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Why Instagram engagement is dropping and how to fix it

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Concerned woman checking Instagram's engagement
Founded in 2010, Instagram has 1 Billion active users | Photo: Alexander Suhorucov

You don’t have to be on Instagram 24/7 to notice that engagement hasn’t been at its best recently. The time and effort you put into creating content may remain the same, but people are likely engaging with it less – even though we have all been online more than ever.

You could blame Instagram’s algorithm, which expects a combination of behaviours on the platform that no-one knows exactly how to master. Or try to find an explanation based on assumptions that it might have something to do with the performance of your business on Instagram. You can try and search for all manner of possible explanations. Unfortunately, most of the time these explanations won’t change the fact that your engagement, on Instagram, is no longer what it used to be.

So, what has happened to organic engagement on the platform that boasts over 1 Billion active users? And, importantly, is there a way to fix it?

I reached out to content creators and business owners who have been affected by engagement dropping on Instagram. Here is how they are managing to turn it around – one post at a time.

 

Leverage its newest tools and be of use

“Yes, Instagram engagement is down. I think the main culprits are fatigue by users who no longer want to comment or double tap, and the introduction of IG reels. Those reels, launched last year, are giving Instagram accounts a boost to be discovered by new accounts through the featured page and there’s always the potential of it going viral. However, the downside of reels is that, while they may reach many more people than a traditional post or story, people do not engage with them the same way. Watchers are less likely to comment or double tap on a reel even if they watch it several times. I also find that regular social media breaks are how many people are managing the pandemic at this stage. If your account isn’t helping people get through lockdown in some way, it is likely muted.”

Kathleen Porter Kristiansen – Full time writer and influencer at www.triplepassport.com

 

Diversify your social platforms

“Instagram engagement is no longer the same because Instagram is owned by Mark Zuckerberg and is following the identical business plan that he enacted for small businesses on Facebook – choke reach until paid ads are the content creator’s only option.

There is no way around this fact, but that doesn’t mean Instagram is ineffective for content creators. It is still great for nurturing superfans who will network for your brand. For me personally, I now use other platforms to drive new listeners to the podcast. However, Instagram remains the place where I can show up personally, Live and in person, with my followers.”

Rebecca Hadeed – Content creator and podcaster at www.thestoriedrecipe.com

 

You will have to take risks

Instagram engagement has dropped for two reasons. The first is because Instagram removed the ability to see likes. Out of sight, out of mind. The second reason Instagram engagement has dropped is the explosion of short entertaining mini videos (memes). These mini videos are largely seen on TikTok, which is a relatively new platform and less saturated with ads than Instagram.

Examine your Instagram strategy as it unlikely that sticking to what you are doing now will result in continuous growth in the near future. Brainstorm what you can do differently and take risks with your content. Take big risks, because in a saturated market small risks aren’t noticed. Also, remember to pump up your presence on other social platforms. People have been migrating to Tik Tok, LinkedIn and even back to Twitter.”
Sarah Hovind – Entrepreneur and micro-influencer at www.sarahsociables.com

 

Get influencers to help you
“Engagements on Instagram have been awfully difficult recently. Less people engage with our posts and the traffic towards our profile has been significantly lowered. For 2021, we decided to change our whole approach. We are showcasing more workout challenges, offering more giveaways, posting a minimum of twice a week, and also gathering influencers to join in.”

Lianne Sanders – Fitness expert and licensed yoga instructor at www.totalshape.com

 

Consistency pays off
“One of the biggest reasons why Instagram engagement has changed so much is that the platform has a ton of new accounts created every single day. There’s more competition than ever, with people and businesses having to conduct everyday life online. So, naturally, engagement goes down.

Having a dynamic and consistent content strategy in place for 2021 will help you reach your existing and potential followers. Followers will see a post (whether that’s on their main feed because they follow you or through a well curated hashtag) and they are likely to like, comment or sometimes even share. By posting consistently, we tackle one aspect of the algorithm by showing up on followers’ feeds multiple times throughout the week.”

Kathleen Byrne – Community Manager at boutique social media agency www.burdenbrandmanagement.com

 

 

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Fully integrated platform for B2B social media marketing secures $20m in funding

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Oktopost founders
The global martech industry is now worth $121.5 billion

Oktopost, a fully integrated platform for B2B social media marketing, employee advocacy and revenue attribution, announced that it has secured a $20 million minority investment from London-headquartered growth equity firm Expedition Growth Capital.

