As a marketer and instagram user, I've become less of a fan of the like button. On instagram, the only thing that matters to marketers is your engagement rate. Without likes, how will you know who posts engaging content and who doesn't? How will we determine who the right influencers are if you can't easily tell how engaged their audience is?
There are other engagement metrics that matter just as much (if not more) in determining a user's influence. As a personal user of instagram I believe the like button has become a metric that people, especially users under 30, are using to validate themselves.
There are other forms of engagement that often are overlooked and in many cases can be a more accurate measure of success for a post. What are these metrics? Reach, profile visits, saves, link clicks or swipe ups, and comments. Let's take a look at each and determine why they are essential in calculating an engagement rate.
Reach - this is the amount of people who saw your post pop up in their feed. With Instagram's new algorithm updates, posts typically see approximately a 10% organic reach. When your reach exceeds that number, that is a true victory!
Profile Visits - An Instagram user spots your post on their feed, stops, and clicks through to view your full profile. You have literally stopped a person in their tracks and sparked their interest… huge win!
Share - A share is one of the best forms of engagement because you inspired someone to share your content with their friends. Your audience is now doing the work to get your content seen.
Saves - Someone liked your post so much, they save it. This is the ultimate engagement if you ask me.
Comment - This type of engagement is arguably better than a like… It means that someone had a thought or reaction to share with you. Your content sparked a conversation. This type of engagement will likely replace the like button as the metric to look at to measure true engagement since it will now be the only publicly visible action.
Link Clicks - This means that your excellent content persuaded someone to go to a landing page, which is a huge win for any marketer.
We are currently living in an Instagram-obsessed world and I am becoming increasingly aware of just how dangerous it can be. Why? Because people are using this metric as validation for themselves or their experiences. In other words, they "do it for the gram."
Art exhibits are being designed to inspire instagrammable moments that go viral. Experiential marketing campaigns are monetizing on our desire to capture exciting experiences and create pop-up after pop-up with flourishing selfie walls and insta-worthy activities. While I am not opposed to a beautiful photo and am forever searching for more inspiration, I fail to see the purpose of the like button in these initiatives.
At the end of the day, liking a piece of content on Instagram just means I glanced at it while scrolling through my feed and will most likely never revisit it. If I come across content that really speaks to me, I would rather save it or even comment to join the conversation!
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"Sh*t!" my daughter exclaimed as she dropped her iPad to the floor. A little bit of context; my daughter Victoria absolutely loves her iPad. And as I watched her bemoan the possible destruction of her favorite device, I thought to myself, "If I were in her position, I'd probably say the exact same thing."
In the Rastegar family, a word is only a bad word if used improperly. This is a concept that has almost become a family motto. Because in our household, we do things a little differently. To put it frankly, our practices are a little unconventional. Completely safe, one hundred percent responsible- but sure, a little unconventional.
And that's because my husband Ari and I have always felt akin in one major life philosophy; we want to live our lives our way. We have dedicated ourselves to a lifetime of questioning the world around us. And it's that philosophy that has led us to some unbelievable discoveries, especially when it comes to parenting.
Ari was an English major. And if there's one thing that can be said about English majors, it's that they can be big-time sticklers for the rules. But Ari also thinks outside of the box. And here's where these two characteristics meet. Ari was always allowed to curse as a child, but only if the word fit an appropriate and relevant context. This idea came from Ari's father (his mother would have never taken to this concept), and I think this strange practice really molded him into the person he is today.
But it wasn't long after we met that I discovered this fun piece of Ari Rastegar history, and I got to drop a pretty awesome truth bomb on Ari. My parents let me do the same exact thing…
Not only was I allowed to curse as a child, but I was also given a fair amount of freedom to do as I wanted. And the results of this may surprise you. You see, despite the lack of heavy regulating and disciplining from my parents, I was the model child. Straight A's, always came home for curfew, really never got into any significant trouble- that was me. Not trying to toot my own horn here, but it's important for the argument. And don't get the wrong impression, it's not like I walked around cursing like a sailor.
Perhaps I was allowed to curse whenever I wanted, but that didn't mean I did.
And this is where we get to the amazing power of this parenting philosophy. In my experience, by allowing my own children to curse, I have found that their ability to self-regulate has developed in an outstanding fashion. Over the past few years, Victoria and Kingston have built an unbelievable amount of discipline. And that's because our decision to allow them to curse does not come without significant ground rules. Cursing must occur under a precise and suitable context, it must be done around appropriate company, and the privilege cannot be overused. By following these guidelines, Victoria and Kingston are cultivating an understanding of moderation, and at a very early age are building a social awareness about when and where certain types of language are appropriate. And ultimately, Victoria and Kingston are displaying the same phenomenon present during my childhood. Their actual instances of cursing are extremely low.
And beneath this parenting strategy is a deeper philosophy. Ari and I first and foremost look at parenting as educators. It is not our job to dictate who our children will be, how they shall behave, and what their future should look like.
We are not dictators; we are not imposing our will on them. They are autonomous beings. Their future is in their hands, and theirs alone.
Rather, we view it as our mission to show our children what the many possibilities of the world are and prepare them for the litany of experiences and challenges they will face as they develop into adulthood. Now, when Victoria and Kingston come across any roadblocks, they have not only the tools but the confidence to handle these tensions with pride, independence, and knowledge.
And we have found that cursing is an amazing place to begin this relationship as educators. By allowing our children to curse, and gently guiding them towards the appropriate use of this privilege, we are setting a groundwork of communication that will eventually pay dividends as our children grow curious of less benign temptations; sex, drugs, alcohol. There is no fear, no need to slink behind our backs, but rather an open door where any and all communication is rewarded with gentle attention and helpful wisdom.
The home is a sacred place, and honesty and communication must be its foundation. Children often lack an ability to communicate their exact feelings. Whether out of discomfort, fear, or the emotional messiness of adolescence, children can often be less than transparent. Building a place of refuge where our children feel safe enough to disclose their innermost feelings and troubles is, therefore, an utmost priority in shepherding their future. Ari and I have come across instances where our children may have been less than truthful with a teacher, or authority figure simply because they did not feel comfortable disclosing what was really going on. But with us, they know that honesty is not only appreciated but rewarded and incentivized. This allows us to protect them at every turn, guard them against destructive situations, and help guide and problem solve, fully equipped with the facts of their situation.
And as crazy as it all sounds- I really believe in my heart that the catalogue of positive outcomes described above truly does stem from our decision to allow Victoria and Kingston to curse freely.
I know this won't sit well with every parent out there. And like so many things in life, I don't advocate this approach for all situations. In our context, this decision has more than paid itself off. In another, it may exacerbate pre-existing challenges and prove to be only a detriment to your own family's goals.
As the leader of your household, this is something that you and you alone must decide upon with intentionality and wisdom.
Ultimately, Ari and I want to be the kind of people our children genuinely want to be around. Were we not their parents, I would hope that Victoria and Kingston would organically find us interesting, warm, kind, funny, all the things we aspire to be for them each and every day.
We've let our children fly free, and fly they have. They are amazing people. One day, when they leave the confines of our home, they will become amazing adults. And hopefully, some of the little life lessons and eccentric parenting practices we imparted upon them will serve as a support for their future happiness and success.