Social media can be a great way to connect with friends, family, clients, customers and the outside world. But it can also be frustrating, overwhelming or irrelevant if you’re not seeing the content you want to see. As business owners, social media might be important to our marketing efforts, but if we don’t like using it, we’re less likely to be consistent, and so less likely to get the results we want.
While we may not have direct control over the algorithms or the content they serve, there are a number of things we can do to curate the content we want to see.
So if you’re feeling that social media has lost its charm, there are a few things you can do to make it more interesting and enjoyable.
Some of these tips are general across social media, and others are options for specific platforms. But many of these actions will declutter your feed and signal to the social media algorithms the content and topics you’re most interested in seeing.
General tips for all platforms
Declutter the people / profiles you’re following
One of the best (and easiest) ways to improve your social media experience (no matter the platform) is to clean out the people and profiles you’re following or are connected to. This means unfollowing or unfriending those you no longer interact with or that you don’t find interesting.
Over time, our interests change, so when doing the cull, it’s helpful to think about why you followed them in the first place. Are they friends or family members you want to stay in touch with? Are they thought leaders in a field you’re interested in? Are they accounts you followed to enter a competition (but don’t really resonate with their content)? Or did you do a polite “follow back” when people followed you?
If you’re not sure why you’re following someone, hit Unfollow.
The more people you follow, the more cluttered your feed and the harder it is to find the content you really want to see. So Kondo the crap out of the accounts you follow – if they don’t “spark joy”, make way for the content you’re most interested in. (If you’re concerned about offending people, each platform has ways to block content from your feed without actually unfollowing, so read on for more tips).
Engage with the content you like
Remember that every action you take on social media trains the algorithms to highlight the content you’re most interested in or engaged with. Make an effort to seek out and engage with the content you enjoy the most. This will help refine the type of content that appears on your feed.
When you see content you like, take the time to like, comment, save or share it. This will help the social media algorithm learn what kind of content you’re most interested in (and will support those accounts as well).
Be proactive with your engagement
Instead of sitting back and complaining about the social media experience, be proactive and seek out the creators and content you most want to see. Engage on their content and become part of the conversation.
Create Clear Boundaries between Business and Personal Profiles
If you use Instagram for business but also want to use it personally, consider having two profiles. That way you can keep your business account related to your business interests – gaining industry knowledge, communicating with your target audience – and Instagram will serve you the content related to your business while your personal account can cater to your personal interests.
Even though I had a personal and a business Instagram profile, there was quite a lot of crossover between the people I was following and the content I was consuming. Add to that the fact that I often research topics for clients from within my profiles (and interact with their content), and I had completely confused the Instagram algorithms and the content they were serving me was muddled, confusing and overwhelming.
So I’ve spent some time reorganising both profiles, unfollowing friends from my business profile, and following them from my personal account. I now use Instagram more intentionally – going in with the goal of using it for either business or personal reasons. As a result, the content I’m being served is more interesting on both profiles.
Master the Mute Button
If there are Instagram accounts that you don’t want to Unfollow, but you’d rather avoid their long-winded, how-many-dots-are-at-the-top-of-the-screen Stories (or other content) you can use the Mute button. To access it, go to your Profile > Following and scroll until you find the account. Click on the … beside their profile name, and choose Mute, and then select which areas of their content you’d like to silence.
Click Not Interested
We’re seeing more and more content in our Instagram Feeds that isn’t from people we follow, but that is “Suggested for you.” If Instagram has it wrong and you’re not interested in that content, you can click on the … to the right side of the post, and click Not Interested. This will help to train the algorithm to understand your interests better. The same option is available in Reels.
Within Instagram there are a number of settings that can filter certain content from your feed and comments. Go to your Profile > Settings & Privacy > Suggested content and you will see options to hide Sensitive content.
Also under Settings & Privacy you can limit unwanted interactions and set Hidden Words that hide offensive or annoying content from the comments in your posts.
Browse the different Feeds
- From within your Facebook profile’s Home Page, you can click on Feeds, and then choose which Feed you see, either:
- All – the default feed
- Favourites – up to 30 Friends or Pages that you’ve marked as Favourite. When time is short, it’s a great way to check-in with those accounts you’re most interested in.
- Friends – Posts from people you’re Friends with in reverse chronological order (ie most recent first)
- Groups – Content from the Groups you’re a Member of in reverse chronological order.
- Pages – Posts from the Pages you follow in reverse chronological order.
So depending on the purpose of your visit to Facebook, you can access the accounts you’re most interested in quickly via Feeds.
Declutter Your Groups
Over the many years since you joined Facebook, you may have joined many Groups relating to your interests, life circumstances or local groups. And over that time you may have moved or your interests might have changed. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably a member of Groups that you’ve completely forgotten exist.
So go into your Facebook Groups area and remove yourself from any Groups that you’re no longer interested in or are not actively participating in.
