Social media didn’t come with a user’s manual; the only guidelines relate to inappropriate and malicious behaviours. Despite the success of Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Kevin Systrom, and many others, there are very few, if any, concrete rules regarding our social media behaviours.
Everyone has a different social media experience, whether you are a personal or business account. However, social media engagement often acts as an approval stamp for both the user posting the content and the users interacting with it.
We know there are psychological effects of social media feeding into self-esteem, narcissism, anxiety, depression, and more. Increases in likes and followers can help boost a user’s self-esteem as they find self-worth through other users engaging with their content. On the other hand, a lack or decrease of likes and followers can result in increased anxiety as the user stresses to create and post content that will be well-liked.
Some would say that you’re using social media correctly when you have a strong engagement rate from your audience. If your goals are to increase user engagement on your page, then you have to find what social media behaviour works best for you and your account. However, there are all kinds of reasons why people use social media. Social media is a great way to stay connected with people you know, find new people or pages that relate to your interests, showcase your business, capture your favourite memories, etc.
Yet, many of us have fallen into the habit of using social media to please others rather than ourselves.
Social media gives us the luxury of showcasing our best moments and hiding our worst. While that concept is an entire blog in itself, the main idea is that we use our social media as a way to please ourselves by pleasing others. If someone else likes my photo, then that must mean they like me.
Most of us would rather be liked than disliked, but social media can make us lose sight of who we are and how we want to portray ourselves to the world.
Some of us may be trying to keep up with social media’s ever-changing algorithms to improve our online presence, yet these algorithms are designed to keep people on the platform and change based on what content is receiving the most engagement. Knowing this, some of us may feel an increased need to post content aligning with the platform’s design, but this content doesn’t always align with what you want to post.
Recreating another trend and posting it at the ‘peak’ posting time feeds into social media’s algorithm, which can help you receive more engagement, but shouldn’t we be posting what we want and making social media adapt to us?
Instagram commonly being recognized as “no longer a photo-sharing app” which means that photography will suffer while even the most basic videography will soar. While it can be fun to test the waters in new media, it is just as fun to share your existing skills as a photographer or the great weekend you had with friends.
Posting what you want makes the likes and follows feel even more rewarding because you’re sharing a truer version of yourself. Not everyone will like your content because we are all different, but those who do like your content will find you regardless of social media algorithms.
Stop fretting over recreating trends, grid flow, number of likes, and what you should post; focus on what you want to post and how you want to portray yourself on social media. Focusing on how we want to use social media can ultimately change social media algorithms because the main goal of these platforms is to keep people online.
Stop letting social media algorithms shape you. Start shaping social media algorithms by posting what you want when you want.