What’s happening on Instagram right now

As the corononavirus continues to sweep around the globe, our world has become new and uncertain. It has changed the way we connect, forcing many of our conversations online and making social media bigger than ever before. People are using various platforms to share information, talk about their concerns and getting creative with new TikTok dance moves they’ve learnt while in self-isolation.

According to Recode by Vox, coronavirus-related terms counted nearly 20 million mentions on March 11th. It is the first global pandemic that is unfolding on social media. Global social media usage rates have in fact grown since the epidemic began – and this includes Instagram.

So we’re washing our hands for at least twenty seconds and coming clean; despite there being no straightforward, step-by-step Instagram content strategy, it is now more important than ever for your brand to live in the digital world. And to do that, you need to know exactly what to expect from the app. Summed up in one word, that’s authenticity. It’s never been more necessary for brands to authentically show their humanity; to not only say they care but to show it and mean it! Brands that acted swiftly in showing their heart during this crisis are the ones that stand a better chance of coming out of it stronger, and adding to their community of followers in the process.

Instagram reached one billion monthly active users in 2018, making it the third most popular social media platform behind Facebook and YouTube. In 2020, it has become one of the apps that people turn to in order to stay connected, informed and positive. Many users have in fact made their platform a go-to safe space, where people can air their concerns about COVID-19. However, the platform has been widely critised in studies that have linked poor mental health with daily usage of the app.

Hiding Likes

Instagram – to their credit – took the necessary steps to counter the negative effects of scrolling by removing the likes count. This is the latest step in their move to become a safe and healthy space on the Internet. Creators behind the app want to take the pressure off users and shift the focus to authentic connections, engaging conversations and a community for all.

In its testing phase, the Instagram app has not removed likes altogether. Despite the like count being hidden from followers, users can still check to see how many likes they’ve received on a post. But the focus is no longer only on numbers. Content is once again, the reigning king. Brands are already moving away from a likes-based approach toward creating meaningful partnerships with influencers and genuine relationships with followers. Which leads many to believe that comments will be the new way to measure engagement on Instagram profiles.

So, while creating beautiful and aesthetic content is important, active and thoughtful engagement with your followers is equally so.

More Posts

The Instagram team maintains that the main motivation behind hiding likes is addressing mental health, but marketing strategists have also pointed to the drop in posts to feeds, which has steadily been declining year-after-year. Currently, app users – whether they’re content creators or not – are only posting what they consider to be the ‘best’ content to their feeds, in an effort to keep engagement high.

Think about it. When last did you post a #nomakeup, #nofilter, #nosunsetlighting selfie?

While that might sound like something out of a bad dream right now, an Instagram with no likes will let you create and post anything you want, whenever you want. However, you still need to be careful and conscious about what you are putting out there – particularly in a time where factual and reliable information is so important. Users want to see brands reflecting their humanity; pushing products and services that people genuinely need and that will make a real difference in their lives.


This includes the content seen in IGTV videos. Currently described as YouTube’s strongest competitor, IGTV has seen an increase in viewers, which in turn has seen creatives spend more time and energy producing valuable and entertaining content, specifically for the in-app feature. Rather than driving traffic outside of the app – like to YouTube, for example – users are embracing IGTV and its new ‘series’ aspect. Marketing strategists are predicting a lot more series content on the app from all kinds of users – which can already be seen on Instagram.

Lots more people are posting content in order to pass time in self-isolation. We’ve seen everything from how to make iced-coffee to how to correctly dust your plants.

Yes. That means you can start your at-home cooking show.

The no-edit edit

Which brings us to the next thing you can expect to see more of, on Instagram: The no-edit edit. Gone are the hours spent editing photos to perfection and carefully curating feeds. The app will see a shift towards relatable and less-produced content – with both photos and videos. Trends indicate that users prefer minimal edits that lend themselves to organic-looking and authentic content, and this includes the content found on IGTV.

Longer Captions

The desire for authenticity goes beyond the photo or video and into the caption beneath it. More and more, users are writing longer captions to engage with their followers on a deeper level. For creatives and businesses, this means that your brand voice is more important than ever. Instagram users want authentic stories from your brand that do more than just describing what product or service you’re selling. Ask yourself, how am I helping my followers? What value am I offering them?

User-Generated Content

In fact, Instagram users want to see why they should be loyal to your brand. Which is where user-generated content (UGC) comes in. UGC has been proven to boost sales and improve brand loyalty – all for free. Furthermore, followers trust UGC more than content produced by businesses themselves. Other benefits include being able to collect real reviews of your products or services, and building a sense of community around your business.

Not sure how to navigate this authentic wave? Or do you simply not have the time or resources? We can assist with a content strategy for your Instagram profile that will make sense in these uncertain times.