Freshen up your Pages
Unfollow or unlike any Facebook Pages that are no longer relevant or whose content you no longer want to see. This will not only improve your feed, but can also impact the ads you’re shown, as Facebook shows ad content based on your actions and the people/Pages/Groups you follow.
Use Unfollow / Snooze
If you’re friends with (or related to) people on Facebook (or follow Pages) and their content annoys or upsets you, but you think unfriending might cause offence, you can:
- Unfollow – This means you stay friends, but you won’t see their content anymore. This applies to Pages or Friends
- Snooze – You will stop seeing posts from this person or Page for 30 days
Manage Your Feed
The Manage Your Feed option on Facebook helps you manage your Favourites, see the accounts you’ve Snoozed or Unfollowed (and reconnect or resnooze if you wish), and Reduce certain types of content.
To access this feature, click the … beside any post (not ad) and select Manage Your Feed.
Clean Out Your Connections
Clean out your connections on LinkedIn to make sure you have a relevant network. Remove any connections that you no longer interact with. You can also choose to Unfollow certain connections – so you remain connected but don’t see their content.
Unfollow Company Pages
Just like on Facebook, unfollow LinkedIn Company Pages that no longer interest you.
Re-Group your LinkedIn Groups
Evaluate the LinkedIn groups you’re part of and leave those that aren’t adding value, providing great information or creating opportunities (especially the super-spammy groups where it’s just people pushing their own products and services).
Tik Tok Tips
Use the Not Interested Option
As you scroll through your feed, if there are Tik Toks you don’t like, or don’t want to see more of, press down on the screen and click the Not Interested option that appears.
Update your Content Preferences
Go to your Profile > Settings & privacy and scroll down to Content preferences. From within this section you can:
- Filter video keywords – you won’t see videos that contain the filtered words in the description or stickers
- Restricted mode – filters videos that may be inappropriate for some people
- Refresh your For You feed – this is like a reset on your feed, and Tik Tok will show you popular videos to kick off your new feed, and then the more you interact, the more it will personalise the content in line with your actions. (It doesn’t affect your Following Feed or inbox).
Anyone still using Twitter? Here are some options to tidy up your Twitter experience.
Use the Not Interested in this Tweet option
If you’re shown a tweet on the For You feed of Twitter that you’re not interested in, you can click on the … and choose Not interested in this Tweet to let the Twitter algorithm know not to show you more of this content.
Use Twitter Lists
Twitter lists let you curate the accounts you follow into specific topics – which lets you be intentional about your use of the platform.
Mute or Block Particular Accounts
To avoid being shown specific accounts, click on … at the right side of a Tweet and choose Mute. You will still be following the account, but won’t see their content, and they won’t know you’ve muted them. You’ll still receive notifications if they mention you or send you Direct Messages.
You can also Block accounts, which stops them from interacting with you. They won’t see your content (and you won’t see theirs) and you will not be notified if they mention you.
Tune your Home Feed
Pinterest makes it really easy to see the content you want, with a built-in feature to clearly tell it what interests you.
On desktop, log into Pinterest and click on the v in the top right-hand corner, and choose Tune your home feed.
You then have the options to go through Activity (which shows you pins you’ve interacted with recently), Boards (boards that you have set up), Interests (specific interests) or Following (the people you’re following).
You can tidy up each of these categories so that your feed is refined and more enjoyable.
It’s a little early for Threads tips (at the time of publication Threads is only about 7 days old) but if you haven’t kicked off your Threads account yet, think twice before you hit the button that lets you import all of the accounts you follow straight over to Threads?
Why? Because I see this as a chance to start again, a fresh canvas. Hand-pick the accounts you like the most and start there. Then as people interact with you and/or follow you, you can check out their profiles and see if you want to follow back. It’s a new opportunity without the baggage of your Instagram activity.
Within Threads’ privacy settings, you can use the Hidden Words feature that is also available on Instagram. This can help you block content in comments you receive on the platforms.
On Threads, to set Hidden Words, go to Settings > Privacy > Hidden Words. From there you can choose to Turn filters for offensive words and phrases on, and set Custom words and phrases that you wish to hide.
Mute or Hide options
If you see Threads you’re not interested in, you can choose the Mute option (to avoid seeing a particular user’s content) or Hide (to hide a particular post).
As Threads evolves I’m sure there will be extra features that allow us to organise our experience.
Take a Break
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media, take a break. Step away from your devices for a few days or even a week. When you come back, you’ll be refreshed and ready to enjoy social media again.
Taking a break from social media can help you clear your head and focus on other things. It can also help you appreciate the good content that’s out there when you do come back.
These tips aren’t the perfect solution to creating the social media of old, where we loved the content and created great relationships. But they will help you remove some of the frustrations and irrelevant content, and shape your experience more than if you let it up to the algorithms.
And if you enjoy the experience more, you are more likely to be consistent in your social media marketing efforts, which will lead to better results.