Intertwined into the fabric of contemporary life; whilst fantastic as a marketing tool – for some; social media feeds the pursuit for personal validation.
Deemed detrimental to our mental health – this symbiosis of the human psyche and the internet, leaves us measuring the status of individuals by their number of Instagram ‘likes’ or friends on Facebook. We upload ‘selfies’ to harness attention from followers – dreading the humiliating alternative; a barren online presence with no ‘likes’ at all.
On account of this obsession synonymous with Millennials and the emerging Generation Z; Facebook and Instagram are experimenting with the veiling of likes, reactions and views from their platforms. So far, this has been trialled in seven countries including Australia, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy and Japan.
If the alteration is permanently implemented; what does it mean for businesses who utilise social media to generate revenue? Will the inability to see ‘likes’ decrease activity on the network or initiate a greater focus on the content shared?
Some argue that by altering the visibility of social media ‘likes’, the influence of a brand is nullified – putting a company’s popularity into question. However, judging a business’ authenticity by their depicted social media reactions is a somewhat superficial assessment.
By removing ‘likes’; audiences are instead drawn solely to the quality and creativity of material posted – hence why marketing departments will face new challenges in terms of generating campaigns that resonate with audiences. With the dissipation of these ‘vanity’ metrics; Instagram and Facebook can halt those who attempt to play the system by purchasing ‘likes’ – forcing companies to instead pay attention to engagement, views and actual sales.
There is a possibility that comments will replace ‘likes’; thus amplifying the importance of creating engaging content that perhaps ventures into topics shrouded in a degree of controversy. By evoking an emotional response from followers – engagement ensues; thus formulating an audience.
As it continues to shape our society, social media’s impact on the masses is sublime; the potential to connect and influence is seemingly infinite – and yet, the technology continues to evolve – redefining its ability to reach the individual. The elimination of ‘likes’ from specific platforms may mark a further transformation for these rapidly shifting applications – or perhaps, it serves as a reminder that the industry is far wider than Facebook and Instagram.
In a business as expeditious as social media; it’s important to be aligned with a group who keep a firm finger on the pulse of web-based communication. At Cordis; we offer social expertise paired with creative flare; integral in overcoming future hurdles presented by the ever-changing online landscape.