Looking at your company’s social analytics, you see less reach and engagement despite the fact you’re posting more content. It’s a problem that’s plagued you thus far in 2018, all of 2017 and even 2016.

The good news is you’re not alone. From January to August of 2017, average engagement for brands and publishers on Facebook fell more than 20 percent, 2017 BuzzSumo data found.

Now, we know a bit more about why that is happening.

Facebook’s algorithm is drastically changing to focus more on community and conversation. Instagram’s feed is likewise complex, after switching from a chronological to algorithmic feed. Even months after the change, brands and influencers are still struggling to adjust to the unclear reasons their Instagram posts are doing poorly.

There is one thing we do know: if you keep doing what you’ve done in years past, you’re setting yourself up for failure. To get specific, if your content strategy is the same as it was three years ago, it’s now 50 percent less effective, according to 2018 BuzzSumo data.

Keep reading to learn the significant ways the social sphere has recently changed and what your business can do to keep up.

How Social Sharing is Different Now Than It Used to Be

Note: All data unless otherwise specified is from BuzzSumo’s 2018 data, in which they analyzed 100 million social posts published in 2017.

  • The content market is more saturated than ever, making it tough for content to stand out and perform well. In 2017, there were close to 100 million posts published on WordPress compared to 50 million just a few years before. As the number of articles published goes up, the page views for those respective posts is declining.
  • Half of all content gets, on average, four shares or less across all the main social networks. That’s compared to eight average shares in 2015.
  • 65 percent of posts shared as of June 2017 were on dark social (namely messaging apps). Only 14 percent of shared links were posted publicly on Facebook.
  • There are far less viral posts than there used to be.
  • Clickbait-style headlines (and even listicles) don’t gain as much engagement as they used to.
    • For example, the article "2 People Described the Same Person to a Forensic Artist and This Is What Happened," which was posted before 2017, got more than 3 million shares and was the top clickbait headline of the year. In 2017, the top clickbait article got only 0.25 million shares, a 92 percent decrease.

What Your Business Can Do to Improve Your Social Content Strategy

  • Authoritative, quality sites, such as Harvard Business Review and The Economist, are actually seeing increases in social shares. In the same vein, over 70 percent of all published content gets no backlinks — except articles and sites focused on authoritative research and reference content.
    • Because people are now extraordinarily wary of what they read, reputable content is the key to success. The more research you can include in your stories, the better. People want to trust you (if you give them a reason).
  • On LinkedIn, comments, likes and shares have increased 60 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.
    • If you’re a B2B business, divert time and resources from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and go all-in on LinkedIn. The social network has released many new product updates, features and improved analytics that will boost your content’s performance.
  • In 2016, Facebook was driving more referral traffic than Google sites. But now, Google sites are again driving ~25 percent more referral traffic than Facebook.
    • Invest more energy in creating content based on organic search traffic rather than what might perform well on social.
  • As the volume of content increases per topic, the average number of shares declines.
    • Instead of going after hot topics, focus on niche content that uses long-tail keywords. For example, instead of writing about "red shoe heels" create content about "comfortable heels for standing all day red."
  • Evergreen articles like "Brexit: All you need to know" continue to perform and engage social audiences, even years after its original publish date.
    • To replicate this, continually go back and update articles that are still getting pageviews with the latest research.
  • If you want to increase the organic reach and engagement on Facebook, you have to play the algorithm game. Here’s what the network wants you to do.