Arguably THE BIGGEST thing to hit the online world this year… Is the sweet numbers between our post image and caption disappearing into thin air like a plate of chocolate glazed donuts at a kid’s birthday party. *poof* Just like that.
Businesses have been going nuts with the online cake world divided on the subject of the ‘Instagram Likes Ban’. Instagram influencers and those who have worked tirelessly over the years to gain those hard-earned Likes are now reeling at the sudden loss of “endorsement” that Likes often provide.
So just Why did Instagram impose the Likes Ban?
Interestingly, Instagram erased the Likes number to remove the “need” for people to get likes for mental health purposes. It is not surprising that users from a psychological standpoint tend to lose confidence when they don’t again enough attention or Likes on social media platforms. There has also been an unhealthy shift towards society tying one’s self-esteem and self-worth to the number of Likes received. This, is precisely the issue Instagram is attempting to tackle with this ban.
So far at the time that this blog is written, only Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand have seen the effects of this change. To my knowledge at this point, this rollout is still in a testing phase with Facebook; it may be permanent or they may decide to lift the ban. For now, it is possible that they may roll it out to more countries.
What is the real impact of the Instagram Likes Ban to cake businesses?
Whilst it might seem otherwise, the impact of the Likes Ban is actually not as huge as one would think. The only real effect that cake businesses and influencers might face is the inability for them and others to see how “popular” they are.
What’s important to understand however, is that people still can and are engaging with posts normally with the only difference being not having the number visible. So this means that every single one of your followers can Like, comment and engage with your posts in exactly the same way as before the ban. The only REAL difference is the invisibility of the number.
In conversation with a notable online marketing strategist this week, he stated that looking at stats, businesses that have been surveyed across industries have seen little to no change in the way people interact with their posts on their Instagram platforms despite the Likes ban. Whoa… hang on a sec. Did you get that? The observable user behaviour is that people are still Liking, Commenting and tagging businesses AS PER USUAL even with such a significant feature change. I’ve observed this to be true even with my own behaviour on Instagram. Throughout the past week, I have Liked and commented on posts as per usual and didn’t change the way I use the app as my habits of interacting with posts have already been so ingrained.
Upon contemplation, I also think that new or smaller accounts should rejoice as the Likes Ban actually helps even the playing field a little. Meaning, those struggling to “break through the noise” now have the opportunity to shine without having to worry about their number of Likes.
Another positive effect to mention is that this change could possibly help eliminate businesses that buy likes. Again, levelling out the playing field of competition.
So, what should Cake Decorating Businesses and Influencers do in the wake of the Likes Ban?
Well, it’s straightforward if you truly understand at the core, what role Instagram plays in your business. It is to engage and connect with individuals all over the globe who have a shared passion for what you do, believe in, provide or sell. We cake decorators should just focus on what we do best and that is creating incredible works, pushing the boundaries of our craft and sharing them on the platform… Business as usual.
We should focus on creating posts that ENRICH people’s lives and not just on attracting Likes. In an earlier blog post titled ‘Top Instagram Strategies for Cake Business’ I wrote that:
Rather than posting up a pic thinking “I hope this will get likes and sales from followers”… Might I suggest approaching posts creation this way… “What can I post to provide value, excitement and quality for my following? How can I offer a product or service that will make their lives better, happier and more lovely?”
If you need pointers on how to grow your cake business or creative efforts with Instagram, I would encourage you to read the full Instagram post here and also to check out my free PDF guide ‘Instagram Tools for Cake Business’ which will point you towards some of the apps & websites that I use to plan & strategically curate my Instagram feed.
In addition to the above, some other great things to do now would be to:
- Build relationships: Realise that you are interacting with REAL people and not just a number. Respond to comments, interact with users, collaborate and start seeing how to best meet your followers needs.
- Start working to improve the quality of your Images on Instagram. With the playing field now levelled out, it’s anyone’s game and those with eye-catching images and interesting captions will stand out from the pack. If you struggle with taking good photos of your work, I’ve got a blog post about this ‘Editing Tips for Gorgeous Cake Photos’ which you can read here.
- Create a content calendar to promote your business: Plan and choose post topics that makes sense for your customers & business rather than just to get Likes.
- Realise that Instagram is and should always be only ONE marketing channel out of many. If Instagram was your only marketing strategy for your cake hustle, this should be a wakeup call to invest in other marketing channels whilst also maintaining your following on the ‘gram. We all don’t have and real power over social media apps and we need to ensure that all our eggs aren’t invested in one basket, as overnight… any single algorithm change could undo years of work.
So is it still worth using Instagram for my cake decorating work?
You betcha! It sure doesn’t look like Instagram is going anywhere anytime soon, and with it being a Visual-based platform, it’s the PERFECT place for cake decorators to showcase their best work! Facebook (who owns Instagram) are always endeavouring to provide the best user experience so rather than pulling our hair out and getting frustrated whenever a new change or algorithm tweak is rolled out, we should just roll with the punches. After all, everyone is in the same boat. I love this quote and I’ll wrap up this post by letting you contemplate these wise words:
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” – John Maxwell
I’d love to know, what is your number 1 thing you struggle with on Instagram? Let me know below so I can address those topics in future articles. Till then, keep up the cake hustle! Xx