The world is going increasingly digital, but organic reach is going down. Social media is no longer like what it used to be. Over the years, influencers, social media experts and businesses have watched their organic reach decline, especially after Facebook and Instagram’s algorithm change. Reaching a large amount of audience to grow your social media followers organically is now harder than ever for two main reasons:

  1. An increase in content. Today, more content is coming out than there are people to see it and space for it to appear. 
  2. Feeds are personalized. Both Facebook and Instagram tailor their content to each individual’s online patterns and interests. Therefore, content and profiles that are less relevant to someone will most likely not appear on their feed at all. 

So what’s the solution to that? Today, we’ll delve into the ways you can improve your visibility plus grow your social media followers.

1. Mix up your type of posts

Back in the days, options of posting on Facebook or Instagram used to only be posts, photos or videos. Today, there are a ton of (under-utilized) features like Facebook watch, IG stories and live. Most companies aren’t fully making use of these opportunities to gain organic reach. 

And so, our first tip is to test out a different variety of posts. Maybe you usually post links to your blog, or images on your social media pages. If your reach has been declining lately, try making a few videos and see how they perform (statistics show that videos on Instagram get 38% more engagement on average!) Or if your videos aren’t getting the attention that they used to, try posting links to content that your followers will resonate with.

And while Facebook has never confirmed it, they seem to favour posts in newer formats such as Facebook live, stories, 360 photos and videos. So creating content in these formats may be beneficial in increasing your visibility!

2. Create valuable content

Before you can grow your social media followers organically, the question to ask is: what can you post or share that would create value for people to want to follow you? That tells them something that they didn’t already know? As a hard and fast rule, 80% of your posts should be informative, and only 20% promotional.

For example, a gym should only hard sell their packages 20% of the time. The other 80%, they should be creating relevant content such as tips for a healthy lifestyle, diets and exercise how-tos. Likewise, a restaurant or cafe should be mainly be posting engaging content such as the faces behind their brand, their heritage and inspirations for their menu, and only 20% on promoting the restaurant.

Take Starbucks for example – you’ll usually find them sharing things such as the new features they are adding to their stores, reposting customer photos of their products, introducing their staff, or about social efforts that they stand for. Less common are the product photos plugging their drinks!

3. Engage your audience

Want to know what your audience would like to see? Simple. Just ask them! A great way to engage your audience is by creating polls on Facebook and Instagram. In fact, in a study by LinkedIn, posts with questions came out on top for the type of content that generated the most engagement!

Another great way to do this is by encouraging your audience to respond with reactions. An example is this post by Sofia Vergara:

Active engagement is what helps your posts get more reach and ensure that they’re seen by as many people as possible. Not only your followers will see them – but also friends of your followers! So as you can tell, active engagement is one of the best ways to grow your social media followers organically.

4. Find the best time to post

What time you put up content is just as important as the quality of content itself. Even if you put up an amazing video at 5am, your post would be at the trenches of the news feed by the time your audience is out of bed. 

One way you can determine the best time to post is to follow your industry competitors and observe what works best for them. In general, brands see the most reach and engagement between Wednesdays to Fridays, 12pm to 4pm, or off-peak on weekends, as there is less content being pushed out by brands. 

However, there isn’t a hard and fast rule when it comes to the best time for Facebook and Instagram posts. The best way to determine what would work for you is to check out your analytics and see what time your followers are online. For Facebook, you can see your followers’ peak times and days in ‘Page Insights’, under the ‘Post’ section.

Instagram also comes with a native analytics tools for business accounts. Go to ‘Insights’ and check out ‘Activity’ to see your audience demographics. From there, you can determine when they are most active.

5. Experiment with your posting consistency

Once you’ve figured out when your followers are most active, the next step is plan out your social media calendar and figure out how often you should be posting. 

Generally, posting one to two times a day work for most brands, with a minimum of one post each week. But again, there is no ‘one size fit all’ for this. It all depends on your type of audience and how often they’re engaging with your content. 

The solution to this is to conduct experiments then track your analytics. For example, set up tests that run for a minimum of two weeks. For the first two weeks, you can try posting three times each week, and then five times each week, and then ten times a week with multiple posts on certain days. At the end of each two weeks, take a look at your analytics to calculate what was your average organic reach and engagement for each post.

It’s best to run these tests for as long as possible, as more data means more reliable results. Once you have your results, you can go on to plan out your social media calendar and schedule your posts to match the posting consistency that garnered the most engagement and results.