I am sure you have heard the word algorithm thrown around left, right and centre. It seems to pop up on every social media platform, yet it seems somewhat elusive. You may be asking yourself “why hasn’t anyone liked my Instagram or Facebook post?” or “why isn’t my content getting any engagement?
Influencers often speak of their inability to “beat the algorithm” or feel like the algorithm is preventing their content from being seen, but is this true? Let’s take a look at how these algorithms can affect your business, and what can you do to try and stay the algorithms good side?
Let’s start with the easy bit…
What is a social media algorithm?
Social media algorithms aim to organise a users’ social media feed according to the relevancy of posts to the individual viewer. This means they are not necessarily in chronological order. In short, they’re meant to let the user see what the user enjoys and engages with.
Prior to the use of algorithms, the majority of social media channels simply displayed all posts from newest to oldest without really taking into consideration which accounts were of interest to the user.
What an algorithm attempts to do is to understand what the user/follower actually wants to see based on their activity. This includes the accounts and posts they interact with and the activity of other users the formulas consider to be similar.
How can this affect my business?
In simple terms, if the algorithm determines that your posts or your business account is not relevant to your followers, then it won’t show them your content. Of course, if users don’t see your content; they can’t interact with it or share it. This means not only have they not seen it, the people they interact with will also not see it and so on. Ultimately, this impact on a post’s reach will affect your business and the potential success of your social media accounts.
So, what can I do to “beat” the algorithm?
Each social media platform implements their own algorithm with its own parameters. That means that what you do on each platform may need to be adapted slightly, but there are some golden rules across all platforms.
- Make sure your account is set up correctly, with all relevant contact details, and page details filled out. It is social media suicide when a follower does land on your page if they then hit a dead end.
- Post different types of content and post regularly, but don’t spam people. Remember much of social media is reciprocal – social media platforms want you to be active, so the more often you pop online, give other user content a like, drop a reaction or comment, the more engagement you will receive in exchange.
- Make sure you are active on the social media channels yourself. Don’t post and ghost.
Having over 2 billion active users every month, Facebook places a great emphasis on comments and reactions, both in terms of length and number of each. Facebook also chooses to prioritise posts from a users’ friends and family over that of businesses. It will show content from a users’ top friends, alongside content from their friends which is highly engaged with by others. According to the most recent information, Facebook is also starting to prioritise groups and events as it is believed these are two of the greatest reason’s users visit the platform daily.
- Think of who your audience are and what they are interested in. Create content that speaks to those interests.
- What are your audiences pain points? What solutions can you provide to ease them? Sell the solution not the problem.
- Use Facebook video; this doesn’t have to be live. Video content in itself is well received and easy to digest.
- Ask questions – a question requires an answer – this engagement will increase the reach of your posts.
- Content that encourages followers to write lengthy comments is even better!
- Competitions can be a great boost to a page, with users asked to tag a friend or comment.
- Be clever with your content, show parts of photos and ask followers to guess what it is. Ask them to tell you a memory of a specific time they have. Share viral posts that relate to the audience.
Unlike Facebook, Instagram shares brand and user content reasonably equally. Instagram places its greatest importance on the number of likes per post. Regular posting is rewarded here; Instagram will prioritise content posted within minutes of a follower signing into their account/opening the app. Instagram is predominantly like, and hashtag led. With a 1.6% engagement rate, it can be an absolute goldmine for business owners.
- Invest time in posting regularly; Instagram doesn’t like a sporadic poster, ideally, create content and post every day but certainly no less than a couple of times per week.
- Make your captions meaningful, encouraging followers to read and double tap for that like!
- As soon as you post content, scroll through the timeline, engage with your followers and then search an appropriate hashtag and engage with the content there as well. This will help you gain new followers and build connections.
- Respond to every comment; ideally as quickly as you can. Don’t be lazy and just tap like, actually write a response.
- Use Instagram Stories – it’s a great way to share content without having to be as aesthetically pleasing as the content on your primary grid.
- Reels are another great way to share fantastic content with your followers and engage them. Make use of it.
- Try to reach out to influencers or others and tag them in your posts to build connection and show Instagram you’re a good user of their platform. It can be as simple as tagging a coffee shop.
Last but not least is Twitter; this is not a platform for every type of business. It’s certainly worth taking some time out to scope out similar companies, and search for some hashtags most relevant to your brand. See how active your target audience is on Twitter and have a look for any local or industry specific networking hours. Twitter is a time and engagement (rather than likes) focussed platform. Priority is given to tweets posted in the last 24 hours which are engaged with by your followers.
- Respond to all comments as quickly as possible.
- Remember that retweets and comments are valued on this platform, search out appropriate content to retweet on your own page.
- Don’t feel the need to use all the characters available (280) unless your tweet is packed with useful information for your target audience.
- Keep it regular; post at least three times a day.
- Be reciprocal, you can nurture some great connections on Twitter. Especially in networking hours.
While some of these tips may seem daunting, it’s important to remember there is scheduling software available to help you prepare all your posts on each platform. A lot of content can be reused across each platform in different ways with different captions and by adding/removing hashtags etc. as appropriate.