If you’ve been feeling like social media gets tougher every year, that the effort you’re pouring into your personal brand or business seems to barely make a difference, and that it looks almost impossible to stand out and get noticed in today’s noisy, crowded world… you need to listen to this.
We’re going to cover a LOT. In particular…
- The truth about the algorithm and how to beat it (or join it?)
- What I’ve noticed happen to Instagram over the past 2 years
- What “compound interest” means for building a brand and how you can create it
- What happened to my YouTube channel while I was on vacation and didn’t plan ahead
And 5 really simple but crucial strategies you need to follow if you want your work to make a difference in your life and business this year — and every year.
If you wanna take your social media (and emails, videos, blog posts, the lot) to the next level, join me for The Social Storytelling Challenge!
It’s totally free to take part and you’ll be getting daily live coachings, a workbook, practical, implementable daily homework and the change to win some sweet prizes.
Most importantly, you’ll be walking away with a framework to create social stories that increase your engagement, improve your organic reach and turn casual scrollers into true superfans.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP
Read the transcription 👇
You’re listening to episode :14 the real secret to beating the algorithm in 2020.
This episode’s for you if you’ve been getting frustrated with a lack of results on social media dropping engagement, terrible organic reach, and have ever questioned whether your content creation efforts are even worth it. Welcome to the personal branding project.
I’m your host, Kat Elizabeth, an actor and personal branding coach who is obsessed with helping creative entrepreneurs like you build personal brands that change your life for good, from attracting bigger opportunities, more joy and freedom in your life and the ability to get paid to do the things that you love most.
Each week. I’m bringing you inspiration, practical advice, and the occasional dose of tough love so you can stop dreaming and start doing what it takes to make those dreams a reality. Welcome back to the podcast and thank you. Can I just say thank you.
I have been receiving some really wonderful messages and reviews and just so much encouragement about the podcast and I’m incredibly grateful. It’s so funny. I’m now starting to question what I was so worried about in the first place and let this be a lesson to you. That podcast was completely out of my comfort zone, but after doing it now for, you know, I think this is about eight weeks and suddenly it’s like, Oh, that is part of my comfort zone.
So isn’t it funny how when we force ourselves to do that thing, suddenly the comfort zone moves, which basically proves that our comfort zone is all in our heads. Like it’s a total lie. Like these are, these are not life or death situations that we’re putting ourselves in, at least not when it relates to personal branding.
Now a quick little update because it’s , it’s quite relevant to what I’m going to be talking about today. So I actually spent the last four weeks in Italy, had a bit of a nightmare trip back. So we arrived in Vancouver, we ended up delayed at the airport. I mean delayed. We were stuck at the airport for one hour in the plane and then three hours waiting for our bags.
That never came, but it wasn’t just our bags that didn’t come. It was the bags of the entire flight. So approximately 250 bags went missing. We were lied to. And when we told the bags that were actually in the airport, which they definitely weren’t because it ended up taking three entire days to get them back, no communication in the meantime or we thought they were completely gone forever.
We’d had to fill out claim forms and we were starting to go through the list of things in our heads of like, Oh my gosh, like well what are we going to do? And it made me realize just how precious so much of what we have is like I am someone that has definitely been taking my belongings for granted.
And once I had the thought of like not getting them back potentially and keep in mind like we would go on for an entire month. So there was a lot in that bag. Basically my entire winter wardrobe and all of my favorite clothes.
And like when I got my clothes I, I hugged my suitcase and I was like, I’m never letting you out of my sight again. But anyways, that’s not actually the point of this story. The point of this story is that I went away for that long and while I worked while I was in Italy for bed, like I did, you know, the, the beginning of this year I started working on what’s happening coming up.
I did really kick back a lot and I was also sick for a week when I first got there, which was really fun and I kind of observed what was happening to my business during that time because it was very much connected to the preparation I did before I left. So here’s something you should know. I prerecorded all of the podcast episodes up until this one (obviously today is real time) before we left for Italy because I wanted to know that I had them in the bank and then I could just roll them out every week.
While I was in Italy, I hadn’t really particular about my setup and I didn’t want to sort of compromise sound quality. So I was like, there’s no, I’m going to try and record them there. So I batch created, created them and had them all edited and ready to go. And let me tell you, the podcast was one of the few things that I saw just kind of chugging along steadily while I was away.
