Recently, our much beloved app, Instagram, tested something crazy in several major countries like Canada, Japan and Brazil. They took away the public “like” option. Well, they took away the ability for users to see how many likes a post has, we should say. Now, it looks like this change is going to spread to a portion of the app’s users in the United States this week, and this has some marketing gurus freaking out a little. 

If there’s no public “like” option for people to engage with, how will anyone know that you’re worth listening to? Those hearts are like currency! Of course, you’ll know how many people engaged with your photo using the “like” button but no one else will know. How will this impact your dental marketing strategy? Let’s dig into it a little bit…

The Reason for the Change

Facebook (the company who owns Instagram) stated that the reason for the change was to remove pressure and social competition. Many of the app’s users are younger individuals. In fact, the average user age is currently 25-34 years old as of August 2019 (in the United States, this age group makes up 36.1 percent of the app’s users). 

Adam Mosseri Tweet Screenshot

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced the change on his twitter feed. When Bloomberg News asked for the reason behind the change, he said, “The idea is to try and reduce anxiety and social comparisons, specifically with an eye towards young people.”

This social comparison has created a real issue among users, especially younger users of the app. Mental health issues are probably the most serious side effect, but it has also caused many users to buy fake likes or followers to try to boost their metrics unnaturally. This is not just a bad social media practice, it can also be bad for business. 

How Could This Impact Dental Marketing?

As you know, we’ve done a few courses on Instagram, and we’ve always discussed engagement… specifically, authentic engagement. We never advocate buying results in the form of likes, comments, or followers. While you will still be able to see how many “likes” your content got, no one else will be able to see the metrics. 

The reason we spend so much time talking about social media marketing is because we know how important it is for your patients and potential future patients to see your content, to have a space online where they can easily interact with you, and to keep you front of mind as an expert in their local community. This change doesn’t impact any of this, and it shouldn’t change your dental marketing strategy whatsoever. 

Your focus, as always, should be on posting content that’s visually appealing and creating engaging captions that highlight your expertise and your fun personality. You should be including 15-30 targeted hashtags on each post, and switching them up to make sure they relate to the photo and the content. If you do these things regularly (ideally at least three times a week) and post on your Instagram Stories daily… you’ll be good to go! You won’t even miss that public “like” option after a few weeks!

Stay in Your Lane

One thing we’ve noticed over the years is that anytime there’s a change in how social media platforms operate — for instance when there’s a redesign or algorithm change — people tend to freak out a little bit. It’s important to research the changes by reading articles written by trustworthy sources, and then continue to stay in your lane. Most of the time, whatever change is being made is going to have very little effect once the initial panic wears off. 

You already know what to do and how to talk to your dream patients. Keep showing up, keep engaging, and keep putting great content out into the world. If you do this, you’re going to be just fine!

If you have questions about Instagram, social media marketing, or dental marketing strategies in general, please reach out. The soiree squad is always happy to help!

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