Trending from G/L: Instagram’s Hidden Like Count Test

Melissa Ross
Digital Content Producer

Trending from G/L: Instagram’s Hidden Like Count Test

Instagram is positive. It’s happy. It’s bright. It makes the users ‘feel good’. But, is the pressure to align with Instagram’s “happy” culture causing users to actually be less happy “IRL?” While no one’s questioning Instagram’s impact on users’ purchasing decisions, a recent test by Instagram could change the way advertisers and influencers use the platform altogether.

Let me explain.

Twitter is known in the social media community as probably the best way to directly, in real time, engage with your audience. But, it can also be a catalyst for bullies. Twitter is a notorious hotbed of abuse, so much so that the social platform has recently abandoned its previously “reactive” approach towards abusive content, and begun to take action on how to be proactive and preventative when it comes to abusive content. On the other end of the spectrum, Instagram looks to be the friendliest of the social media platforms. The visually-led community cultivates positive and motivational messaging, where posts that go viral tend to have a positive message, and where many of the most famous accounts are of dogs and cats.

But some mental health experts say that this positivity presents a unique problem. It encourages its users to post upbeat and staged photos that others could be misleading to others and potentially harmful. Scarlett Dixon is a primary example.

The fashion blogger posted a promoted photo of herself having breakfast, with the intention of promoting Listerine mouthwash. The photo was quickly screenshotted and posted on Twitter, where users called out the inauthenticity of the image. The user stated, “Instagram is a ridiculous lie factory made to make us all feel inadequate.”

The tweet took off, with more than 111,000 likes and almost 25,000 retweets. Dixion even responded to comments calling her fake, saying, “My feed isn’t a place of reality. I mean, who spends their time in such a beautiful city, perched on a ledge, ice-cream in hand and smile permanently affixed to her face? It’s staged, guys.”

It’s for this reason alone that experts are looking at how harmful Instagram is to its users mental health. In a 2017 survey by the Royal Society for Public Health, 14- to 24-year-olds scored Instagram as the top social platform that most negatively impacts their quality of sleep, their fear of missing out, and their body image.

“It’s a reward cycle, you get a squirt of dopamine every time you get a like or a positive response on social media,” explains psychologist Emma Kenny when speaking to Cosmopolitan about the effect of social media likes on one’s mental health.“It’s like a hit, similar to the way you feel when you have a drink. The social media like triggers that reward cycle and the more you get it, the more you want it.”

Now, Instagram is testing out a way to possibly combat these negative effects on its users, but it might be at the expense of its advertisers, and more specifically, its influencers.

Imagine an Instagram where no one but you can see how many likes or followers you have. That’s exactly what Instagram is currently testing internally. Researcher Jane Manchun Wong discovered the change in a beta view on her Instagram, and Instagram confirmed the testing with TechCrunch.

“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who share a post will see the total number of likes it gets,” says Instagram in a pop-up message about the feature test.

An Instagram spokesperson said that the testing is a result of the company trying to find ways “to reduce pressure on Instagram,” which is likely their way of addressing how this validation culture has been shown to hurt mental health and self esteem.

With influencers’ income solely dependent on their engagement rates and likelihood of a post “going viral,” this change can directly hurt their business. By hiding their engagement on posts, influencers could find it harder to get deals with businesses for sponsored content. Brands need to see engagement on content before tapping an influencer to rep their product so that they can gauge their ROI. It would also make it near impossible for users to figure out which posts are popular on the platform, and therefore, influential. For a social media specialist like me, it will be harder to learn what kind of content is resonating with the Instagram community.

As this testing concludes and impacts possible changes on the platform, it will be interesting to see how Instagram social media strategies change across the board for influencers, businesses and advertisers alike.

If you’re in the market for the creation of a social media strategy to fully optimize your business’s digital footprint that will directly improve sales, brand awareness, and engagement, let’s chat.

