Social media has upended the traditional ways businesses advertise and generate word-of-mouth among their customers and potential customers. Many small businesses in the Denver area have built their entire media strategies around social media. However, these strategies can be destroyed overnight when the social media companies change the ways they present a business' posts.
Many Denver businesses were concerned by news that the popular, photography-centered social media service Instagram is experimenting with changing the way it presents "likes," the indicators in which users show their appreciation for a post. Under the experiment, Instagram will begin hiding the number of likes on some users' posts. These users will be able to see how many likes their posts received, but the public will not.
The goal of the experiment is to counteract some of the purported harmful effects of social media. Some Instagram users and commentators have argued that the quest for likes is harming the mental health of account holders, especially younger users of the service. Some may even be engaging in risky behaviors in order to pose for a more striking photograph. By making the number of likes private, the company hopes to reduce some of this pressure.
However, small businesses worry that this change could hurt their media strategies. A high number of likes on a post is good evidence of reader engagement and interest in an Instagram account. When a high number of likes is visible, the public knows that a business is getting a lot of positive attention. This can raise a company's reputation, and perhaps bring in more money.
A good social media strategy can make or break a small business, but it's important to remember that sometimes these strategies exist at the mercy of giant companies like Instagram. Part of building a successful small business is being prepared for changes outside of the company's control.
A skilled business attorney can help small business owners to develop strong contracts and other tools that will protect it even as changes in the market and the media go on all around them.