What I didn’t batch create in the end was my YouTube stuff, which I had mentioned to you that I was going to do, did not happen. And I thought, you know, I’ll bring my camera gear because that bothers me less, the set up. And I thought that I would do it while I was there. No, I did not do it while I was there. I did not feel like being in front of the camera. The work that I was doing was just like stuck behind the laptop. I was in , you know , pyjamas half the time.
I’d been sick. I felt gross. I didn’t not want to record any videos so I did not record them. And like yesterday, I put up my first video in about two months now, thankfully, and this is something I’ll touch on a little bit later in the episode, my YouTube channel continued to grow while I was gone, which is fantastic. Although who knows how much more it would have grown if I was there with my videos every week, having pre-created them and look, my Instagram was something else that until recently I was way behind in my batch creation.
So it was all over the shop and it kind of was a bit stagnant while I was gone too. So interestingly, I mean it’s not really that surprising the, the work that I put in very intentionally on the podcast , especially before I left, it really did pay off because I saw the podcast growing steadily every week. I love that. Like clockwork. I could just let people know that a new episode was out and just kind of relax and watch all of my work just like go out into the world instead of every week.
Having that feeling of dread and guilt and shame and it sounds really dramatic that that’s how I, that’s how I work. Um, which is what happened with my YouTube channel. It’s just like, Oh great I failed myself again. Cause I’ve , I find with YouTube I have a few good months and then I’ll have like a month or two where I do nothing.
So I’m telling you all of this because today we are talking about the lack of results that often we seem to see in the work that we’re putting out there into the world. Like this is specifically connected to content creation. So I’m talking about your social media posts, any videos you create, whether that’s on YouTube, whether it’s a live stream, whether it’s your podcast, whether it’s the emails you’re sending your clients, like just any little touch points , anything you’re putting out there regularly and hoping to get something back from, whether that’s engagement, people sharing it, people contacting you, signing up for something.
It can be really frustrating because if you look at it at a very sort of micro level, it can look like you’re getting absolutely nowhere. And when you’re focused on that one individual post, you know and hoping that that one post is going to move the needle for you. Well that’s where our mindsets can kind of fail us. Like we start to really start, I just said stop twice in a sentence.
Great doing well, but we start to implode basically and question everything and then kind of you put less and less effort into what you’re doing because you’re feeling a bit sad about everything and the cycle continues. So I wanted to first start talking about some terms that we’re hearing a lot at the moment.
I’m sure you’ve heard them, you would have heard terms like competitive, noisy, crowded, pay to play, maybe sinking ship, maybe not all to do with just the online world, especially social media, but just being online in general. So a lot of, a lot of sort of, I guess fear monger is out there and a lot of very like people with a very negative approach and negative mindset are saying that it’s already too busy, it’s too crowded. What’s the point? It’s all just noise at this point.
Like, why would you bother adding more to that? Like you, how are you going to cut through? There’s no point. And I, so I wanted to touch on the algorithm first of all because that is something else that gets thrown around a lot. The algorithms change the algorithms out to get me. How are you meant to beat the algorithm?
So we have to talk about that for a second because look there’s a lot we don’t know about the algorithm. Like we don’t, we never know exactly how it works because that’s behind sort of closed doors. But the thing that we do know about the algorithm is that it was put in place when social media did start to get really crowded because if there was no way of sorting through all of that stuff that’s getting put out there, how would we have ever found what we were looking for?
Like our Facebook feeds, our Instagram, whatever it is that you’re thinking about would have been so much more overwhelming. And look yes we can, we can hate on the algorithm cause sometimes it seems to get it very wrong. Like it, it shows us stuff that we are like “what is this?” And it’s hiding this stuff from our best friends.
So I’m not saying it’s perfect. It’s definitely not my best friend. However, what they are trying to do, like it’s , it’s kind of, it’s two fold like they are at to help us because helping us helps them. Essentially when I say them, I mean like the actual like Facebook or Instagram. So the algorithm is designed to sort the best content for you from the worst content from you. So it just shows the best content.
