We can’t deny it, influencers have become a vital medium for increasing the awareness and sales for a brand and its products. So it’s not surprising to see PR professionals, brands and influencers panicking about Instagram’s decision to potentially remove the 'likes' off of images posted, in order to take away the vanity that comes with it.

I read a piece published on PR Week recently, which involved a set of influencer specialists evaluating this decision by Instagram and discussing what this could mean for the future of influencer marketing, and I was intrigued to learn what they’re predicting might happen. The most common theme was that this isn’t something to be scared about, this is something to take on as a challenge, to become more creative with and use to our benefit to ensure influencer marketing is results driven and not likes driven.

There was always going to be concern that this could change the whole dynamic of how influencer marketing is used, however, this tactic could be the approach needed to help regulate and create a more authentic set of influencers to work with. How? Because PR agencies and brands will have to judge the influence of an influencer by their reach, impressions and sales through affiliate links, rather than the sheer number of likes, which let’s be honest, bring little ROI to a brand.

We’re constantly learning as this industry develops, both influencers and brands alike, and I’m intrigued to see where this move from Instagram will take us…