If it seems no one is liking your Instagram posts this week, don't worry, it isn't you. Instagram will be hiding the number of “likes” on certain accounts, but not everyone is happy about it.
The head of the site says it's to reduce unhealthy behavior, especially among kids, but some small business owners say this could be bad for business. For instance, when you need a local dance studio or an area photographer how do you find one? No one's thumbing through the yellow pages anymore.
“No. No, absolutely they’re not,” says photographer, realtor, travel agent, writer and Instagram influencer Alisa Murray, who says that's why taking away the number of likes on her Instagram page could be critical.
”It’s very frustrating, because we’re in a situation where that’s how we get business. We’re in a new environment,” Murray adds.
The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, says the "gram" will begin hiding post likes on some users in the U.S. this week. Eighty-three percent of Houston companies are small businesses that often depend on social media. Cookie Joe and Tran Pham Rich of Cookie Joe's Dancin’ School say a large number of likes attracts customers.
”If no one’s going to your Instagram, then really no one’s looking at your virtual resume,” Rich explains.
Mosseri says removing the number of public likes will make using their site less of a competition and less pressure particularly among kids.
“Kids are at the heart of our business. So we understand,” Rich adds.
“I’ll be the first one to tell you I’m a proponent of not having bullying or bad things happen to a child, but the reality is in the business world as an entrepreneur today that is the platform we have to be on to be seen,” says Murray.
“Our children, our lives are at stake and it is a big deal,” says Houston Hair Stylist Tina Penn of Chic Stylz by Tina.
Penn says she welcomes the Instagram change and says it will be better for children. She says sure customers find your business by likes, but the bottom line is clients will find you. Penn hopes kids will also learn from this, doing what's right may not always be what's popular.
“My husband and I have three daughters. The attention kids get on social media isn’t always the right type of attention. It's about having self-worth, self-esteem and being true to who you are,” says Penn.
Although the "like" counts will be private, the person posting will still be able to see the overall number. Instagram has tried this in seven other countries.
So what happens after the pilot period? Stay tuned. We'll keep you posted.