When More Doesn't Get You Anywhere on Social Media

When More Doesn’t Get You Anywhere on Social Media

Longer reels! More characters! When these social media announcements happen, it can be tempting to take them as a challenge. “3 minute reel lengths?! I CAN FILL THREE MINUTES!” But why? Does it really make any sense to go longer in this day and age?

The easy answer is no, and it never has. Fans continue to want to be in and out of our content quickly. They frankly have better things to do than pour over every word you wrote (sad but true). This doesn’t change just because X is letting you use more characters.

But it would be no fun to leave this blog post at that and you probably need a little more to give to the powers that be in order to stop this long content from happening, so let’s dive into this.

Instagram recently reported long content will hurt you

You may not know this, but creators are up in arms. They want answers as to why they are not getting the reach they once were on Instagram. There are riots (or maybe just very lengthy social media posts on the topic which is basically the same thing, right?) and they won’t stop until it’s fixed.

So Instagram provided answers. One of those happened to be that any reel over 90 seconds will hurt distribution. To me, anything longer than that seems like too much and I’m frankly not surprised it’s not doing well.

When given restrictions, I find that I’m a better marketer and get to the point faster, which is what fans ultimately want. As soon as those restrictions are gone? Not so much. I have all the time in the world to make my point? Obviously, I’ll take it. Please sit down and listen to how I got from A to B with five thousand side stories.

While it not be quite that egregious, it’s honestly not that far off.

Each post on social media should be first date material. It should give people a taste so they want more. If you just give them everything, it’s too much and they move on to someone who knows how to flirt better. But if you do give them just a taste, it leaves them wanting more and is more likely to result in an actual action, whether it’s a click, email, follow or simply a like. And that one action means more eyes on your content since the algorithm sees people like your content.

Is there any time to have longer content?

Here’s the thing: There are times where longer content does have a place on social media. 99% of the time? Absolutely not. But 1% of the time? Get on with your long self. However, you’re probably not a part of that 1%, and if you are, you certainly don’t want to make a habit of it.

I will tell you when I have used this content is with user-generated content that I have carefully curated. It had to perfectly demonstrate what it was like in their world, and there had to be no wasted words. It worked because fans would recognize the person from the community and would want to cheer them on. And it also was highly relatable.

If you are looking to post longer content on social, you have to fully know your fans. It’s not something you jump into the first week of working with a new community. You have to know their hopes, dreams and grievances. You have to have the ability to be them on some level.

Once you know all those things, then you have to look at your content through their lens (which is frankly what you should be doing with shorter content as well, but I digress). Is it really of interest to them? Is it compelling enough that if they got called away in the middle of reading or watching it that they would actually look for it? If you can’t give a for sure yes, chop that content up into shorter pieces.

And the perk of chopping it up? You have a new content well to draw from, taking some pressure off of constantly producing content. You can instead present it in bitable posts over time that will reach more people and get more results. SO. MUCH. BETTER.

The best thing you can do for yourself and your audience at this point in the social media journey is to think shorter. And if you’re not sure what that looks like, think of the mom hiding in the bathroom to get one second of peace from her kids. Does she have enough brain power to take in all that you are presenting in your content? If not, keep chopping it up.

Just remember: Tiny nuggets of information are your friend.

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