Social media, even after a decade of its existence still continues with its phenomenal rise and unfaltering craze. Lately, social media algorithms have been playing a key role for marketers and business owners, making it imperative to understand and master the art of working in tandem with the algorithms(and not against them). Moreover, this is all the more crucial if you are keen to cut through the competition and make a sizeable impact online.
Prominent social media channels from Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, to Twitter have not only changed the way people connect, consume and share information; they have in fact brought in a 360°change in the approach in which marketers engage with their customers and prospects.
Fig. The number of social media users is consistently on the rise & will reach 3.02 billion in 2021.
The statistics are highly encouraging, mainly for marketers and businesses willing to harness these trends, to create effective social media strategy and help drive sales for their business.
However, Social Media Algorithms is hogging the limelight often – sometimes taking the shine away from the much-anticipated social media campaigns, and sometimes driving marketers into a huddle to restructure their social media marketing strategy.
Social Media Algorithms – What’s all the Hullaballoo About
Ever since 2014 you must have been told quite a number of times about the dwindling reach on social feeds and falling organic social media engagement rates. While most marketers may relate this as an attempt by social media networks to push brands to pay for social ads, there is also another side of the story that can be attributed to many brands failing to reach their audience organically.
Every social media network comes with an exclusive set of technical elements, complex logic, and usage analytics that make up the algorithm, which delivers content to its users. Managed by dedicated teams of software engineers, data scientists and content strategists, these social media algorithms help balance user’s relevance with post timeliness.
The Role Social Media Algorithms Play for Your Business
Every user action on the internet- browsing, purchases and social feeds are guided by mathematical data that shows how social media algorithms work. As a marketer, you can work towards implementing strategies; harness the systems to maximize performance and get great content showcased in the social feeds of your followers. This is the only proven way how you can use algorithms in your favor. And if you cannot do so, you will soon witness your social referral traffic diminish at a steady rate.
The ‘Most Challenging’ Facebook Algorithm – How to Use it to Your Advantage
When you talk of social media algorithm, Facebook algorithm is one of the most discussed and debated of them all. This is one social channel that has been frequently updating its algorithm to improve user experience and engagement. So, how does it work?
Facebook is known to maintain a historical account of every individual user’s engagement with posts by friends and brand pages. In addition, based on those past ‘meaningful interactions’ (likes, shares, comment) with friends or brand pages, Facebook News Feed algorithm assesses your interest and foresees what you want to see.
You must have many times seen post suggestion on Facebook ‘Similar to the video you recently viewed’. This way the algorithm functions to display similar posts upfront in your News Feed from the same or similar people and pages, including from those with relevant profiles or posts.
Expert Tip to Beat the Facebook Algorithm Challenge: Post engaging Facebook content that fuels activity and interactions like:
-Interactive Posts: Post that initiates a reaction or engagement like ‘asking for a trip recommendation, specific health tips, product review, etc.’
– Post Comments: Posting comment back-and-forth on news, photos, and videos is also a great way to prompt active discussions and thus boost engagement and interactions.
Most Recent Facebook Update (March 12, 2019)
In the most recent Facebook ad metrics update, change has been announced on how relevancy is counted for Facebook ads. This puts to rest the five-year-old Facebook’s Relevance Score –the ad-metric that primarily tells you whether your ad is any good. It’ll now be replaced with 3 new metrics:
Chill and Tame the Instagram Algorithm with Ease
Are you worried about the tumbling engagement rates of your Instagram business account? Blame it on the Instagram algorithm, the more ‘likes’ you garner for your posts, higher the reach and vice versa, lesser the likes, lower is the reach. But it is not as sinister as it is portrayed to be. All you need to tame the lion named Instagram is to have some observation, analysis and right execution.
Instagram algorithms dictate that the content you publish should get likes and comments. But how algorithms work is what matters, Instagram algorithms position only those posts of yours at the top of your audience’s feed, which are believed to be like – based on past user interactions and interest.
Moreover, frequency too matters as Instagram favors recent posts to ones that were posted a week ago. So, your social media strategy recommends to keep posting content that is timely, valuable to users and engagement-driven. Not to forget the priority Instagram algorithms give to the ‘relationship’ actions you take. For instance, the people you have been tagging on your photos, captions or comments help catapult your post to the top of your follower’s feed.
Here are some more proven social media strategies to win over the Instagram algorithms seamlessly:
#1. As the saying goes strike the iron when it is hot, for Instagram, post when your users are the most active. Always remember that the first few hours after a post goes live is crucial and if you can manage to get the maximum engagement during that period, you can be assured to have the algorithms work in your favor.
#2. Another key to success in winning over social media algorithms and keep your brand a buzz with engagement is to be relevant, trendy and timely.
#3. Instagram is about action and is happening. What better than Instagram stories, that can make your profile active, engaging and algorithm-friendly to ensure better reach for your Instagram business account.
#4. Instagram is all about vibrancy of visuals, videos, and emotions. Make an effort to invest in high-quality photography and videography, while creating meaningful connections with your audience by engaging in mutual interactions – thereby boosting engagement and earning the favor of algorithms.
#5. Instagram ads can boost your posts to go long way, So some splurging at times to promote your brand’s special offers or new launches can help boost engagement. Have you tried boosting your Instagram posts through your Facebook profile?
Make Twitter Algorithm Work in Your Favor
Like any other social media algorithm, Twitter too has its algorithm working behind the scenes – giving more preference to some posts to be showcased in Top Feeds, based on user activity and interactions. Twitter is one of the most dynamic and popular platforms when it comes to information sharing, ranging to more than 500 million tweets sent every day. This is a challenging task for a brand considering you need to stand out and be visible amidst approximately 5787 tweets posted in a second.
After a lot of algorithmic changes, implementations, withdrawals, and replacements in all the year gone by, Twitter algorithm in 2019 is more about relevance, being active and timely because, what matters the most is to be listed under top Tweets and that is based on accounts you interact with most, tweets you engage with, amongst other criteria.
How to Deal After Every Social Media Algorithm Change
Michael Stelzner, CEO of Social Media Examiner in a podcast on Social Media Algorithm at Buffer said:
“The moral of the story is that there were the “good old days,” but the good old days are over. They’re never coming back and we need to accept that.”
So, why waste your time crying over things that are passé. Be progressive with a futuristic outlook to accept that social media algorithm are for the greater good.
–Rethink, restructure and rejuvenate your posting strategy on social media. Gone are the days when businesses used to post quite a few updates during the course of the day. It’s time to shed the so-called golden strategies of ‘scheduling when your audience is around’ With the new social media algorithms in place, remember that your posts are not in linear order any more. It is time when less is actually more! Rather post during ‘Slow hours and get noticed’.
–Focus and refocus on posting high-quality content, because the social media algorithms ensure that they are visible anytime (like Twitter algorithm giving preference to high quality, popular content with ICYMI tag) – playing a crucial role in cutting through the barriers of reach and visibility. In addition, reporting on Twitter and LinkedIn are now too ‘medieval’, so give them a miss if you wish to deal with the algorithms. Maybe reposting occasionally on Facebook works, but make sure it adds value to your audience.
–Live video is the most tangible way to beat social media algorithm blues, and marketers are already making the most of it. So, what are you waiting for? It will time to get your audience glued to your video posts, and the more they engage and interact with them, garnering visibility and reach will be a cakewalk.
–Focus on community development on social media. It not always about the number of people or the traffic, it’s about building a powerful social community with people of similar interests and adding value with your business, to convert them into a brand evangelist.
How to Create a Social Media Strategy by Decoding Social Media Algorithm
Now that you have decoded how social media algorithms work, create a social media strategy which joins the dots of every algorithm across social media platforms. Remember, it’s all about offering value to your audience through the content you share to enjoy enviable privilege when it comes to audience reach and visibility.
–Tweak your social media profile for better visibility and optimization.
This includes an easy to remember the username, a prominent brand image/logo, buzzword-free but keyword-rich description that describes your identity, and last but not the least a trackable link to your website – after all you want your social media visitors to know more about ‘how you can help them solve their problem’.
– Do not overpost, rather initiate interaction and build engagement.
Remember, your audience also follow other businesses. So, too many posts and overload of information will surely dilute the value they specifically seek from you. Share valuable information that only your business can help them with.
– Influencer marketing through social media is emerging as the new success mantra.
The essence of social media is the community building effort, deep connection, and communication, influencers are managing to build with their audience. Focus on making content conversational, instead of desperately trying to grab attention. The game of social media algorithm can only be won with the honest approach you take when engaging on social networks.
– Tailor your content strategy as per specific social media channel algorithm.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to winning the social media game. Twitter shows you the recommended tweets based on your personal interaction history, or timely tweets with reverse chronological order with the latest tweet first. On the other hand, Facebook algorithm fiercely relies on interactions (like, share and comment activity) the user is having with an individual or brand.
LinkedIn Feed algorithm, on the other hand, focusses on an individual’s personal preference to deliver relevant updates per visit. User activity is scanned and categorized by personal identity, behavior and content engagement. For Instagram, the algorithm is based on a more personalized feed based on user interaction history, as they care more about making the users feel fresh with timely content that users care the most.
This article has been written with an honest effort to help you decipher the ‘less-understood and much-dreaded’ world of Social Media Algorithms, and help create a winning social media strategy for your business. It is important for you and your business to be constantly updated and in tune with the fluctuating algorithmic changes, so as to always stay ahead of the competition and avoid consequences of your ‘news feed Reach’ going downhill.
About the author
Nisarg Mehta is the CEO and Chairman of Techtic Solutions Inc., is the vision of the company. Nisarg is active in operations in his daily routine as he is one of the key decision makers in terms of technological advancements of the company. He is a friendly leader with hardworking, motivating, visionary and passionate personality.