The social media industry is constantly changing, and establishing a consistent audience can be challenging. Even once you understand what content works best with your followers, you may find that engagement starts to drop. If that’s happening, it may be a sign that your audience is experiencing feed fatigue.
WHAT IS FEED FATIGUE?
In the age of information, it’s easier than ever to keep up with worldwide events, and people are becoming even more creative with the way they share information like infographics and social media articles. This can be very overwhelming to users.
A recent study from Chartbeat data stated that 55% of users spend an average of five seconds looking at a single post. Even though people have increased their online screen time in 2020, more and more people have been feeling distant from or exhausted by social media. This phenomenon is known as “feed fatigue.” People start to feel overwhelmed by all of the information and news they read on social media as well as the effort required to maintain so many relationships online. This can result in a need to disconnect.
Someone who is experiencing feed fatigue may feel the need to check social media, but they feel anxious and overwhelmed at the thought of interacting online. Social media fatigue has also been linked to feeling bored online and decreasing online presence to reduce anxiety.
If you’re a marketer, feed fatigue can be a major cause for concern, since it can lead to decreased engagement from your followers and stagnant or declining metrics. Here’s what to look for to see if your audience is experiencing feed fatigue:
1. THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT DECLINE IN ENGAGEMENT.
As audiences grow increasingly tired of seeing the same content on their feed, you may notice a decline in engagement on your posts. Even the most exciting and intriguing posts can be underappreciated if feed fatigue is clouding the audience. As a creator, you have to ask yourself:
- Is my audience tired of seeing the same content?
- Does my content catch the eyes of someone passively scrolling?
- Am I posting too frequently?
This all comes down to a fundamental marketing dictum: tailor to your audience. You have to look at what your audience has responded to best in the past and use similar language and design to keep them engaged. If they are more responsive on one platform over another, tailor your content to the more responsive audience and adjust content on other platforms to fit their unique algorithms. Even if you think your content is stimulating, the audience is the one with the power so you need to deliver what works for them.
2. THERE IS TOO MUCH CONTENT TOO FREQUENTLY.
Yes, it is important to convey all of the right information, but how much is too much? Those long Instagram captions may be everything you want your audience to know, but studies show that only about 16% of users read posts word for word online. People go on social media for a more social and engaging purpose, so they respond more readily to concise messages that don’t require a lot of effort to consume.
If you are constantly posting longer, text-heavy content, then you may lose your audience’s interest because they simply do not want to take the time to read a lengthy post. To avoid this, keep your captions concise, include links to external media (such as blog posts) for more information, and do not make your graphics overly text-heavy. A more concise and easily digestible content experience will allow your audience to remain engaged and not feel that consuming your media is a chore.
3. THERE ISN’T ENOUGH ENGAGING CONTENT.
Are you still using the same post formats from three years ago? Get creative! Use new tools on social media: from tagging mentioned businesses or sources to using Instagram story functions to engage with your audience, or even going live across platforms. Doing something different and engaging for your audience not only changes up your usual routine, but can also allow you to find new ways your audience responds to your content.
It’s definitely important to keep the brand voice consistent and make sure the platforms you are using are appropriate for the content you are producing, but thinking outside the box as a marketer can pleasantly surprise your audience and keep them engaged. Maintaining the brand voice can include using the same color scheme, using the same language across platforms, incorporating the logo in graphics and simply keeping the brand personality consistent.
Keeping tabs on your audience is important as a marketer so you can deliver the content that is best for the brand and for the audience. If your audience seems to be taking some self-care time, so should your content. Look at what you are posting, where and how many times. Most importantly, be directly responsive to your audience to make them feel valued online.
Sarah Kacmarsky contributed to this post.