The other day, I logged onto my Instagram account to see a funky new format showing underneath the posts on my feed. Low and behold, the number of likes was gone. Can I get an amen?!?
This Thanksgiving, one thing we can be thankful for is the elimination of the "like." It's something that we have learned (or been forced) to value in our toolbelt of marketing strategy. Any marketer you talk to knows that a social media marketing strategy is a must.
I get it. It's a content marketer's dream - unlimited, mostly free access to every platform user, all of which total out to millions of potential eyeballs. However, at the same time, you have to question how much stock should we put into the number of "likes" certain users or organizations receive?
In the article, "Stop Wanting to Be Liked: Instagram Is Doing It For You Anyway," the writer speaks to this new conundrum that has popped up on the digital marketing scene. Ann proposes that this is an opportunity for your social media strategy to pause and grow. Take a step back from the world of social media and analyze how this makes room for more freedom in your approach. We love her recommendation to not use "likes" as a key metric for your strategy impact.
Have you ever noticed some organizations that have thousands of page follows, but their posts get zero to one likes regularly? If you're familiar with social media marketing, then you know that generally, you have to pay for your likes through running ads or boosting posts. That's all fine and dandy when your page follows double overnight, but then you might notice those new followers never interact with your posts. Huh? What's going on here?
This tell-tale sign speaks to the depth of this brand-audience relationship. Unless you're a mega-brand like Nike or someone like Taylor Swift with a vast following, social media presence is necessary but not the core platform to rely on as far as public approval. It all depends on your organization's brand, size, and where your audience hangs out.
Putting stock in your email and website conversions is an excellent place to obtain real feedback from your audience. Think about how much junk mail we get in our inboxes every day. Opening an email is something that is a deliberate, purpose-driven choice. So is visiting someone's website.
On the other hand, scrolling a social media feed can turn into a mindless activity, something we do when we are bored or feeling nosy. The simple act of liking can be an impulsive, quick response. Sometimes on a great day, I'll like everything I see on my feed simply because I'm in a great mood! It has nothing to do with the content I'm viewing. Catch me on a bad day, and it's the opposite.
The article also reminds us that social media is "rented land" we don't own. There are all kinds of factors influencing your content views. Even when paid for, some algorithm or back-end operator is deciding how much your content is popping up on people's feeds.
But with email or website, that is the intellectual property of your nonprofit or business. People are making a conscious choice to interact with your organization through those platforms. That is a relationship you can count on.
Out with the old and in with the new is the name of the game in marketing. Our industry is one that never stops changing. Being willing to adapt to the digital landscape and its rules is a requirement for staying relevant in content marketing. It's essential to view everything through a positive lens as an opportunity for growth.
When you're saying grace with your family this Thanksgiving, give thanks for the elimination of the "like."
You can bet we will be doing the same!