Instagram Likes: A New Frontier Is Here
As soon as I heard about the changes Instagram are trailing in regards to the hiding of likes (if you haven't heard the news, get yourself up to speed here) I was understandably worried. A lot of my work with influencers, including deciding on which influencers to work with, happens largely through engagement rates, which I calculate using likes, comments and views. From a mental health point of view, I was relieved; even as a 22 year old woman, I have days where I compare my life to those I see every day on social media, and seeing my younger sister affected by the standards set by not only influencers but the people around us is scary. However, the marketing half of my brain was screaming - how was I going to continue my work with influencers if my main indicator of worth was being ripped from my hands?
It was in the midst of my blind panic that I had an epiphany - this could become a huge opportunity for everyone who works with influencers to view the way they see the industry.
I'll be the first to admit that some marketers (myself included) can rely too heavily on vanity metrics to determine the success of a campaign. The first question I am often asked by clients is 'so, how many likes did we get?', but really, the more important questions should be how can we see brand awareness increasing, how many sales did we make, and did we increase any positive conversations surrounding the brand? The biggest opportunity I can see from the potential changes, is the chance to reevaluate what we look for when searching for influencers to collaborate with. No longer will we look for the most likes, but we will look for the most meaningful conversations created during previous campaigns, and determine whether an influencer's following will recognise the product being promoted, or are they just happy to see their favourite Instagram star posting again?
This will, in turn, generate more open and honest conversations with influencers when setting up campaigns and building relationships. Not only will influencers will need to be brutally honest about the likes their posts rack up, but brands and marketers will also need to be completely transparent about why they are looking to collaborate with influencers; whether this is to generate interest in a certain product and therefore pointing followers to a web page, or building a following on social media, pointing followers towards the brand's native pages. Marketers will need to see influencers less as living, breathing billboards, but more as the talented creators they are, working together to create content that is bound to strike up conversations and drive results, rather than the lazy techniques some marketing teams have fallen into recently.
Unfortunately, these changes will make influencer marketing a little harder and a lot more time consuming, however, it does make it a very interesting time to get involved with influencers who are a perfect fit for your brand. Should you require expert assistance with influencer marketing campaigns, or would like to train your staff to seek out better influencers for their campaigns, please feel free to get in touch.