Ashley Hutchinson explains higher engagement and the value of local community

Today, we’re witnessing algorithm changes intent on monetizing access to social community. If you want higher engagement, you have to hustle. And even then, attaining higher engagement levels feels as though it isn’t contingent on the quality of your posts. Growth and engagement, these days, feels like a matter of luck.

Among bloggers within the Chicago community, growth is a very hot topic.

“People are disheartened by their growth potential. I find it difficult,” says Ashley. “So much has changed since two years ago when I gained my first followers.”

In fact, Ashley remembers one of the first articles she read on recent algorithm changes to Facebook. The Chicago Tribune’s Facebook page witnessed a near 40% drop in organic reach over the course of a few months. That number is drastic, as explained by the Tribune’s Deputy Editor.  

“I used to be able to grow like that on Instagram,” says Ashley with a snap of her fingers. “Now it’s a little embarrassing when you have to say, ‘oh I have this many followers but only these many likes per follow. Today unless you literally have four virtual assistants liking and commenting on Instagram all day for you, good luck!”

If engagement levels are uncontrollable, we’re likely on the cusp of turning to different metrics for defining the quality and hard value of social posts. “My personal theory is that we’re either going to go the way of SnapChat, instantaneous and unedited. It’s spur of the moment and out there for fun. Or, social media will become highly editorial and curated.”

So how do you work around the uncontrollable changes to your favorite social media channels? Do you change to a platform that has naturally higher engagement? At the end of the day, it boils down to community.

“We’re a funky community in Chicago,” says Ashley. “We’re very supportive and I’m grateful!”

Today a brand can be an influencer and vice versa. An influencer can promote their own personal brand and it’s just not that they have an intersectional identity when it comes to output and job function. Influencers—consumers that they are—have a variety of overlapping interests.

“My whole blog name is quality over quantity in Latin. Sed Bona is short for pauca sed bona which means quality over quantity in Latin. My sister came up with the name. I was like, ‘how am I going to be able to brain dump food, fashion, and everything I like to talk about on the blog like life and style on the blog?’”

It is difficult  to define exactly what a social media influencer does and what social influence means. For starters, most influencers didn’t set out to become brand champions. Those who built their foothold before brands began to recognize the business opportunities inherent to social media, simply wanted to engaged with their online community.

They posted because they’re passionate.

“I usually tell people that I run my own site but that’s not encompassing enough! I think [your audience] prefers to think of you as an enigmatic artist and creator, someone they can go to for inspiration and not to be sold to.”

Like a Muse, perhaps?

It’s tough to find both a consistent community and a supportive community—interested in help each other out and growing together—but when you do it changes the ballgame.

That’s why Muses entered the game. No matter how you identify (brand, influencer) nor what you produce (blog, photograph, Insta posts like a champ) you can find your community outside of the platforms which want you to rely on advertising.

Connect with your peers and rediscover authenticate engagement with Muses. For a detailed look on Instagram’s algorithm changes or for general engagement tips, check out these posts: