If you’re reading this blog, it’s probably because you’re actually interested in what I have to say.
In fact, if you read any blog, it’s likely because at some point you came across a post of that blogger, and you liked it, and so you’ve continued to follow that blogger.
I don’t know how you found me, but most people who read me found me through Pinterest. They saw a post, they clicked through, and they stayed.
And I’m very grateful!
But as you may or may not know, social media platforms are constantly changing their algorithms, and sometimes those changes make it less likely that you will continue to see the posts of the people that you’ve actually chosen to follow.
And so today, on behalf of countless other bloggers, (and, naturally, on behalf of myself 🙂 ), I’d like to share the inside scoop on how you can be sure that you don’t miss anything by your favourite bloggers–and also make sure that OTHER people will find them, too, just like you did all those posts ago.
How Social Media Platforms Decide What to Show You
If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen them: Those ominous sounding statuses that say something like:
Facebook is now making sure that virtually nobody sees my posts! So if you want to stay my friend (or if you want to keep seeing posts from my Page), please hit the Like button!
You’ve likely seen it on Instagram too:
You’ll never see my photos again because Instagram is making sure you only see photos from popular people!
To a certain extent it’s true that Facebook and Instagram have changed. But I don’t think they’ve done this for any nefarious reason.
The folks have Facebook have noticed something.
Most people have hundreds of friends and follow dozens of pages, but they’re actually not that interested in most of that stuff. And following that many things is overwhelming!
And then Facebook has also noticed this:
If people see stuff in their newsfeed about how Aunt Carol’s cat is constipated again, they may find Facebook super boring. And we don’t want people to find Facebook super boring. So we’ll make sure people only see the exciting stuff, like Uncle Peter going sky diving!
So how does Facebook decide what’s boring and what’s exciting? Well, some people may really be interested in Aunt Carol’s cat’s constipation. Maybe they’re cat people too and the prune juice isn’t working, or maybe they have a parakeet who is similarly in pain. And maybe those same people have a fear of heights and really don’t like Uncle Peter going sky diving, because it gives them nightmares.
So Facebook needs to figure out who actually likes Aunt Carol and who actually likes Uncle Peter.
The people at Facebook got together, then, and say something like this:
You know, if someone comments on posts about Aunt Carol’s cat, they’re probably very interested in how stopped up that feline is. And if they scroll past Uncle Peter’s posts and never ever like them, then they probably don’t care.
So Facebook has decided to only show you the posts of things that you tend to like or interact with, or that people who are just like you like or interact with.
There is one exception: One of my friends was recently diagnosed with cancer. THAT post showed up in my newsfeed, even though I hadn’t seen anything by her in ages, because so many people liked and commented that they were praying for her.
So when Facebook decides what to show you, Facebook asks:
- Does she like or interact with this person/page a lot?
- Do people just like her like or interact with this page a lot?
- Has this particular post received an unusual amount of interaction, making it an interesting post?
Instagram is now doing something very similar, and it makes a lot of sense.
But what about Pinterest?
While Facebook and Instagram seem to be changing for the better, Pinterest has gone totally berserk and made everything worse. All of a sudden the boards that you follow are far less likely to show up in your newsfeed. They’re trying to do what Facebook has done, but quite frankly–they’re doing it very, very poorly. I can’t stress that enough: Pinterest really missed the boat. Facebook is quite good at figuring out what you like. Pinterest isn’t. For example: it used to be that if you searched Pinterest for Christian sex advice, all kinds of posts by me and tons of bloggers like me showed up. Now if you type that in–well, let’s just say it looks like something you’d see in a not-so-nice store. Definitely not what most Christians are looking for when they ask for sex advice!
How can you ensure that the stuff that you actually want to see gets shown to you in Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram?
Follow the Blogs You Like on Other Platforms
Follow people you actually like. Just click those social media icons that people have on their sidebar!
If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll see more than just what’s on the blog. Every morning I post today’s post, but then, around 12:30, I tend to post an older post that I liked that was good that you may not have seen. I often post interesting graphics, and I often also post other people’s stuff that I found riveting. And then, if I’m ever looking for ideas for posts, I ask my fans, too! So come and be part of that community. You’ll learn more about your favourite bloggers, and you’ll see more of their stuff than just their current posts.
Hit that Like Button–and Comment, too!