Providing a user-friendly cloud platform built on a single-code base, where B2B marketers can curate content, organize, and easily manage campaigns for corporate social media accounts. Oktopost offers native integrations with Marketing Automation Platforms such as Adobe’s Marketo, Salesforce’s Pardot, and Hubspot; and CRM systems such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.

The global martech industry is now worth $121.5 billion, with B2B organizations investing in a variety of technologies to help them reach their marketing goals.

Oktopost plans to use the funding to advance its product roadmap focused solely on B2B requirements, boost its customer success function, accelerate marketing and sales, and explore strategic acquisitions. The company currently has a global team spread across Tel Aviv, London, and Atlanta, and plans to grow its workforce by 50% in the second half of 2021.

“Our mission from day one was to establish the first-ever B2B social media marketing platform with the ability to measure and quantify the value of social media in terms of lead generation, pipeline influence, customer acquisition, and, ultimately, ROI. As former B2B marketers, we know attribution and hard ROI are paramount and, as a result, we have been first-movers in developing strong integrations that generate these for social marketing.” – says Daniel Kushner, co-founder and CEO at Oktopost.

“There are a number of social media tools out there catering for B2C companies but we haven’t seen a platform that is specifically tailored to the B2B journey until Oktopost. The ability to manage, track and analyse social activities is increasingly a must-have for B2B sales and marketing organisations. We’re excited to be part of the journey from here,” – celebrates Oliver Thomas, Managing Partner at Expedition Growth Capital.

Seasoned sales and marketing executive, Rainer Gawlick, will also be joining the board as a non-executive director, bringing 25 years of experience in the technology sector as an operational executive and a board member of public and private companies, including Progress and Meltwater.

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How to start a successful YouTube channel in 2021

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Youtuber Austen Tosone working on a laptop
Tosone, YouTube creator: focus on one main topic while creating content for the platform

It is relatively easy to start a YouTube channel. Or several.

But judging by the amount of ‘abandoned’ channels with little or no content, one would assume it isn’t that easy to create relevant content and maintain constant growth, at least until a channel becomes popular and monetizable.

The video platform with an estimated 2.1 billion users worldwide has turned into a source of entertainment and ‘how-to’ videos, from comedy channels to how to assemble a 280-piece Ikea table. And some of the people creating regular content for YouTube have the guarantee of millions of views on their next video, such as beauty influencer Jeffree Star and Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg (aka PewDiePie), who, with a solid 110 million subscribers, is netting nearly $8 million in monthly revenue, according to a study by Purple Moon Promotional Products. So, it is perfectly understandable that everyone seems to want to become the next Jeffree Star or PewDiePie.

Despite these aspirations, an estimated 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. This means it’s an increasingly competitive market out there, making the road from videos shot in the bedroom – and watched barely by anyone – to having a channel with thousands of subscribers, one hard to navigate.

“I’ve had my YouTube channel since 2018 and just hit 4k subscribers earlier in 2021.
It took me about a year to reach my first 1,000 subscribers and my biggest challenge during that time was to figure out what content my audience was most interested in and do more of that.” – says content creator Austen Tosone. “Studying my YouTube analytics really helped me see which videos got the most views, how many were watching the videos all the way through, and which videos landed me the most new subscribers. I now focus my channel on beauty product reviews and tips for beauty creators.”

“If I were just starting a YouTube channel from scratch, I’d focus on making videos on one main topic and finding video ideas by researching keywords with a high search volume (monthly searches) and low competition (under 100,000 videos in the search results). I use a tool called TubeBuddy to help me find these keywords. This will help you show up higher in search results and, over time, you can start to target bigger keywords.” says Tosone.

For London-based Italian chef Fabio Errante, it was only when the allocated time and patience to work on his YouTube channel about homemade pizza, Fabioulous, that things started to work in his favour.

“I started my YouTube channel around one year ago but, for a long time, it was one of the abandoned ones with little to no content.
At some point, last summer, I started to work on the channel harder and more consistently. Finally, a few months ago, I hit my first 1000 subscribers and I have more than 100k views!” – celebrates Errante.

