Social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram recently announced that they would be trying out a new feature that will hide the ‘like’ and ‘view’ counts for photo and posts. While they intend to curb unhealthy social media competition and its inherent evils, what will this decision mean for influencer marketing if it becomes a permanent feature or if it’s just the beginning of some similar tactics planned for the future?
Nosike Nwigene, Digital Marketing Manager at Insider, said that in a recent interview, that, “the concept of influencer marketing has been largely abused.” Her firm INSIDER is a PR agency that connects entrepreneurs in emerging markets to media influencers across the US and Europe. She added that ‘ it’s gone from leveraging the genuine relationship with typically an audience that listens and is likely to act on content to the ruse that it is today – pay for play, build a follower base by however mans possible and wait till a brand comes along with a cheque.’
Based on data from Instagram, users currently like more than 4.2 billion posts every day
Likes and comments are only the semblances of awareness a social media influencer can wield, but sometimes it isn’t considered the real stuff. For professional marketers, to track actual conversions, influencer marketers utilize several ways to measure influencer activities such as assigning unique referral links with UTM tags or coupon codes and measuring whose links or codes have converted the most leads or from where the most traffic has been generated.
Hiding the likes and comments feature may primarily affect user behavior but will more or less force influencer marketers to be more thorough and bullish about actual engagement from influencers as against reliance on vanity metrics to decide which ones should push what brand campaigns. However, Twitter’s approach is a little bit different. In their experimental prototype app, twitter, like and view counts are hidden and only appear when tapped, something they hope will veer off an obsession with numbers and towards more conversations. Also, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, is said to be toying with the idea of having the follower count also removed entirely from the platform.
Some media influencers argued that hiding follower count might deviate from the essence of the platform. They further stressed that if you take out the follower count, there will be no influencer marketing. How would you know that an individual has built a community that you can target as a brand?
With minimal focus on likes and views count, there will be a considerable focus on the quality of content influencers can come up with making use of brand guidelines as these will have to pass across a brand’s essence and drive users to go through with a call – to – action instead of mindless double taps and generic comments. Influencer marketing tools that are used to identify influencers might also be big winners if these features become a permanent as brands will have to use analytics provided by a third – party app development companies to seek influencers instead of vanity metrics.