Instagram is testing the interaction of photos with the like count being hidden. Say what? Yeah, you read that right.

Instagram is based off of likes, so why would they take this feature away? Well, the idea is to have users pay more attention to the pictures and content itself and not on how many likes it’s getting. The account owner will still be able to see the number of likes they obtain on specific posts in the backend of the app. As of right now, the private likes will only be tested on users in Canada at F8 (Facebook’s annual developer’s conference).

Bring on the Critics

Critics believe that social media companies put too much emphasis on likes which generates negative behavior on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said the test is to create a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves and not worrying about if anyone likes it. I mean, social media should be a place where people can post their own material to share it for others who might enjoy it without feeling the need for anyone’s approval.

On a personal side, there are people who post a photo and worry so much about how many likes it gets that they’ll delete it if it doesn’t get at least 150 likes. In fact, studies have shown that viewers use the amount of likes on the photo to gage whether they should like it. Kind of ridiculous, but we are all guilty? Getting a like on a photo is not nearly as important as the impact your picture may have on someone without them even having to let you know it did.

We Mean Business

From a business standpoint, this might sound terrifying. I mean, how will you know if consumers like what you are providing them? Actually, it’s a pretty simple solution…. comments. Comments are often overlooked because users are so focused on “likes”. But, isn’t the whole point of social media to be, uhm, social? Start the trend of engagement on your page by enticing your viewers to comment on your posts. If they comment instead of simple like your material, you are that much more closer to a lead. In fact, you are 85% closer to making a sale. How? Because you’re engaging with the consumer without selling anything. Build that trust and connection with your followers, your ROI will thank you.

Bottom Line

It will be interesting to see what results are gathered at the F8 conference in Canada. What are your thoughts on Instagram debuting private likes?