With the latest IG update, now you can toggle on or off the like visibility. All that nonsense about mental health and stopping people from feeling bad by hiding the like count was just that. Nonsense. Well, actually, Instagram did that to squeeze the little chance of organically making it as a brand without paying for ads. The principle is rather well known. Herd mentality. The more likes you see on someone’s profile, the more inclined you are to pay attention to what they have to say and show. Respectively, even if the content is stellar and innovative, you won’t pay much mind if you’re seeing 0 engagement from other users. To see how that impacted the growth, peak, and downfall of Instagram and equally what to take away from their mistakes and success, read below and take notes. Also, stream the playlist at the end of the article if you’ve found this piece of knowledge useful.
Question #1: Why Did Instagram Hide Likes In The First Place?
Based off the herd mentality, small businesses used to engage in automated bots, like for like strategies, and artificially pumped engagement to drive eventually organic traffic. And it worked. Content creators and small businesses who were undeniably great used to find success rather immediately by employing alternative routes to paid advertisement. This was much cheaper than paying for promoting every damn photo/video you put up. And Instagram caught on. They got mightily angry and greedy and put a stop to it. They wanted every single soul that had something to sell, to put money into their pockets first. And they succeeded. In shooting themselves in the f*cking foot. They drastically cut the daily like limit from 1000 to 200 (they increased it back to 300-400 now), they exterminated accounts that were meme-oriented, and pretty much eliminated any free speech behavior. Not to mention they got unqualified fact-checkers and our own music post on the Blue Rhymez Entertainment IG page once got taken down as false information. Say what? How can posting a music video be considered false information? Oh well. Content creators and small business owners found themselves with no alternative but to pay for ads. And many shelled out from $50 a month to hundreds or even thousands to get the same results as before with an automated bot that used to cost as little as $10 a month.
Question #2: How Did Instagram’s Aggressive Stop To Automation Translate For The Platform In The Long Run?
Initially, they got a raise in income with many more paying for ads right around 2017. Then TikTok came in and starting with Gen Z, people went in droves to join the ad-free platform (ads only started fairly recently) with a much better algorithm that allowed creative geniuses with no budgets to still get visibility, engagement, and paid opportunities. You see, there are many more small businesses and indie creators (artists without backing, book authors with a publishing house, singers without a label, actors without an agency, cooks without a network, comedians without a platform, etc.) than big house names. You kill the masses, you’ll soon find yourself with NO users. Which is what happened with Instagram. The initial ad revenue boost soon came to an abrupt halt and a dead-on Instagram exodus as dubbed by the majority of social media analysts and experts. The current IG user engagement is a scary 0.9%. So yeah, mathematically IG is dead.
Question #3: How Is Instagram Coping With Its Dramatic Loss Of Users?
By bringing the likes back! Whether we like to admit it or not, since medieval times, heck even further back than that if you really think about it, people have differentiated themselves and invented hierarchy systems. That alone is the fundamental reason why Wall Street even exists. If we were kind, harmonious, generous, self-conscious, and non-judgemental, we wouldn’t need a stock market to tell us the value of a company. We would fairly pay everyone equally. But do you ever see this happening in this world? Nope. It didn’t happen while Jesus was here it’s not gonna happen anytime soon. So Instagram in its greediness to make more money assumed the role of peacemaker and social media therapist for the billions of people around the world who used to actively spend their time on the platform. That sh*t backfired so bad that MySpace Tom must be laughing heartily about these modern fools. On its brink of extinction, Instagram brought the likes back with a twist. They’re giving you the option to hide them or make them visible. If they had openly admitted defeat by simply making the likes visible again to everyone, their brand wouldn’t mean jack. They would have to swallow their words openly and publicly and Facebook’s stock price would plummet and probably never recover. So to save face, they gave us all the option to choose whether we wanna see the like count or not.
Question #4: What’s My Takeaway From Instagram’s Mess?
Lesson number one: Know why your audience is following you in the first place. If it’s for your body more than your music, don’t start getting dressed all of a sudden unless you’re absolutely okay with losing 90% of your fans and building a new audience from scratch.
Lesson number two: Don’t turn off lower-income fans by catering only to the rich audience. There are many more poor people in this world than rich people. Find the middle ground and cater to the masses for numbers and to the rich for stable income and paid opportunities. Equally, don’t get all up in your arms about fans pirating your music. They’re doing you a favor by promoting you for free to the masses.
Lesson number three: Know when to admit defeat and switch directions. There have been more than a few cases in the music industry when artists have taken on a political agenda, lost way too many fans and suddenly stopped and pledged to never again entertain politics. Or they had to take the L and commit to their cause forever as not to irreparably tarnish their credibility. So watch your mouth really really closely because it takes little to destroy a decade-long success.
Did you know you can help upcoming artists significantly by donating your time? You read that right. By streaming the playlist below you will be helping a good 30 highly determined and ambitious artists that we’ve hand-picked from across the world. And their music is actually good.