Organic is on the Decline?
If you are active on any social platform, you are aware of the movement content has taken from organic to paid. Social media over the years has changed from a simple timeline ranking of when content was published, to elaborate algorithms that have kept marketers up at night trying to find a way out of what appears to be a never-ending maze of complex puzzles.
For organizations who choose to implement an organic social media program, whether it’s due to a lack of budget or simply because paying for content doesn’t appear to benefit the ROI, the struggle to obtain reach and engagement with followers has been a battle often fought.
And if you are a marketer, you’ve likely scoured the Internet in a desperate attempt (multiple times, and from multiple sources) to find something that explains the mysteries of the social media algorithms.
As luck would have it, just when you think you have an “ah-ha!” moment, those platforms change their algorithms… Again.
In a recent announcement, Instagram informed its users that it was testing out a version of its app that removed the display of likes on a post. For users who had posted the content, they would be able to see who had liked their image, but for their followers, they would only see the photo and the text displayed below it.
While this is not an update that has been confirmed to take place permanently across the platform as a whole, it is worth noting from a marketing standpoint. When determining social media metrics for campaign strategies, the amount of likes a post gets is referred to as engagement. Tracking engagement is important, because it is used to determine if content being posted is resonating with followers. For organic social media campaigns, this access to information is incredibly helpful.
In a similar vein, the rise of social media influencers has led to likes on a post being significant to determining who is a genuine influencer, and who is not. There are other components that are used to determine the validity of an influencer, but engagement through likes and comments is certainly one of them.
The potential removal of post likes from Instagram would create friction between marketers struggling to demonstrate the value of a campaign with organizations that do not have a visual to point to. Not only that, but the budding growth of influencer marketing could falter due to difficulties in determining credibility.
Nothing is set in stone, but changes are on the way. Social media is entering the stages where it is no longer considered inconsequential, but a valued asset that spans multiple industries. The true question that lingers, however, is if we’ll eventually find ourselves unable to choose between organic and paid social media. We may be headed for only one option.