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Are 3rd Party Publishing Apps Killing your Organic Reach?

Since last year, there has been a buzz around 3rd party publishing apps like Hootsuite, Buffer and Later on whether or not they are causing negative impacts on the organic reach (content getting in front of the most people possible without buying ads) on said scheduling platforms. I’ve seen so many people online from Facebook groups to various forums claiming that their engagement (likes, shares and comments) and reach has dramatically decreased since they started using a 3rd party software. Spoiler alert: It’s not the scheduling apps.

TLDR; No. The platforms don’t inherently affect your reach. However, the complacency that these apps allow may be contributing to your content suffering.

How do these apps work?

Before diving into probable causes here, we must understand how these 3rd party apps work and how they interact with social media. For software like Hootsuite and Later to post to your social accounts they need to be connected to something called an ‘API.’ In the least technical terms possible, this is a gateway in which both sides (eg. Facebook and Later) can communicate and share data back and forth. There has been some discourse several years ago with Facebook whether or not accessing these APIs rather than posting natively (eg. Going onto Facebook and making a post) affected the platform’s engagement and reach. In 2021, we’ve found that posting either way is almost identical in numbers if you do it right!

The biggest reason I have seen people struggle with 3rd party apps ruining their engagement is that they believe all they have to do is schedule posts and the rest will work itself out as if you posted directly on the platform.

This is not the case!

Facebook and Instagram are called “social media” for a reason! These apps are trying to promote people to be social and interact with their audience and other communities on the platform! The apps have no inherent bias in how you post, but they do take into account your activity on the account and “socializing” at key times! Even though you batch your content and bulk post for the month, that doesn’t mean your job is done! It can make or break your reach by being on the platform before, during, and after your post goes live! This being said, we need to focus on different types of content that can’t be scheduled.

Let’s say you have your post scheduled, you’re engaging with your audience and relevant hashtags on the platform before, during and after the post goes live: now what?

Social media is far more complex than just posting one type of pillar content (eg. A single feed post that you post every day at the same time) and sitting back to watch the numbers flood in. Instagram and several other platforms have more time-sensitive content you should be utilizing to get the most out of those feed posts and topics you chose to engage your audience in. Once you have your feed post live on your profile, consider making a story post on Instagram explaining it or promoting the post with a CTA (call to action) to keep your audience engaged with the content for a longer duration and more intentional reach! Social platforms have a plethora of more time-sensitive media that is at your disposal to make the best out of your scheduled content!

Another factor that often cripples a brand’s reach and engagement is the quality of the content scheduled. It’s so easy to just batch create content that looks, sounds and feels stale and completely unoriginal. No wonder your engagement and reach are suffering! Although you have a post going up every day or even a couple of times a day, the content is not meaningful and lacks the quality that would bring people to be interested in and interact with your brand! Boring, stale and bland content isn’t given a second thought nowadays with the constant influx of content every day. When scheduling posts, make sure there’s a purpose, true originality to your brand and a deeper variety to keep your audience or an ideal customer interested and engaged. Remember: It’s “social media” for a reason!

As a final thought, remember to regularly check your analytics and insights to understand what’s working and what’s not for your brand. There’s no “one size fits all” strategy for all the unique brands out there, so being in tune with your ideal customer or audience and catering your content to them is so important for your social media success!

Need help de-coding those analytics? That’s what I’m here for! Schedule a quick consultation with me and I’d love to help you get a handle on your profiles and optimize your business on social media!

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