Trending from G/L: Engagement is key to Instagram’s new algorithm

Melissa Ross
Digital Content Producer

Trending from G/L: Engagement is key to Instagram’s new algorithm

Back in March of 2016, the world flipped upside down when Instagram put an algorithm in place to change how our content was delivered to us. Previously, posts were shown in chronological order, but with the new algorithm, content became prioritized based on the likelihood that you would engage with it.

Since then, Instagram has been continuously tweaking the algorithm, especially after they found that about 70% of posts were being missed due to an increasingly massive amount of content. Their goal was and still is to bring increased likes and comments to posts, but a lot of brands started seeing a decrease in activity – which bring us to today.

Though Instagram doesn’t publicly release exactly how the algorithm works, they have released key influencing factors on how content is delivered to the end user.  These factors include: how much engagement you’re getting on posts, how long your content is viewed, the time when you post, the type of content, who searches for you and how often, and if your posts are shared via direct messages.

Putting it in layman’s terms

All of these factors revolve around engagement. Engagement = more engagement – it’s a continuous cycle. Once a user engages with a brand, it is more likely that that user will be fed the brand’s other content too.

If you’re not at the point of getting engagement on your brand, then you’re negatively impacted by this algorithm. But we’re here to help with that. Of course, better content will help immensely (don’t know how to take your content to the next level? Let’s talk.), but so will a couple of additional key focuses. AdWeek lists 5 ways of ensuring that your posts are hitting these engagement marks.

  1. Schedule posts for optimal times: When your engagement happens is important. According to studies, photos that receive immediate likes shortly after posting perform better in the long-run.
  2. Call-to-action before the line break: Later, an Instagram marketing platform, suggests that the caption to the photo is almost as important as the photo itself. Be sure you’re prompting both your followers and new visitors to take further action from the get-go.
  3. Hashtags are important: According to Adweek, posts with at least a single hashtag average 12.6% increase in engagement. But don’t go overboard!
  4. Use the newest features: Take advantage of Stories, videos, carousels, Boomerangs, etc. Distribute your content creatively to gain more interest.
  5. Utilize paid advertising: With a successful paid ad strategy, you will be able to build a targeted audience that will ultimately build better engagement.

Don’t go at Instagram marketing alone. Our team can help build your brand a strategy for optimal results. Give us a call.

Trending from G/L: Sponsored Content on Instagram keeps growing

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Sponsored Content on Instagram keeps growing

Remember Gary Turk’s “Look Up” – the viral video that bashed social media and millennials’ inattentiveness to their natural lives? I think I remember first seeing it on Twitter.

In sum, a sentimental narrator—British accent and all—reads a heartfelt poem that speaks to a millennial generation distracted by superficial intangibles like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—all the while missing out on their true potential to find love and happiness and all of that good stuff.

“I have 422 friends, yet I’m lonely,” Turk coos in his opening line.

By 2014, this path was well trodden; nonetheless, “Look Up” inspired a circle of millennials to lay down their devices and live a peaceful life sans the social media.

Sure enough, social media’s role transcends tallying artificial friends and reading lists on Buzzfeed. Currently, there’s $1 billion dollars of sponsored content on Instagram alone.

Danielle Bernstein, a 22-year-old fashion blogger, for example, is paid anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 per Instagram post. What qualifies her? She has 992,000 followers.

An audience of 992,000 Instagremlins, most of them interested in fashion, attracts clothing brands to advertise products on Ms. Bernstein’s account.

Because fashion bloggers routinely post pictures of their outfits, Ms. Bernstein’s sponsored content appears particularly subtle. Her job: wear clothes provided by her hiring company, snap a few pictures wearing the rags, then blast them out to her massive following. Her personalized product placement utilizes the trust she’s gained as a “real person” in comparison to other product placement efforts on TV or in movies.

In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Ms. Bernstein noted that her annual income is in the mid-six figures range and that behind the curtain, so to speak, fashion brands negotiate stipulations preventing her from showcasing other brands for a specified amount of time.

Who knew social media could be so serious? Well, most of us by now.

