As Instagram tests its ‘like’ ban, influencers will have to shift tactics to make money

Instagram recently announced that it is expanding the company’s test of hiding “likes” on posts to more markets around the globe. When the company kicked off this initiative in April they positioned it as a way of creating “a less pressurized environment” on the app.

But what does this mean for influencers who count on engagement metrics to prove their value to brands and make a living? Will the shift – likely meant to increase paid media on the app – disrupt and reduce the need for organic social media, affecting both influencers and PR companies that rely on Instagram as part of their brand awareness strategies?

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR and crisis communications expert, gave his thoughts on this change and its effects on the industry and I thought they might be useful for an upcoming piece.

“Instagram is making it clear that they are done letting people profit off their platform while using it for free. Influencers have a few choices here: they can start putting money behind their posts, cutting into profits but ultimately boosting their visibility and therefore their value to brands; continue with their current strategy and hope that their audience continues to see their content, taking the risk that brands may not see the value in working with them without being able to see engagement metrics; or shift their energy to other social platforms. Companies that advise clients on their social media presence also need to make smart choices and begin to advise their clients to seriously consider investing in paid social – organic social media is clearly on its way out as these platforms devise new ways to make money from their users. Ultimately, anyone who uses social media to make money needs to realize that the free ride is over.”