How will the removal of likes on Facebook and Instagram change social-media?

Likes, comments, and shares are our main tool to measure the popularity of posts and are probably the 3 main “at-a-glance” engagement metrics we look at as marketers. 

Social media “like” buttons create a sense of competition among users however they are often seen as vanity metrics and have no real value for businesses or people. At one point or another, we will have all been sucked into the realm of validation through either a thumbs up or a double-tap. 

Liking a post on social media is an automatic response for most people and doesn’t necessarily equate to real engagement when people do it by default or engage automatically. When we like something on social media it can be to show support, to say I agree, to say I hear you or to say we approve but it doesn’t mean we are going to take any specific actions. The importance of sharing meaningful content has been lost with “like culture” but when the display of likes is removed from the equation people will be forced to share more meaningful content to engage with their followers on a deeper level. 

Facebook’s official statement showed they believed in the importance of meaningful content. “We don’t want Facebook to feel like a competition — we hope to learn whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story,” 

Businesses will need to move quickly to ensure they are not left behind.

Brands who use influencers with a large following but gain less engagement may find themselves shifting towards influencers with a smaller following in order to gain real engagement where the influencer can actually encourage a share or site click through and improve the ROI for the brand. As marketers, we should be reviewing deeper metrics to ascertain organic performance. Here is a list of metrics to consider how we should be reviewing and measuring engagement metrics:

  • Shares and comments
  • Follows and Likes of the Brands
  • Scrolls through Feeds
  • Viewing profiles and stories
  • Shopping on social sites
  • Overall clicks
  • Link click-throughs
  • Stories – Exit rate
  • Video – watch time

Social media sites can measure our actions and see, for example, how long we paused on posts, how much of a video we viewed, where we clicked on a specific post, our history of engagement with certain brands, where we hover, what we click and therefore can calculate what’s best to show us next.

For Consumers, they will see a more accurate feed of posts that they are actually interested in. For Businesses, the removal of the like button will lead to a more engaged audience who are more likely to lead to conversions. There may be less overall interaction with a post but the interactions posts do gage will be far more substantial. 

This will force businesses to look deeper at their metrics to get a better connection and response from their audience. Building more meaningful connections with their followers.

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