Elle Bracher is an all-star when it comes to building online communities and crafting smashing social media strategies for brands. She began her university studies in Graphic Design, then pivoted into Photography when she realised her talents and passions aligned closer to that. Her very first gig was to create monthly social content for a variety of clients at an agency in 2013. Her agency experience snowballed as did her interest in the powers of social media, and she went on to grow a zero to 2.9 million-strong travel community called Outsider, all from her family home in Devon. Today she works as a Senior Account Executive in the Social Media team at Kindred. 

Hacking Instagram is not an easy task; it requires both left and right brain creativity. Trying to please the algorithm, connect with the right people and stay up to date with social media trends is a full-time job. We invited Elle to share her experience with getting your posts seen, growing your online community and navigating social in 2020.

 

Social media algorithm

I feel weird calling them ‘hacks’ because honestly, anyone can follow the signs of what Instagram wants from creators or brands on the platform. Getting your content the max reach by getting picked up in the algorithm is all about following the new developments that Facebook and Instagram roll out. I talk about the two platforms hand in hand when it comes to a social media strategy as they work together holistically.

Since their introduction of Facebook Watch and IGTV, they have been focused on video content and community. It is key to understand that they want people to use new features on the platform and therefore build the algorithm to favour that. Staying up to date with platform developments allows you to act quickly and format content to take advantage of new features and ultimately be favoured by the algorithm. Keeping a pulse on the algorithm doesn’t revolve around hacks, engagement rings or tactics, just following the information that Facebook and Instagram give you in plain sight.

an iphone with instagram app on the screen

Now there are a few things Facebook and Instagram don’t widely speak about such as the fact that the algorithm refreshes every two weeks. You’ve got to be consistent with your social media strategy, try to build up to posting videos twice a week if not more. I’ve seen pages gain over 10k followers in months just from posting a video a day, and therefore it can be genuinely done without fake followers or false engagements.

The current algorithm allows only about 1% of any page or profile’s fan base to see the content you post. Why would Facebook and Instagram do such a thing to all the funny creators and brands?

One of the biggest complaints that they got were “I see too many ads” or “I see too much spammy content that doesn’t relate to me.” So the solution was to focus on content that connects people, to create more meaningful interactions across the platforms.

Tried and tested tactics

Here are some of my favourite methods within a social media strategy for staying up to date with platform releases and partaking in meaningful engagement;

an iphone with instagram app on the screen

  • Follow @creators on IG- whether you are a brand or a creator this is where you’ll see IG sharing platform stats, what influencers are trending and new additions like Guides and IGTV ads
  • Sign up to Battenhall updates – these get sent via WhatsApp and is a great way to get daily updates on all platforms and what they are up to
  • Promote meaningful interactions – stories and videos can help start conversations among your community
  • Focus on your audience – Keep posting content that resonates with your audience and focuses on community building which is key to a social media strategy
  • Be consistent to keep in the algorithm loop and to let your community know that they can count on you for the content they love
  • Step up that video churn out and get creating
  • Don’t believe in the myths – there is no such thing as shadow banning if your content is getting reported a lot then yes the algorithm demotes you but it isn’t a ban.

 

Community, community, community…

Fans, followers, likes – they are all trying to say the same thing, but can actually act as a barrier to fulfilling your social media strategy. The only word you need to call your “following” is your “community”, this language is so much more meaningful, and allows for inclusivity rather than just to describe people watching or appreciating. Instagram and Facebook LOVE this word and really honed in on it as a part of their post-Cambridge Analytica scandal rebrand. They wanted to get to the heart of what makes their platforms work and why we follow, like and share content, and what they found at the centre of it all… was community.

three iphone screens showing lifestyle instagram posts

It is the feeling of a sense of belonging and recognition that you relate to that makes you tap follow. By subscribing to their content you have found your niche, your own community, filled with like-minded people all following a creator or brand that puts out content that you love. It is that first seemingly small thought of, “yeah this page is cool, I’ll give it a follow” that forms an attachment with a brand or creator. Following the highs, lows and all the bits in between is an emotional investment, whether you like it or not.

There is a reason the symbol of liking something is a heart, it is an emotional response to something. YouTube has always been about community and to an extent, you can see it across Twitch and Snapchat. I think the evolution of TikTok is so interesting to watch because it started with super immersive content and it is now the creators and brands leading the way on building a community on top of that.

Here are the best ways to build your community

  • I am saying this again as it is so key be consistent with posting– this doesn’t mean boring or same old same old, but rather figure out why people keep coming back to your page time after time and maintain whatever that is
  • Get to know them – it can often feel like a one-sided relationship with your community but that is not good for any relationship. Ask them what content they love from you and what they would like to see more of
  • Engage with them – not just a little like here or there, you need to invest and make as many as you can feel involved and like they are apart of your story
  • Get your community involved, people LOVE seeing themselves on other feeds, in stories or lives, and that makes them feel invested in you even more
  • Be honest – I think this is really important as if you are honest with your community it builds trust and trust in a brand or creator is what keeps a community

 

Social media so far…

We are only halfway through 2020 and it already feels like we have faced enough global issues and disruption for the next decade. Bush fires ravaged the Australian landscape on a devastating level, a President has been acquitted, Royals have stepped down and the UK left the EU, to name but a few. The Black Lives Matter movement caught the attention of many Globally and ultimately social with the #BlackOutTuesday tile post. A tragic sequence of events led to social media housing mass education about privilege and systemic racism in society across the globe. There has also been a lot of discussion around COVID-19 and how that has affected the role of a social media strategy for brands and creators alike. So where do we go from here and how can we learn?

My top tips for social in 2020 (and for always) go a little like this:

  • Encourage a more open and accepting environment in your online world – this is so obvious but I think it is important to build trust online
  • Be transparent – from a survey shared by Youth Marketing Online it showed that 86% of black young people polled wanted all companies to publish their ethnic break down and pay gap
  • Read before you retweet – Twitter reports that 60% of the time a link to an article is not clicked on before it gets retweeted. In an effort to help reduce that they have introduced a prompt that will ask if you have read the article you are about to retweet
  • Go the extra mile – in the social sphere it isn’t enough to post in solidarity, you need to follow through with learnings, links, reading recommendations (that you’ve actually read) and not just to jump on the bandwagon because you feel you should
  • Don’t talk down or make decisions for your community – when Little Britain was removed from streaming sites 55% of black people polled said they did not agree with the decision because they weren’t consulted or asked their opinion on the decision.

 

We loved hearing Elle’s insights on working with the algorithm, growing a community and understanding the current social media landscape in 2020. Staying true to your community and mission, hopping on the bandwagon for all social media platform updates and staying informed goes a long way. It has also been a rollercoaster year in 2020 and we’re only halfway through it. There’s no doubt we’ll continue to see the effects of the pandemic, future environmental catastrophes and a continual (and important) push for conversations around the Black Lives Matter movement. With the learnings from 2020 so far, we hope these insights help you to strengthen your social media strategy and continue telling your story on social media effectively as well as find your community.

Ready to go further with Social Media?

Social media is a great way to increase brand awareness, send traffic to your website and cultivate a community that could benefit from your product, further, ‘54% of social browsers use social media to research products and services before they buy, making it even more essential to have a social media presence.

Looking to build a social media campaign or strategy but not sure where to start? Get in touch with us today and we can talk about what we can do for you, obligation-free!