Yes, social media algorithms, a topic that divides opinions
On one part, you have digital marketers who see social media algorithms are some sort of maze that they have to navigate every single day.
On the other side, you have business owners who see it as an obstacle holding back their content and preventing it from connecting with people they want.
Social media has become a core part of everyday living today and the social media space is getting even bigger. It’s not just older established platforms that are acquiring more users every day, even newer platforms like Tiktok and Twitch have come to stay. With this growth on social media, there had to be a way to ensure order and relevancy on the platforms.
Have you ever wondered why these social media algorithms exist? Why they are so important and how do they affect your business? Ever wondered how to beat the algorithms and get them to work for you?
In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about social media algorithms and how you can make them work for you.
So what are social media algorithms exactly?
Simply put, a social media algorithm is a set of data that determines what content a social media user sees at any specific time. It is worth noting that no two persons share the same algorithms as social media platforms create unique algorithms for each person on their platforms.
Social networks prioritize which content a user sees in their feed first by the likelihood that they’ll want to see it. On social media, algorithms help maintain order and assist in ranking search results and ads
As of October 2021, there were approximately 4.5 billion internet users, and of these users, about 57 percent of the world’s population use social media. That’s a massive undertaking to monitor and manage. This is why algorithms are so crucial in determining the validity and placement of social media accounts and content.
By default, social media algorithms determine which content to deliver to you based on your behavior.
For example, Facebook or Twitter might put posts from your closest friends and family front-and-center in your feed because those are the accounts you interact with most often.
Why do social media algorithms exist and why change them often?
Look at it this way.
You are connected to hundreds and even thousands of people across your social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I can imagine that when you log in to any of them, you wouldn’t want to be flooded with every single update from every single one of your connections. That would be overwhelming and even annoying right?
That is the exact reason why social media algorithms exist. Social media platforms use these algorithms to help make sure that users are served the best content – the ones they are more likely to want and engage with –
As a marketer that may sound wonderful as it gets your content in front of the right people. But it has its downside too. Social media algorithms are still not perfect.
There are plenty of instances of algorithms seemingly “hiding” content on Facebook at random despite being optimized perfectly. On the flip side, there’s a well-documented phenomenon on YouTube of videos surging to millions of views out of nowhere after being recommended to seemingly random viewers.
The purpose of an algorithm is to filter out irrelevant content or content that’s not high quality. This puts your content at risk of being buried or hidden from feeds if it does not fit the criteria.
Considering this, social networks regularly tweak their algorithms to improve user experience. The solution? Ensure your content is high quality, relevant and appealing while keeping an eye on any algorithm changes to see if you need to tweak your social media strategy.
There is also a school of thought that believes that social media algorithms exist to push brands to pay a premium for social ads. The belief is that if brands can’t reach their audience organically, they’ll turn to ads instead. This means more money for social networks.
Regardless of why social media algorithms exist, the fact remains that they aren’t going anywhere. For businesses, this means learning what algorithms “want” and what it doesn’t.
How To Beat Social Media Algorithms and Make Them Work For You.
If you are a business owner or a marketer, it’s time to stop worrying about social media algorithms. They aren’t going away anytime soon so you might as well dive in, figure it out and get it to work for you.
The truth is that it isn’t rocket science ( well, a bit of science is involved but you get the point). The key thing is finding a balance between what an algorithm wants and creating compelling content for your audience.
Across social media platforms, they don’t share the same algorithms. But we have found that a combination of these algorithms strategies work across all social media platforms.
Push Engagement often
This is pretty much straightforward.
The algorithms favor posts that gather a lot of engagement. Think likes, shares, saves, comments, etc
You should aim to encourage people to engage with your content as much as possible. You can easily achieve this by asking questions or putting up polls. Generally, your content should have a call to action that encourages people to take action.
Use the right hashtags
On platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, properly using hashtags immediately gives you an advantage.
Hashtags essentially make your content searchable and therefore extend a post’s reach by attaching it to a category. There are several opinions when it comes to how to use hashtags the right way but there is no debating the fact that it remains a key way to grow on social media.
Optimize your post timing
The timing of your post is almost as important as the post itself. You might have the most valuable content but if you consistently post when your target audience isn’t online to even see it, then it is pointless.
Do you also remember when we pointed out how the algorithm favors posts with good engagement? If no one sees your posts then you know it won’t be getting any engagement. In this case, the algorithm would work against you.
Based on research the best time to post vary across different social media platforms but one thing remains constant; you have to figure out your best time to post as soon as possible if you hope to get on the good side of the algorithm.
No matter the social media platform you use, just be consistent. This means that you have to be an active participant there.
Using a content calendar would help you to ensure that you can create and post consistently across your social media.
There are several social media publishing tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Crowdfire, etc that you can use to fine-tune your content across
Publish more video content
Videos are all the rave right now. As a growing trend, social media platforms are increasingly rewarding users who create more native video content (videos published to that platform, not an external link).
The more you can create videos that align with what your target audience is searching for on social media, the more the algorithm favors your business.
It’s all about quality content
The key takeaway for brands and individuals alike is this: Quality is Queen.
These algorithms are meant to filter out irrelevant and poor-quality posts so that the highest-quality content gets through. Control over what users see and don’t see is a collaboration between the social platform and the user. The user interacts with what they find interesting and the social media platform takes note and shows you more of that the next time you open the app. So the better the quality of your pictures, videos or audio, the more social media algorithms work in your favor.
Keep an eye on your analytics
Like I always like to say, “If you don’t measure it, then it didn’t happen”. Without analytics, you would not be able to tell what is happening with your content and the feedback it is getting. You also wouldn’t be able to decipher how the algorithms are affecting your content on social media.
Each social media platform comes with its unique analytics section where you can see the numbers and stats behind your business on social media. Use it effectively. The more data you can get, the better for your business.
Whether you’re a business owner or a digital marketer, if you hope to be successful on social media then you have to get on board. Social media algorithms are not enemies so you just have to get it to do the work for you.
Need help with social media marketing for your business? Our in-house social media team can hold your hands and lead you to implement the right strategy custom-made just for your business. Simply fill out the form HERE and we’d get back to you immediately
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