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I’m sure you’ve read the dozens of articles the past few weeks about Instagram testing out hiding the number of likes on posts. Now this is only a test and there’s no reason to think that Instagram is going to roll this update out world-wide, but it doesn’t hurt to go ahead and start planning just in case they do.

So the question is, if others can’t see how many likes are on a post, how will this affect Instagram’s algorithm, my discoverability, and the ability to get in front of my followers?

First things first, likes do not equal dollars. Just because a post gets a lot of likes doesn’t mean that it translates to actual business.

At this point obviously there’s no real way to tell if this will have an effect on fan interaction and discoverability, but in my opinion it does show that Facebook and Instagram are pushing more and more towards conversation and what they call “real connections”. So in my opinion that’s the biggest thing your Instagram strategy should focus on. Here’s a few ideas to keep in mind if this update comes to the rest of the world.

Encourage Conversations

As of this moment, Instagram seems to prefer posts that have lots of comments, specifically conversations. If Instagram does go the route of removing likes it seems like even more emphasis will be put on comments and conversations. Your content should try to encourage people to tag a friend or share their experience.

Instagram post with lots of comments performs well
Stories. Stories. Stories.

When Instagram introduced a stories function many thought that would be the end of snapchat. Stories have become a valuable tool for brands to continue to get in front of their followers even when their main posts might not be easily seen.

Example of popular stories
The stories that are pushed to the left are a combo of updated recently and ones that you interact with the most

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the stories that tend to show up on the top left of your screen are the brands / people you tend to watch the most. This absolutely falls in line with Facebook always saying that they want to show the content they think people want to see first (not necessarily chronologically). So with that being the case your brand should have a solid stories strategy to get as many views as possible and be able to stay in front of your fans even if your main posts don’t.

Increase the Number of Posts

This is an easy strategy. Most brands don’t post enough as is, due to the sheer number of brands people typically follow your post might just get lost in the shuffle. By increasing the number of posts in a day, you’re increasing the likelihood that your posts will be seen by fans.

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