Organic reach is back, baby.

Social media just became a meritocracy

Ladies & gents, this is the moment you’ve waited for.

I’m talking to you, social media professionals. I’ve seen y’all tweet about how much you miss organic reach, and how the algorithms hold you down, and how way too many networks make these jobs way too hard.

But now most of the major U.S. social networks have a “For You” feed—a timeline of content that’s algorithmic based on your interests, not who you follow.

That means you’ll get the best organic reach since the days of early Facebook. That mean you don’t just get better organic reach, but that organic content can reach non-followers, aka new customers. And that means you need need to double down on social media again. It’s suddenly more powerful & more effective at bringing in business than ever.

Let’s talk about what happened, how we got here, and what it means.

What’s a “For You” feed? Why does it matter?

When we think of social networks, we think of our friends first. It is, after all, called a Facebook Friend Request. While most other platforms went with the more formal “follow” language & decoupled mutual requesting (I can follow you without you having to follow me), the resulting social timeline was the same: your content feed came from people you chose to follow, algorithmically prioritized as that network sees fit. That’s called a Social Graph algorithm.

Enter TikTok and their greatest innovation, the For You Page.

Instead of scrolling a feed from accounts you elected to follow, TikTok tosses you the content they think you’ll like based on your interests. This sort of algorithm is aptly categorized as an Interest Graph. Who you’ve followed plays in, but the videos you like/share, comments you post, content you create, and captions/sounds/hashtags of content you engage with all contribute to what TikTok places in your feed.

For You feeds for you, and you, and you

You’ve heard everyone say they scroll TikTok for hours? They actually do. Maybe even for 1.5 hours a day. That’s nearly 2x as long as Instagram… which Meta + every other social network noticed.

That’s why IG launched Reels, their damn near one-to-one clone. It hasn’t been perfect (remember Make Instagram Instagram Again?), but now that every video on Instagram is categorized as a Reel, they’re a colossal part of the platform.

Of course, Elon wanted to get in on the fun, too, so Twitter launched their version, straight up ripping off the “For You'“ language.

That means TikTok, and Instagram, and Twitter now all have algorithmic feeds based on interest graphs. Fundamentally, interest graph social networks mean that anyone who understands how to make compelling content has a shot at reaching audiences much wider than just your followers.

Interest graphs are a social marketer’s dream

We, the social media pros, finally have the content meritocracy we’ve asked for. A fair playing field where we can actually reach our followers and grow new audiences through content. Where our follower counts arguably don’t matter—if you know how to build a compelling hook to introduce a truly creative idea, you can win on almost any social network.

I’ve ran bunches of little TikTok experiments for my personal accounts and replicated virality several times.

Take my brand new personal TikTok—I only have 500 followers when I pulled in 160,000 views on my 11th post thanks to the “I’m a 34 year old washed up ex-college hooper just trying to get it back” hook (how’s that for authentic?)

Started another account with an intentional gag: I’d watch every episode of The Office to see how long til Michael Scott committed an HR violation. My second post hit 3.4 million views and pulled in 30,000 followers overnight.

My third account (who needs 3 TikToks?) was gonna document the Brooklyn Nets when they had Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden. The very first post went viral with 728,000 views, pulling 20,000 followers in 24 hours.

Sure, these are personal accounts, but the point is those who know how to make great content can not just win, but win big in this new interest graph world. We’re all paid to be social media experts, and this is the moment we’ve wanted: to show off our content skills on networks that’ll actually push the content.

So what should your brand do?

Invest in social media. Unlock budgets for content, staffing, tools, and analytics. Learn from content creators who are netting huge view & audience numbers. Make social media a huge focus of your business.

And most importantly: trust your social media managers. Let them experiment, let them succeed, let them fail—give your social teams 3 months with more support and less restrictions, then give me a call. Bet your brand’s far more well known next quarter.