Social media for many years, embodied the purpose of bringing people together, to connect and create communities. For so long, we’ve been accustomed to being able to upload what we want and say what we want without much thought behind it. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are changing the game and users have noticed a decline in traffic and organic reach due to the introduction of new algorithms. Shaken to the core, users are reevaluating their purpose for using social media, as likes and followers are no longer an easy thirst to be quenched.

Real content from real people.

Creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the overhaul to the platform was in favour of meaningful social interactions and although the new algorithms have been the source of many complaints, the reason behind the changes are actually pretty positive. The online community can be plagued with articles, imagery and videos that at the best of times are questionable and it’s difficult to filter through to get to the content that you want. One purpose of the Facebook overhaul, is to bring forward the content that users want to interact with and prioritise friends and family updates. However, this means businesses are seeing a decline in their custom and finding it difficult to be seen, amongst endless streams of cute cat videos and holiday snaps from Aunt Edna.

For Instagram, the same story repeats. The algorithm aims to cut through the fat and show the community content that matters, no longer is it how many likes or using as many hashtags as possible that gets you noticed. It’s coming to light that the quality of content is overshadowing the quantity and causing many users to have to really think about what they’re uploading and why. Relevant, meaningful and thought provoking content is at the forefront of social medias new purpose and we’re going to share some tips on how to overcome your engagement slump and produce content people want to see.

How to use the algorithms to your advantage.

Engagement bait.
It sounds simple enough, but perhaps you struggle to find a purpose for your content. Will it make people think? Does it offer advice? Will it inspire? If you find yourself uploading content, simply because you haven’t for a while, it will reflect. Imagery or videos that move people to interact with you is something you should consider when devising what it is you want to post. This also relates to how you caption your posts, as an emoji or two will no longer suffice. Captions that are thought provoking and meaningful will help towards boosting your engagement, you want to encourage people to interact with your content.

Share the love.
Showing your appreciation for other users content is paramount to building a strong, interactive online community. It’s all well and good to scroll through Instagram endlessly until 2am, but if you have yet to double tap on what you’ve seen, that user isn’t creating content you feel empowered to engage with. Boosting recognition of other people’s posts and their purpose will ultimately help your engagement to grow. Having said that, repetitive comments will be flagged as spam and your efforts will not prove fruitful, so try to be creative and vary your interactions.
Responding to peoples comments on your posts within a time window of an hour has also proved to be beneficial. Instagram wants to see you showing your gratitude for the comments left by others, by responding in a timely manner.

Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag.
Okay, so we’ve all been guilty of shoving 30 hashtags on an image that may not necessarily relate to our post, simply to get as many people as possible to see our content. When the new algorithms were implemented, users found out very quickly that this method had detrimental effects and some were even victim to the shadow ban. It’s in using hashtags were relevancy is key, you will see better results using 10 specific hashtags, rather than 30 generic ones. Instagram introduced a funky new feature called the hashtag follow, where users can follow a specific hashtag and see posts that relate to it. Using this to your advantage will allow your reach to stretch much further.

Take note of trends.
Jumping on the bandwagon of a popular trend will undoubtedly work in your favour. The mobile app Pokémon Go, took the world by storm last year and many brands offered themed deals around the trend and it was a great opportunity for brands to attract new users.

Starting small to end big.
For Instagram, 7-10% of your following will see when you post to begin with. If that post reaches the 10% threshold, it will be shown to your remaining followers. Strange right? It’s basically Instagrams way of judging whether your content is valuable and worth showing. If the interactions perform well such as comments, likes and shares you are more likely to be seen by audiences that ordinarily would not see your content.

Stories and live video.
Utilising live video features and stories will allow a larger reach to not just your followers, but anybody who comes across your feed. You can use your story for instance, to encourage people to interact with a post on your feed. Sola Coffee use this feature beautifully by running a competition to win free donuts in their story, yet in order to enter the competition you must like, comment and share the competitions post. Using relevant hashtags and location tags in your stories will also boost your chances of being seen and appearing in features such as the hashtag follow.

Appropriate timing.
Posting at the right time of day can be incredibly beneficial to how far your organic reach will stretch. It will be different depending on whereabouts in the world you are and also, who your followers are. For instance, if your following is full of workaholics, they’ll most likely see your posts first thing in the morning on their commute to work or late at night just before they go to bed. Using your insights is a great way to find out exactly who your audience is and what time of day they’re most likely to see your content. However, insights can only be used if you’re a business profile and have a linked Facebook page.

Leave it alone!
Editing of posts within 24 hours after they’ve been uploaded, can affect your reach. Editing a post to replace hashtags, or the caption could be seen as a way to gain more attention or worse, you could get flagged as a bot. One of the elements of the new algorithm is to encourage selflessness and spread love and appreciation, not to promote selfishness.

Be authentic, be YOU!

Social media algorithms are constantly being tweaked and perfected to work in everybody’s favour, so with a little patience and flexibility, you’ll be able to determine what works best for you. Willingness to be vulnerable and human is what people relate to, they see content that resonates with them and that’s what causes them to double tap. Companies like Innocent and Air BnB, are killing their social media game and you can clearly see why. Share with your audience what you’re passionate about, what makes you tick and most of all, show them you.

If you’re a startup looking to delve into using social media, check out our blog post ‘Becoming social media savvy as a startup’ to find out why you should be using it and how it can effect your business.

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