Over the past few months in Australia we have had a huge change in the way that social media operates, particularly for brands and influencers. The removing of likes by both Instagram and now Facebook has caused outrage in some corners of the social media world and rejoicing in others. The question now is what this means for business, and I am the first person to say who the heck cares if they’ve hidden the likes – that’s not the point.
Outrageous, I know.
Likes had become a way for people to judge the successfulness of ideas, posts, campaigns, images, whatever – but what does a like really mean? It means someone has double tapped on an image, or recognises what is in the image, or was simply bored on the toilet – gross. Think about the images you have “liked” on Facebook or Instagram – can you remember them all? Are they significant in your mind? Or was it just a case of scrolling and mindlessly tapping as you go, as you see the pretty colours or recognise a cute top? These actions are ephemeral and not necessarily indicative of a greater level of interaction, engagement or brand recognition with your customers.
Not all things in social media land though are doom and gloom. People who actively like and follow your page will see your messages, which can encourage them to engage with your brand again. People who sign up for your email list will get your newsletter, people who subscribe to your YouTube channel will see your videos. That’s all great stuff – but we need to think about what we are sharing on those platforms and what value we are adding to our audience and why we want them to engage or interact with us on a deeper, more meaningful level.
We need to be focussing on metrics and information that have greater value than simple ephemerality. Digital marketing allows us to interact with our audience, wherever they may be, but we need to do so deliberately and significantly. We both have to ask for more from our audience and give more to our audience than being willing to accept anything less than their full attention. Because truly it is only when we have their full attention that we can seriously create any kind of change in behaviour or, most importantly, change in our business’s bottom line. So that means we need to change the way we use social media.
Let’s create blog posts that people will take time out of their day to read. Let’s create beautiful images that people want to share with their friends and family. Let’s make videos that speak to people and the way they view the world. Let’s send newsletters that wrap up what is going on in their world, your world, our world. Let’s drive anyone we work with online to our website so they can get all the information they need in one location. Let’s create bigger and better content that encourages true interaction with your audience, not just engagement.
But let’s stop putting any kind of value, measurement or self-worth in those ephemeral, transitory, unconscious likes. They’re not worth it, and it’s time we asked for more of ourselves and our digital marketing.