A few years ago, content creators could use only one social media platform to establish their content strategies. Mine was certainly Instagram, I had about 6,000 followers at the time and 2,000 would consistently watch my stories. I didn’t feel burnt out because I knew what my audience wanted and I knew they’d be there, engaging with it and inspiring me to churn out more. Those days are over.
The deluge of social media platforms — and the fragmented marketplace — have made it difficult for creators to keep up with where the audience is going. Having to navigate consistent changes and discouraging drops in engagement while maintaining a strong presence on each of the platforms we use can be overwhelming.
For many of us, one of the biggest fears of creation is that everything and our entire audience could go away in an instant as well as the fear that it will be impossible to replicate the success of previous content — regardless of the number of views, comments, subscribers and likes.
Even for myself recently, my normal 2,500 average stories views reduced to 300. 300 story views! I haven’t had them that low in over three and a half years. Luckily, this weekend I got it back up to 1,000. I started kicking and blaming myself wondering what I had done wrong. I have taken a few social media breaks recently due to an unfortunate family passing but it wasn’t enough for such a dip. Simply, my audience has spreaded. Its likely that of that original 2,500, 40% now don’t spend time on Instagram or 20% prefer to engage only with my TikTok (which has over double the amount of followers as my Instagram).
Content creators in general say there’s a push to have content on every single platform, to meet their followers where they are spending their time, and to potentially gain new ones on legacy apps and new and emerging ones such as BeReal and Hive. But not every platform has the algorithm that will put you in your audience niche every time.
“You individually might not have any interest in a certain platform, but if it is bursting in popularity among a desired demographic, then don’t underestimate how useful it may be,” said YouTuber Ronny Haze.
TikTok star Taya Miller (4.8 million followers) had a refreshing take on the issue; “I would always cater to certain audiences and then that thing just clicked in me where I was like, I’m a creative I don’t want to just fall into doing what everyone expects me to do,” said Miller. “And I don’t think it’s fair to my audience either, because then they’re not seeing the genuine me.”
While the various platforms update their algorithms regularly, Instagram is certainly the one that chops and changes the most. According to Hootsuite, Instagram updated its algorithm in July 2022 in such a way that each part of the app uses a different algorithm. Therefore, the algorithms on its Feed, Explore and Reels pages are different from one another. This makes sense seeing that while my Story views have gone down, my Reels stay between 6,000 and 11,000 views per Reel.
This is due to the fact that users interact with different parts of the app in different ways. Typically, for example, people go to the Explore page to discover fresh content, not Stories from their closest friends.
However, we are inspired by what TikToker Lala Ellsworth has said in that she does not stress about Instagram’s changes, as her content strategy is constantly evolving. “You just kind of have to watch what’s not performing almost shift on a daily to weekly basis,” she said, adding that Instagram was pushing its Reels feature to compete with TikTok, as previously reported on Digiday, but may be moving away from that strategy.