Almost everyone on this planet uses social media, maybe one day soon we will find out if they do on other planets, but that’s not why we are here. We all lounge about being unable to resist the urge of scrolling through feed after feed on our favourite platforms. Have you noticed that your feeds are mostly directed towards hobbies or products you have an interest in? Do you know how that happens? Simply put, it’s down to the platform’s algorithm, but let’s break it down for you.
An algorithm is a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by computers.
With so many users, from businesses and individuals using social media, structure was needed to determine who gets to see what on their social platforms. Algorithms were structured to give the user relevant content, making their experience as seamless as possible.
However, marketing agencies continue to find themselves jumping over hurdles when optimising content. It is vital to get an understanding of how algorithms work across each of the different platforms. This is because they ensure that the content in a feed is focused more on the relevance to the audience in order to encourage engagement.
It needs to be pointed out that algorithms don’t always get it right, hence the constant change by social media companies to ensure they provide the best content. This is a challenge to marketers who need to adapt to these changes and new strategies, time and time again. This is why you may hear the saying “marketing is trial and error”. The continual experimentation of what type of content is both engaging and relevant can be challenging when dealing with algorithmic changes, on top users altering their expectations. Facebook and Instagram users have more business to consumer content, whereas Linkedin is more B2B related content.
Let’s delve into how algorithms work across the larger social media platforms:
Facebook uses ranking signals to help you understand their algorithm system. They focus on three major ranking signals namely, who you interact with, types of posts and the popularity of posts. Facebook will then use that data to curate the feed on what they think the user will enjoy the most.
Instagram identifies your interests, your relationships, and frequency when it comes to identifying ranking signals to favour a post. Instagram will curate your feed with accounts you follow, however only posts getting the most interaction/engagement, paid posts and accounts that you interact with the most will be “pushed to the top” of a user’s feed. People you follow that don’t have many followers and less engagement on their posts are not favoured and usually found towards the bottom on the users feed. This is the reason Instagram developed the new function at the top left of your feed page. If you click the word Instagram, a drop down menu appears and you can change your feed to either ‘favourites’ (i.e. user is able to select who they want to hear from) or ‘following’.
Oh, to tweet or not to tweet. Will the birdie fly the coop? Currently there is no rhyme or reason on this platform. With the new ownership, rules are changing on a day-to-day basis. There is no guarantee what will or won’t be seen. If you like using this platform, by all means continue, however, without your audience having their notifications switched to your profile, chances are you will hardly be seen.
Tik Tok has rapidly become one of the most popular social media channels, hence a must do for the marketing industry. Tik Tok creates a personalised feed based on videos liked, commented upon, and what is highlighted as not interesting to the user. Tik Tok gives users an opportunity to select some of their ‘most interested’ topics which allows them to be provided with the right content.
Something to note, Tik Tok does not consider a profile’s reputation. There is no priority on placement no matter how many followers or highly viewed clips on a profile. It will not guarantee placement on your feed – this is part of the reason some accounts can go viral overnight!
How to beat those algorithms?
Having taken a close look at the biggest social media platforms, what is the most effective way of staying on the correct path of changing algorithms? First and foremost, you need to optimise your content. Here are a few tips:
- Video Content – has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to engage with your audience. A sure way of grabbing attention over a regular text and image post. Social media values variety and videos are a must to be included in your social media content.
- Post Regularly – algorithms recognise the importance of frequency so don’t sit idle on your platforms. In fact, they favour profiles or pages that are more active. So go be that Social Butterfly you should be on your socials to guarantee the best for you! There are ample social media management tools which assist in planning and posting in advance. If you work with more than one platform you can cross post which helps you gain engagement from your audience off more than one channel.
- Interact with your Audience – engagement is vital to get your content acknowledged by the algorithms. The more engagement, the more you will be recognised and reap the rewards. Interact with your audience. This can simply be by asking them to comment, which may even serve as a call to action.
- Link Sharing – it’s great to share interesting articles or even websites on your socials. You do however need to avoid them being seen as spam. When you are including a link you need to show relevance to your topic and the audience.
Let’s wrap this up!
- Always remain mindful that algorithms are always there, and forever changing.
- Stay focused on creating consistent content that connects with your audience and keeps them engaged.
- Have some fun with your posts, ensuring to keep them relevant.
- Social media platforms will from time to time share their latest information regarding algorithms, but there will always be certain elements that will remain in the dark.
- There is a whole world of social platforms out there for your inner social butterfly to flutter!
In a world of countless ways of communicating with your customers, we are here to help you navigate your way through the right channels. Make sense of Digital Marketing with Omnichannel Media Group – contact us today!