So that is because they want you to, one have an enjoyable experience on the platform, but really more so they want you to spend more time on the platform. So really it’s a selfish thing, but they are actually doing it because they want you seeing the good stuff. They don’t want you seeing the stuff that’s going to be a waste of time to you because they know that you’ll get bored and you’ll leave. So the algorithm is actually on our side. So I want to start with that reframe cause that’s really important.
We need to stop hating on the algorithm and thinking it’s out to get us. It’s not actually trying to hide our content from people. It’s trying to encourage us to create better content in honestly like if you create the best content, eventually you will in inverted commerce beat the algorithm because it will see just how good your content is, how people are responding to it and it’s going to show it to more people and that is kind of it.
We’re not getting into all the nitty gritty technical stuff. I’m just saying at the core, that’s what we’re talking about. On that though, I will let you know that about, I think it was about 18 months ago maybe? No, it was probably two years ago. My Instagram, like I had a probably a similar following to now, maybe a bit less, but I was often getting between like 500 and a thousand likes for each post and that felt really good for my ego and that’s because my posts were getting shown in front of way more people.
And today I’m happy when I crack a hundred because when I look at how many people my posts are put in front of, it’s actually not many. So like I’ve got over 20,000 followers and often Instagram shows my posts to about 1500 people. Like that’s not much. That’s if I’m doing my math correctly. That’s less than what, 10%? Oh dear.
Yep . Yeah . 10% please don’t, don’t come and send me a message saying my math is off . Cause I know like, and also it’s the morning, it’s my first podcast back. Be gentle. So I am very aware that Instagram has changed. Facebook has changed. It’s a lot more difficult to get in front of people. But that said, my social media accounts, my content is still moving the needle. It’s still getting in front of plenty of the right people.
And when I create the right content, it’s also shared by them in front of more people. And it’s probably, I would say it’s a slower burn than it used to be because if we look way back, there used to be a time where everything you put out on Instagram got shown to everybody and if you did like hashtags, everyone was saying everything and you could go back and change the hashtags like two weeks later and jump to the top of the of the pile again. So like they have definitely removed a lot of that stuff.
But that said, social media has not been a waste of time. For me it’s just about understanding the purpose of social media and that it is not the be all and end all. This should be supporting your core strategy and your core business. It should not be the core of your business because it’s just too risky. Something else people are talking about is whether you need an advertising budget to be able to compete and I like, I don’t believe like as a rule, it’s not like you have to have an advertising budget. It’s all going to depend on what your goals are.
Obviously, if you’re relying on trying to get something in front of thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of people because you need volume, you need people, enough people to be like converting to buy your thing, then yes, you do need an advertising budget, but if your purpose on social media is to organically just build your brand over time and start attracting some super fans , you know, some potential clients or customers, then you can right now anyway, this could change.
Right now you don’t have to have an advertising budget, so stop like get rid of that seed that’s been planted. They’re thinking, Oh, how am I ever going to succeed if I don’t have the money for ads?
You don’t necessarily need them right now. Now I just want to swing back around and talk about my YouTube channel for a second because I mentioned that it kept growing while I was gone and this is where I want to introduce a book that I’m going to be talking about a lot called The Slight Edge. It talks all about the 1% work.
It talks about doing the little things every single day that eventually lead to creating compound interest in your life. So this applies whether you’re trying to lose weight, whether you’re trying to grow your business, whether you’re trying to learn a language. Often we are very concerned about the stuff that gives us immediate results because it feels good.
Or on the flip side, it could feel so scary that it stops us from doing something that’s like a bad habit. But essentially most things in life are a very slow burn. So the good habits over time lead to results, but it can take a long time. And the bad things we do often, we don’t feel that the negative consequences of them when we’re doing them, sometimes it can take weeks, months, even years before we see them.
He used a really great example of this with like bad eating habits. So he was like, often like we will just eat the burger in that moment. Yes, there’s a chance that it could lead to diabetes and heart attacks, but because we don’t have to deal with the consequences right now, we just ate the burger. He was like, but imagine if that the consequences in that in the future actually happened now.
Like you knew that right after eating the burger you could have a heart attack, you wouldn’t eat the burger and yet we are in denial about the burger because we don’t have to deal with the consequences today and this is exactly how it works with good habits as well. We don’t see the results immediately so we often bump those really small things off the list and like, Oh what’s another week of not posting.