Speaking of which, Gary Turk’s ode to offlinedness became viral as a result of social media, ironically enough. Regardless of the intended message, whether it’s endorsing clothes for money or vilifying the Internet for recognition, social will remain a valuable medium for making friends and money for a long time to come.

Not sure what’s the best way to showcase your brand to your target audience? Shoot us a note and we’ll get back to you quickly.

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Brands on Social Media: Keys to finding “Insta” Success

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Brands on Social Media: Keys to finding “Insta” Success

Social media channels are a great way to stay connected. At the same time, there can be such an over-saturation of content on various platforms that it can be difficult to sort through it all. Even on a site like Twitter, with it’s feed platform, is experiencing some growing pains in figuring out the best way to insert sponsored content.

While it’s true that Instagram has evolved dramatically since being initially released in 2010, at least one main value holds true: strong visual content compels people.

As brands look to grow their Instagram following, a handful seem to be doing it right, according to this recent Contently article. Here are some of the reasons why they’re resonating:


National Geographic has been around for generations in it’s print form. While some longstanding publications have had trouble adapting to a digital and mobile landscape, @NatGeo has kept ahead of the times. They’re able to leverage the top-notch photography they produce and use it well on Instagram without coming off as overly promotional. When you know how to properly use awesome content, you’re in good shape.

Photo @ladzinski / Let’s face it, the desire to explore and see new places is something that burns inside of just about everyone of us. We’re nothing short of blessed to live in a world so big and abundant with beauty. My long time friend @sashadigiulian is a true born adventurer, always looking for that next great experience, new place to discover and how she can interact within it. She’s also one of the top rock climbers in the world, which is pretty handy when you see a climb as stunning and hard as this one seen here in South Africa’s #WatervalBoven. If you’re a fan of adventure then good news, @natgeoadventure just dropped on Instagram and it’s already charging. It’s an ever growing repository of photos and experiences from some of the top adventure photographers and athletes out there, it’s sure to be hot, check it out!

A photo posted by National Geographic (@natgeo) on


Vogue Magazine knows their audience well and they know how to provide content that their audience wants. By using their credibility, access and partnerships with top influencers to deliver info and images that no one else can, they’re able to offer a unique experience. @VogueMagazine is also really good at using Instagram to direct their followers onto their owned platforms, such as their website.


How @beyonce and @officials_c_ arrive at the #MetGala. Photo by @kevintachman. A photo posted by Vogue (@voguemagazine) on


Many followers throughout social media want to feel a connection to the brands they follow. By regramming content from users and giving appropriate credit, @Mashable is really banking on digital word-of-mouth marketing to give them a personal touch. By making their feed more about their followers than about them, they’re able to build community that has an impact on everything they’re doing.



@ESPN has become a surprisingly polarizing force in the sports media landscape during the past decade. Some adore the network while others bemoan their focus on top teams and athletes. On social media however, their accounts have a consistently conversational sports fan feel about them, which is fairly in line with their SportsNation branding. Their Instagram presence is no different, highlighting the lighter side of the games we love.


Consistently Cool

New York Magazine has a sophisticated voice that showcases their influence in one of the world’s biggest hubs. Their Instagram, @NYMag, is promotional, but it is so in a way that compels readers to stick with them. Again, when you mix good content with good promotional hooks, you’re going to have a good combo on hand.

Need help figuring out the digital marketing mix for your brand? Contact us and we’ll get the ball rolling! (We’re admittedly not as good as the Pope at it, but we’re not bad!)

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Read the full article and see different examples on Contently here


Geile/Leon’s Halloween Costume Challenge

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Geile/Leon’s Halloween Costume Challenge

At G/L, we are serious about getting into the spirit for Halloween. In addition to booby-trapping the office with faux severed limbs and a candy bowl that terrorizes anyone who dares to sneak a Hershey’s Bar, each year we select a theme and show up to work dressed up in our own costumes. Some are clever, some are cute and some are just plain weird. This year we’d like to challenge our creatively-minded partners to participate in the festivities. (more…)