Are you still looking forward to creating a YouTube channel to share your expertise and, with a bit of luck, even get some extra money on the side? Here are the tips you need to make your YouTube success a reality:

 

First things first

Although most influencers and content creators use DSLRs or mirrorless cameras to film their videos, you can start by simply using your smartphone. This means you can also avoid investing lots of money on new equipment that you probably won’t know how to use anyway.

Audio is key. Finding a quiet area with decent natural light will help you create a video as good as those filmed on £6,000 cameras. And, of course, make it interesting and do your homework about the topic you will shoot before pressing ‘rec’.

 

Things to keep in mind to grow your YouTube channel:

Find your tribe

Instead of appealing to everyone, you will have to niche down and work hard to serve a specific audience through your videos. YouTube values “topical expertise” and, as someone starting a channel, you will have a better chance by narrowing down to a clear topic that you can easily create content on over several months.

 

Quality over quantity

Time and again, YouTube has determined that viewers don’t pay as much attention to the production quality of videos. But they decide what to watch based on their “interests and passions.”

So, you don’t need to get all fancy, especially in the beginning. Just focus on providing value to your viewers and serving high-quality content.

 

Consistency will get you places

Don’t ghost your viewers, even if you only have 20.

There are thousands of other videos online about the very same thing you are passionate about. So, if you don’t show up on your subscriber’s timeline, other creators will.

As the YouTube algorithm is rumoured to favour those posting consistently, there is a chance that if you disappear for long periods of time, the platform won’t make too much effort to show your new content to current subscribers or other people searching for content around your topic.

 

Useful tools to help you with your new YouTube channel

Free audio library

Besides YouTube’s own audio library, which offer free music and sound effects for those creating content on its platform, FMA (Free Music Archive) is another very useful tool. It was created in 2009 by radio station WFMU, offering free access to open licensed, original music. Remember to credit the artists, though!

 

Free graphic design tool

Web-based graphic design tool Canva offers a decent free version to help you create great thumbnails for your videos. You want a thumbnail that can grab a viewer’s attention, even before they start watching the first minute of your new content.

As well as creating YouTube thumbnails, you can also use Canva to design custom YouTube channel art and a logo for your channel. You could also design end screens to display at the end of your video, inviting viewers to subscribe, share or watch the next video available on your channel.

 

Measuring your video performance

Social Blade, an American website that tracks social media statistics and analytics on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, amongst other social media platforms, is an excellent tool for seeing what is not easily exposed.

You can use the tool to have a look at what your competitors are up to, so you can learn from others, too.

 

 

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New project analyses online content to fight fake news

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BBC news browser
Success rate of SocialTruth for news that included falsified information, reached 63%.| © Annie Spratt

The first two test phases of the SocialTruth project, an engine that analyses, classifies and certifies online news for reliability, have been completed.

The platform is a multidisciplinary European project, which was created with the objective of analysing the news to make the dissemination of information online safer and more trustworthy. It was developed by an international consortium of 11 partners, including the ICCS – Institute of Communications and Computer Systems (Athens – GR); UTP-University of Sciences and Technology (Bydgoszcz – PL) and the LSBU-London South Bank University (London – UK).

The tests involved more than 700 use cases conducted in 14 days, where almost 500 websites, articles and pieces of online news were subjected to the SocialTruth analysis. The system was checked, and data was collected and utilized by the technical partners for the further development and definition of the system, which will be completed shortly. This will lead to the final round of evaluations in September 2021.

The results of these first experimental tests went beyond expectations with almost 90% of the “real” pieces of news being correctly recognized by the project and identified as valid and reliable. Similarly, the total success rate of SocialTruth for news that included falsified information reached 63%.

Evaluations were conducted using the Digital Companion end-user app. This is a simple add-on that can be easily installed on most common browsers. The user experience of the Digital Companion emphasizes convenience, as it is user-friendly and easy to understand.

The blockchain system has been utilised to guarantee the results of the analysis are reliable and solid.

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, SocialTruth has been developed to fight fake news. The idea of creating an open, democratic, pluralistic and distributed ecosystem shows the originality of the project. The initiative grants easy access to various verification services, ensuring scalability, and building trust, in a completely decentralized environment.

To find out more about the project, visit the official SocialTruth website here.

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