And I’ve, I’ve been guilty of this in the past but thankfully like the big picture for me, like on YouTube, even though I’ve had some off months, essentially over the last two years, like I have published 117 videos and for such a long time I did not see the result . I didn’t see the compound interest. And it’s, it can be a bit soul destroying because it’s sometimes like someone else will get like a viral video and suddenly the channel blows up in 117 video is not one of my videos has gone viral.
But what has happened is often a couple of months after posting my video starts to rank in search. Like I’ve got a video that I’ve , I think I’ve mentioned it before, it took a long time. Eventually it became number one and it also shows on page one of Google. So it has now over 11,000 views and I’ve actually built up a bank of like a good maybe 10 other videos that are all in the thousands of views because they are ranking in search and none of them happen immediately either .
So it’s not like I posted it and within a couple of days I was like, yes, I’m growing. Not at all. It was crickets. Like when I say crickets, I’m very grateful that slowly but surely people started subscribing. I would get messages from people thanking me for the content and that was encouraging enough. But essentially the , the reason I stuck at YouTube was that I committed to creating 100 videos before I was going to quit. And if I hadn’t made that commitment, I would have quit so many times.
I get so many different points it was going to be so easy to quit. And that is what the author of The Slight Edge talks about is that like often the thing that we need to do is really quite easy to do because it’s quite small, but it’s just as easy not to do. So in more likely not to do it. And he talks about you’re either in the 5% that’s doing it or the 95% that’s not. So coming back to Italy and also , and just seeing my channel over the last six weeks, I looked at my analytics yesterday and I was like, hold on, what’s going on here? My speed of growth seems to have doubled.
I’m seeing this spike, like my views are way, way, way up daily compared to what they used to be. I got I think twice as many subscribers last month as I normally get. And there’s no one video that stands out to me is doing that for me. It’s the compound interest. So this is kind of a lesson for you that you just, you don’t know how long it’s going to take, but I can tell you that if you do the thing every day, one day it will actually work.
Whether it’s with your health, whether it’s with your social media following, whatever it is you’re trying to do, the results will come. If you show up every day and do the small thing, they will not come if you bump them off the list cause you think, Oh well what’s the difference? I’m not seeing results right now. Anyways , maybe I’ll take a month off.
That is how you will never get there because there’s no chance for the compound interest to build up. It’s been such a huge lesson for me and it’s just so nice after two years to be able to breathe and go, wow.
Finally, finally the work I’m putting in, it seems to be coming back to me like the energy I’m putting out is coming back quicker than it used to because often like when you share a video and you get like whether it’s one view or 50 views, it’s all relative, but like it can be a bit like, wow, I put hours into this video, I poured my heart and soul into this video and hardly anyone’s watching.
But the cool thing is like so many of my videos now that nobody watched back then, they’re getting seen now. You know? So just don’t give up. That’s what I’m saying. But now I want to really specifically talk about some kind of fixes for you. If you’re feeling really sort of downhearted and okay, I was about to start singing Hakuna Matata.
Just be glad I didn’t, unless you want me to let me know. So I want to talk about some things you can do now to actually improve your chances of getting seen. Because often that is one of the issues is like it’s, it’s double sided. So yes, you have to keep showing up every day doing the thing.
But if you’re not doing the right thing, it’s not going to work. So just blindly like you know, going to the gym and having terrible technique or not even breaking a sweat. Yeah you showed up at the gym but like really is it actually going to help.
So I want you to just make sure that you’re making the right tweaks so that you can ensure that the 1% work you’re doing leads to results. So number one, it’s really important to understand your audience. You have to know what they actually want because one of the issues could be that you’re putting stuff out there everyday that feels good to you.
Look , I’m interested in this. This is fascinating to me, but if they are not interested, it’s not shared in the right language. Cause obviously it’s sometimes it’s what we’re saying. Sometimes it’s how we say it. If the branding’s off, like maybe they just don’t even like your photos and because I don’t like the photo, they’re not going to read the thing.
They’re not going to follow you. So you really have to tune in to who you’re creating for and remember that all of this stuff that you’re creating, it’s not about you. It’s about how you can help your audience. So essentially it’s about them. The next thing I want you to do is focus on actually creating the best content. Like there is a lot of content out there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stand out.
