Over the past year Instagram has changed its algorithm to prioritize video content (reels, stories), suggested content, and advertisements. Everyday users, as well as influencers, are asked to tag products and brands. Changes like these beg the question: is social media still social? How do you stand out in a sea full of noise? Is social media still necessary?
Let’s cut the quick: With half of the world’s population on social media (4.5 billion people), yes, companies need to have social media presence . But what kind of presence depends on how you’d like to interact with returning and potential customers.
Despite the algorithms that seem to override actual friendship connections, social media is still the current moment’s word-of-mouth style of marketing. For example, 83 percent of Instagram users say they discover new products on the platform . You want the people who love and use your offerings to be able to tag you when they have an inspired moment because of your new product. Further, it’s valuable to have a platform where you can share about what drives your business, what inspires you, and what you care about.
But even though we all know these benefits are real, social media can still feel like noise — with too much posturing, hard-to-live-up-to idealism, and trending hashtags. When you are feeling burnt out on social media, here are three tips to keep you going.
Capitalize On What You Know
Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has said the company’s algorithms reward original content: “If you create something from scratch you should get more credit than if you are sharing something that you found from someone else.” This is an opportunity to share what you know. You are an expert in your field .
While your knowledge may feel common to you, most people don’t have your experience, your depth of knowledge, or your day-to-day hands on experiences. Take Finery’s founder Laura Burton. She’s an expert in the components of hardware, the handles and pulls on kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. Because of her years of experience as an interior designer and her commitment to process as she developed her own line of hardware, Finery can make original content based on Laura’s expertise — from the best kind of screws to use when installing a handle to the problem of sharp edges in trendy square-shaped handles.
The bottom line: You don’t have to go out of your way to find original content, you are original content. If you translate your knowledge into bite-size pieces, you can establish yourself or your company as a thought-leader.
Know Your Audience
Social media provides a way for potential customers to see your product and services in action, which can convert leads into customers like few other marketing strategies. But you need to understand which of your customers are likely to be interacting with you via social media. Here are some key figures:
Younger audiences do product research on social media . That is, they use social media to understand their options before purchasing. For other generations, this kind of research may be primarily done via websites or even in-store research.
Gen Z (born between 1997-2005) and millennials (1983-1997) are on par for stated reasons to be on social media including:
- About 27-28% say they find products to by on social media
- About 25-26% say they follow trends and branded content .
- Boomers (born between 1957-1963) and Xers (1964-1982) are more likely to use social media to stay in touch with family (53, 49%) versus following content from their favorite brands, which only resonated with 13% of Boomers and 20% of Xers .
Understanding the general data of who is on social media, and the particulars of who your audience is, will drive content creation. When you know who you are talking to, it will feel less like you are shouting into a void, and more like having a conversation.
When in doubt, dance it out?
Sometimes you will just hit a wall and feel like you can’t produce another piece of social media content without screaming. It is at these times, that it’s important to remember some of the content that goes viral on social media is just fun. So have fun!
Maybe there is a new song on the radio that you just can’t get out of your mind. Share a clip of everyone in your office dancing to it. Maybe you haven’t done all the algorithm research on which kind of dance videos will be best received by your audience, but who cares. You love that song, you’ve been practicing the shimmy when you put on your shoes every morning. You are ready to roll. Go for it.
Content that highlights your personality, your quirks, or that is just plain fun is always a win. Even if it doesn’t go viral, you’ve made it through another week and had fun doing so.
 MediaWire. Instagram Updating Its Home Feed Ranking Algorithm to Favor Original Content. 2022.
 Socially Buzz. “2022 Statistics: The Effectiveness of Social Media Advertising,” 2022.
 Hootsuite. “Social Media For Business,” 2021
 GWI. “Social media by generation,” 2021.