Understanding Social Media Algorithms

July 16, 2021 by Courtney Blackburn

Social MediaWhen it comes to marketing your company in this day and age, social media can be a valuable way to reach your customers. Unfortunately, too many small business posts and pages languish ignored on major platforms. While many factors can impact success, it helps to understand the algorithms that social media platforms use to prioritize some posts over others.

In the early days of social media, users scrolled through posts in chronological order. However, as platforms grew their bases, tech companies sought ways to keep viewers from becoming overwhelmed and disengaged. That’s where algorithms come in — they’re sorting mechanisms that aim to push relevant content to the top of the pile. They utilize multiple factors, including engagement on the post and the individual user’s interests, to decide which content to put in front of readers.

There is no official guide on how to navigate each platform’s specific algorithm. However, there are certain characteristics that unite top-performing posts. Don’t let your enterprise’s presence be overlooked — consider these tips to help you understand and navigate social media algorithms:

Capitalize on user-generated content

Do your customers love showing off the product you sell? If so, share your patrons’ photos and testimonies. Since algorithms favor accounts that post regularly, featuring user-generated content can help you spend less time creating original social media posts. This can also give your brand some extra clout and encourage other fans to create media featuring your product. And to keep everything organized, consider creating a hashtag for your brand, which your patrons can use to tag their pictures.

Invite interaction

Algorithms consider user engagement to be a sign of post quality. Therefore, it can be beneficial to create content that invites people to leave comments and likes. These can be as simple as photo captioning contests, giveaways that encourage users to like and share the post, or even opinion surveys. If you choose to create surveys, your social media posts can do double duty by shedding insight into what your readers would like to see from your brand. You can also encourage viewers to share your content by creating heartwarming, funny, cute, or helpful content that appeals to your audience.

Mix it up with different strategies

If you feel like your social media marketing is stuck in a rut, it may be time to switch things up. Try posting content on different days of the week, or at different times. And instead of sticking to just text and images, create other forms of content to keep engagement metrics up. Demonstrate that your content is varied and relevant by offering videos, adding links to your posts, creating posts that use trending hashtags, and tagging popular brands that are relevant to your content or industry. Just exercise judgment when adding links — algorithms may consider your posts to be spam-like content if you’re heavy-handed with direct calls to action or links to your website. Avoid phrases like, “buy now,” and add substance to your links by showcasing the product being sold.

If you know how to make the most of social media algorithms, you’ll have a powerful marketing tool at your fingertips. For more help managing your company’s social media presence, consider finding a creative team member to handle content creation, or seek out a social media marketing consultant for additional guidance.      

Categories: Technology, Small Business, Entrepreneurship

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