But just putting content out there for the sake of it is not going to do a thing. You’re doing yourself a disservice. You’re doing an audience a disservice. They don’t want more noise. You know, you need to look around at what other people in your niche are sharing and think about how you can approach that differently.
Look at the other articles, the videos that the Instagram post and go call. Okay, so they’re talking about that. People obviously want to hear about it, but how can I put my spin on it? How can I make the graphics better? The story more interesting, the video or more engaging, like how can I teach them even more and take their journey to the next level? Don’t be lazy here like just to creating a half hearted blog article is going to do nothing. Sometimes in the past I have been guilty of just putting out a blog article or an Instagram post cause I felt like,
Ugh, I’m, do I need to just put something out there and guess what it? I was disappointed with the results. It did nothing because like who cares if I put out something average nobody needs average. Like they want something life changing. So you really have to up your game here and if it means creating less so that you can create better content, do it. Trust me when I say that even though people like,
Oh you need to post daily or three times a day or even three times a week, ignore that for the time being and make sure that every single thing you put out there to the world is the best thing you could possibly do. Now it’s, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to work. People aren’t always going to love it and that’s totally fine, but it’s about the effort that you’re putting in and that you’re doing this with like a spirit of really wanting to add value to the world, not noise.
So just always ask yourself, check back in before you create something before you publish something go like, is this the best that I could do? And that sounds exhausting because it is. If you’re wanting to be a content creator, if you wanting to be self-employed, build your personal brand. This is not a walk in the park. I think a lot of people think it’s easier. It’s just a different kind of hard work.
Like when you’re trying to be part of the machine and you’re just like, you know, want to climb the ranks, there’s a different kind of commitment and work that’s involved and sometimes like the biggest thing is like just the mental slog… Whereas like when you’re trying to be your own boss, you’re trying to pave your own way. It’s mental, it’s physical, it’s emotional, it’s financial, it’s all of the things. It’s a lot of work.
But as I said, if you do the 1% in time, you start to see the compound interest and then it starts to not , I don’t want to say self-sustain cause you always have to put the work in but there’s less effort. He also talks about – see I’m obsessed with this book – he also references Isaac Newton’s theory on how a body in motion tends to stay in motion.
Whereas you know, a body that’s not moving, like I’m just adding to this now it doesn’t like it’s a lot harder to get started. So that is kind of the beauty of when you find this happy place, this place where you are in motion, like you’ve got that momentum, it’s so much easier to keep going, which is why it’s important not to stop.
Next up, I want you to get nerdy with your analytics and part of this is is like adding onto getting to know your audience. But it’s also about trying to become friends with the algorithm. So there are clues that you know , our analytics can give us about like when people are actually online, like when we should be posting because that is actually a factor. I ignored it for a long time. I thought, Oh surely if I just put something good out there people going to respond.
But if the algorithm doesn’t say that you get enough response to your post when you first put it out there, they’re less likely to show it to anybody else. So you need to make sure that you’ve got like a business or create an account or you have a third party, you know, scheduling system that gives you analytics so that you can start looking into one when is the best time to post. But also start tapping into what kind of posts your audience are actually responding to. So what are they sharing?
What are they saving? What, where are you getting the most comments? You need to start doubling down on what’s working and seeing if you can tweak what’s not working as well.
Or if you’ve tweaked it and it’s still not working, just stop trying to do that kind of thing. Maybe they don’t want it or maybe it’s on the wrong platform. Next up, this is when I’ve been drilling in for the entire episode, but just to clarify, you need to show up consistently. So you need to know what you’re doing, you need to have the plan and then you need to show up and you need to just keep doing it again and again.
And I heard something great yesterday about what average really means. Like you know, half of your posts are going to be below average because they have to be, because that’s what average is. It’s the average of all of what you create. So sometimes your posts are going to be better than others. Like sometimes you’ll think something is amazing and then you’ll put it out there and people just like it’s crickets.
Other times you think, Oh , I don’t know if this is my best work, this feels a bit weird. And then people just love it. So that’s the like, and that’s part of just showing up every day is that it means that you can try all of the different things like as long as you believe you’re doing your best, put it all out there and it gives you the chance to, you know, keep tweaking and improving. But also it allows the momentum to build, the algorithm does reward consistency.