Every time you see a pin from a blog that you like—even if that blogger didn’t pin it, but someone else did—or a post of that blogger’s on Facebook, or a pic on Instagram, hit the “like” button (or the Wow or Love button on Facebook!) The more you tell social media platforms “I like stuff from this website”, then the more likely they are to show it to you! And if you comment? Well, they consider that gold.
Why like other people’s pins and not just the blogger’s pins? Again, because it tells Pinterest, “this website is a good source of information.” It’s not only about liking the blogger; it’s about liking the blog.
Remember: if you never like and never comment, it’s very likely you’ll soon stop seeing those posts.
Share Stuff You Like
If you’re on a blog and you read a post you like, or you see a graphic you like, use that “Pin It” button that’s in the corner of the graphic and pin it. That lets your friends see it, too!
And then hit the Facebook button at the bottom of a post and add it to Facebook as well. When a post has a lot of shares, Pinterest and Facebook know it’s important and are more likely to show it to others.
Choose Good Graphics for Pinterest
If you hit the Pin It button at the bottom of the post, most likely the blog you’re on will prompt you to pin the main image. Here’s what happens when you hit the Pin It button at the bottom of Monday’s post on how to make sure you don’t marry the wrong guy:
The main graphic pops up and you can choose which board to pin it to.
But some of you have the Pin It extension on your browser, and when you hit it, you’ll see ALL the graphics from that page. And some other blogs aren’t set up to make you only see one image, but let you choose from among all the images, like this:
There’s that main graphic on the top left, but there are other graphics, too. There are some ads from the page. There are short little graphics. There are pics from posts that actually AREN’T this post (for instance, there’s the graphic from my post about is it okay to take sexy photos of yourself because it shows up as a related post).
I can’t tell you the number of people who will go to pin a post, but will choose one of the ads (like the one on the cars for the Dove channel), or a picture for a DIFFERENT post as the graphic. Then, when other people see that pin, they will have no idea what it’s about!
When you have a choice of what graphic to pin, please choose the tall one that the blogger likely wanted! Tall graphics tend to get repinned more. If you choose a graphic that has little to do with the post, then it’s unlikely that other people will see it and click through or repin it.
Turn On Notifications
Especially on Instagram, if you don’t want to miss a particular person, just turn on notifications for them! You just go to their profile and click those three little dots at the far top right corner, and you’ll get the option to turn on notifications. Here’s my daughter’s profile, for instance:
I don’t recommend this for Facebook for pages that update more than once a day (like me!), but it can be useful for Instagram.
Sign Up for their Newsletter
Finally, if you want to be sure you don’t miss anything good, sign up for their newsletter! Most bloggers have a signup box near the top of their page (mine’s on the top of the sidebar) or at the bottom of posts (I have one down there, too). Often in newsletters you get more info than just in the blog, and then if you miss a day (or even a week) you won’t miss that super viral post that everyone loved.
I have four main newsletters:
- My daily blog posts
- My weekly blog round up (with links to all posts this week, plus links to what’s been big on social media)
- My monthly marriage newsletter (with the biggest marriage posts and reader questions of the month, plus links to older posts on a specific topic that you may not have seen before)
- My monthly parenting newsletter (with the biggest parenting posts of the month, plus links to older posts on a specific topic that you may not have seen before)
Choose one, some, or all of them here!
I subscribe to a whole lot of blogger’s newsletters, and I find it really helpful to stay on top of important stuff. And then, if something really bizarre happens with social media, and they change the algorithms again and that blogger disappears from my feed, at least I’ll still have the email.
I’m going to be honest with you: The Facebook and Instagram updates have largely helped me, but the Pinterest one has killed me (as it has most other bloggers). My traffic is down about 80% from Pinterest, and that’s where most people find me. I do this blog for free, and I don’t charge anyone to read my posts. But I really do pray that more people who need them see them. So if you appreciate what I write (and what other bloggers write!), then please help us just by hitting like whenever, and wherever, you see us. It really does make a difference!
So there you go. With people following so many things, and having so many friends, the feeds often get overwhelming, and the social media platforms are always trying to figure out how to improve YOUR experience (so that they won’t lose you). So basically–you have to train the platforms to understand what you like. If you like something, hit like! Share it. Comment on it. Interact with it. And you’ll keep seeing more and more things just like that again.