if at all, it impacts them. Sameer Bawa, whose Instagram account @spiceitupwithsam has 82,600 followers said he saw this move coming for a while as a lot of people started relating 'likes' and followership to real acknowledgement. As an influencer, Bawa says that the recent move won’t affect his work at all. “My work is based on content. I try to keep it vibrant with fine dining, stories on street food, chef talks and travel stories. So, when brands approach me, they look at the variations I offer and that is why they collaborate with me.
However, this move would definitely affect those who have a singular approach to social media that is number driven. There are those who have built fake followership and engagement is being bought.” Bawa stresses that at the end of the day it is the content that really matters.
Echoing the same is Mugdha Kapoor, aka @mksdiaries, who stresses on how the move can be looked at from two perspectives. “In some cases, it will adversely affect the influencers’ business, but as far as I think, most, just like myself, are going to consider this as positive move.
The scenario in the influencers’ business platform is run by likes and content is secondary. With this move I think content will rule the game, which should actually be the case. Also, with this, the unethical practices of buying likes and followers just to present a different version of oneself will sort of come to an end.” Prachi Sharma, aka @sharmajikibadibeti, a lifestyle blogger, feels that with likes being hidden from the audience it might create a new challenge for influencers to justify brands that there is quality engagement on their posts. “However, it will also help brands discover good quality content.
This change will definitely lead to more quality content being produced and is a good move in a country like India where becoming an influencer has become a trend.” Instagram influencers are now looking forward to shift to content from the number of likes.
“I think the focus will move a lot to the quality of content you post. Earlier as one use to visit a profile, the number of likes used to be a major distraction, but now number of likes will come much later into the picture,” says, Shambhavi Mishra, who is behind the account @talksassy, adding, “Most brands these days do ask for insights before they finalise any influencer for their campaign. So, nonetheless they will eventually have access to the likes. Arwa Kaka, a PR consultant who has just recently started her official account on Instagram, feels that it will have some effect on the work.
“One look at your Instagram account showcases the reach you have. I think it does affect the work, not only for influencers but across the market. No doubt your work speaks for you but elements like the number of likes also shows the kind of people are following you, an insight that helps one understand the target audience.” As a lot of business revolves around Insta likes and the money involved is huge, it would be interesting to see if and only the intentions of the creators come true – to make it a less competitive space and more focused on connections, conversations and community, and not completely a business.