social media reach

The Truth About Social Media Reach

Posted 16 December, 2014 in Blogging Tips / 10 Comments

Welcome to another Bumblings Blog Tip! This one is a quick one, but I wanted to interject it into the middle of my Facebook rant (here’s parts one and two).

Does everyone who likes your Facebook page see every one of your posts? No. Obviously. That’s what everyone is so mad about. But guess what? There is no social network where you will get 100% reach, no matter what other bloggers tell you.

There’s No Such Thing as 100% Social Media Reach (Tweet This)

Just because a social network doesn’t have an algorithm, doesn’t mean your followers are seeing your posts. With the amount of content and posts on each social network, combined with the amount of people the average person follows (and the book community is anything but average), it’s just. not. possible.

An Example

Let’s look at a social network without an algorithm: Twitter. Here are the facts (I’ll try to find the source, but right now I’m just going off of the notepad I take notes on during webinars):

  • The average amount of tweets a user sends per day is about 2. That includes inactive accounts that don’t tweet, bringing the average way down. Most active accounts probably tweet at least three times a day, much more for blog accounts.
  • The average user (again, including inactive accounts) follows 150 other users. Again, for active blog accounts, this number is going to be much higher.

So if you followed 100 other accounts who each tweeted three times a day, that’s 300 tweets per day in your timeline.

Do you really think you would read (not just see, but pay attention to and comprehend the words of) that many posts?

But in reality, I just went and checked the Twitter accounts of some people that I know complain about their posts not being seen on Facebook. Most of them tweet like ten times a day, a combination of conversational posts, blog post promotion, and author promos. When you look at their followers, those accounts follow around 1,000 other users.

So those bloggers are looking at their posts being included in timelines that have around 10,000 tweets per day flowing through them.

So how many people will see their individual tweets? It depends. With no algorithm, it’s all about timing. When you send a tweet, 50% of its views come in the first view minutes. So if one of your followers doesn’t look at their Twitter feed within like 5 minutes of you posting a tweet, they’re not going to see it.

The Reality

Algorithms aren’t the reason your followers aren’t seeing your posts. Content shock is. (Tweet this)

The problem is the amount of content. Marketer Mark Schaefer calls it content shock. It’s supply and demand, kind of. There’s just too much content out there for people to see all of it.

On Facebook, your reach is determined by an algorithm. By scientific formulas that look at and analyze your post and decide who to show it to. On Goodreads, Twitter, Google+, Tsu, and all the other algo-less social networks, it comes down to timing. It’s pretty much a matter of luck.

Sure, there are tools that tell you when your followers for a social network are online, so you can be sure to post then. But that still relies heavily on luck. Just because ten followers were logged in at 8pm one day, doesn’t mean they’ll be there the next.

Hell, I only follow around 20 people on Tsu and I’m already having trouble with the amount of content shock. It’s already impossible for me to see every post.

Just like I said before, complaining is not the answer. And neither is joining and posting on yet another social network. That’s just adding to the problem of content shock. Creating more content that will compete with everything else out there, and lowering the probability that any one of your posts will be seen by the people you want it to.

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The Truth About Social Media Reach

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10 Responses to “The Truth About Social Media Reach”

  1. Great post. So true! I’ve been on tsu for a couple of days and agree the content overload is a bit overwhelming. I tend to notice posts like this one…something different and informative rather than the same news that everyone else is sharing. And posts about someone’s everyday life. And cats. Cat posts are are ways fun.

    • Thanks! I’m glad that this was something you’d notice. 🙂 Cat posts are fun, but Tsu has way too many memes, because they’re shortcuts to engagements. I feel like all the things that are popular on Tsu are things that are generally considered “social media mistakes.”

  2. I’ve been seeing lots of people jumping over to Tsu, but I can’t manage another social media site. Most people seem to be on FB, Twitter and/or Google+. I use HootSuite to push updates to FB and Twitter and rely on a plugin to push my blog posts to Google+ (not many followers there). I think Tsu sounds intriguing because it shares its profits or whatever, but how much is that really going to be as the site grows?

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

    • Thanks for the comment! I think the revenue-sharing thing will really hold them back in the long-run. A business cannot grow on 10% revenue. They need to cover the website costs, salaries, etc. With just 10%, I don’t think they’ll be able to do much. The entire 10% will probably go to website and server costs, which means aside from the few engineers used to build the first product, they’ll keep their staff small and therefore, their growth will be small as well. And considering how bad their design/usability is right now, that’s a really bad thing.

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