And I’m saying consistency, not showing up every day because no one has the answer to when, how many times you know, a day or a week you should post because the fact is it depends on your audience. What did they want. So maybe for a month you try posting every day and then for month you try posting three times a week, see what goes better. But either way there’s a plan in place and you’re following it.
It’s not you just like haphazardly trying something one day, having a bad week, doing nothing and then trying to get back on the horse. Like that’s just not going to work. My final piece of advice is to get extra help.
So there are so many ways you can get extra help and they sort of on a sliding scale. So I mean just by listening to this you are getting help but keep in mind it’s kind of like it’s passive and you’re not getting feedback on what you’re doing.
Stepping it up could be like joining a course or you know something where you, you know, you, you get more intensive lessons kind of given to you and maybe you get some feedback and then sort of the highest level is, is getting some sort of coach or mentor that you know is going to be very hands on to helping you with your mindset stuff. But also looking at what you’re putting out there and helping you understand what’s working and what’s not and why.
And I’m not telling you this because a coach, I’m thinking that I have a coach too because we, that’s what we need. What I found is that the stuff that you know has sometimes taken me years and years to figure out on my own. As soon as I work with somebody else, like they’re able to help me make some tweaks and suddenly within a few months I’ve like done a complete turnaround .
And I’ve had the same thing with my clients. Like they’ve been thinking about doing something for months or years and like within 30 days we’ve got the thing launched because they just needed like they needed that guidance, they needed some confidence, they needed the accountability, they needed the extra resources and experience. One final reference to the slight edge book is that they talk about, he talks about the three different kinds of learning.
So like there is book learning or book smarts and there’s street smarts. (And if you’re a fan of the office, like you’re probably hearing the Michael Scott quote in your head right now.) And there is modelling.
So the book smarts comes from like the , the consuming of all the content, whether it’s books, podcasts, courses, the street smarts comes from doing so actually implementing everything you learn, which is when you really level up. And there’s a danger zone often of being the, you know, always being the book cloner and never getting up the guts to put your stuff out there. So this is where the doing comes in.
But then finally that modelling is by finding someone who’s done it before you and done it successfully and can help you step up your game, do things faster, do things smarter and you can use their experience to speed up your growth. And that one is I think the one that’s missed the most. But now that I’ve experienced it for myself, I’m never going back.
Like I never going to have a year where I don’t have someone who’s done it before me and done it better helping guide me and speed up the process cause I’m like, why would I want to take three to five years of making all of these mistakes when maybe I could be in the same place in 12 months because of outside help.
So, Oh my gosh, this has been a really big one. I hope you still bearing with me. I wanted to just segue now into speaking of extra help. Don’t worry, it’s not a, it’s not a pitch. Well it’s sort of a pitch. I have a free training coming up that I am super duper excited about. I just said super duper… How awkward. It’s called the social storytelling challenge and it is one way that you can, in inverted commas, “beat the algorithm”.
So I really want to teach you how to start using the power of story to actually increase your engagement, your organic reach, like turn your passive like scroller readers into actual super fans. And I really truly believe that the power of story is where it’s at. We learn through stories, that’s how we remember things.
It’s how we build connections. We feel like we feel like we know someone when we’ve heard their story. And if you are not utilizing story or you’re not really like you’re kind of trying to tell stories but not sure if they’re working, then you could be missing out. So the challenge is happening from the 2nd of February.
So personalbrandingproject.co/tssc because it’s the social storytelling challenge. And I’ll include the link in the show notes as well. I would love to see that. The more the merrier. Honestly, I just want it to be a big party for five days and if you’re worried about timing and things, don’t worry. There’s going to be replays for the live training every day. You get a really cool workbook.
I’m really trying to make it just like jam packed with value cause I want you to say like by the end of the, the week that we’ve had together, I want you to start seeing the difference. I want you to feel more confident. I want you to feel like you’ve got a plan.
You’ve got lots of ideas that you know how to implement them in your, whether it’s your social media or your emails and your blog articles, your videos, everything story is relevant everywhere. So that’s all for me today. Thank you so much for watching. Make sure you’re subscribed and I would love it if you could leave a review.
If you’ll learning lots from the podcast. It really helps get the word out and maybe tell a friend or two about it as well. Thanks again and I will see you next time.