⌚ 4 min read
Nothing strikes as much fear into entrepreneurs trying to boost their social media like the dreaded social media algorithm. It’s a big looming cloud of unknown that seems to randomly punish and reward unsuspecting social posts.
The function of algorithms is to deliver the most relevant content to users out of the thousands of photos and videos published every minute on social platforms. Pretty helpful, right?
But if you haven’t experienced it yet yourself (although you probably have but just haven’t realized it yet), the big deal about social media algorithms is that they affect reach.
What does that mean exactly? There’s a good chance that not all of your followers on a social network will see your posts, which leads to decreased engagement, less leads, and reduced revenue ultimately.
To top it off, those pesky algorithms have been mysticized into something far beyond anyone’s comprehension and a fact of life we have to live with. Sound ridiculous? Good, because it is.
You don’t have to succumb to the destiny algorithms decide for you. They aren’t a huge looming unknown, but rather a system that can be studied and utilized. While none of us can “beat the algorithm,” we can certainly play along with it and learn what it wants.
How do algorithms function?
They take into account a user’s past behavior, what they’ve liked, commented, clicked on, searched, etc., crunch it with some fancy data science, and then serve similar content to users at the forefront of their social feeds.
While there is a factor of “unknown,” there are two things business owners can do to start cracking the code:
Burdensome? Yes. Necessary? YES.
Sunshine Vitamins, an online retailer of health supplements, has realized that their social media posts haven’t been receiving the same levels of engagement they’ve enjoyed in the past. A significant amount of their website traffic came from social media, so less eyes on their posts meant less sales.
After a sweep of their social networks, they found the following algorithm red flags:
With all of these mishaps, it’s no wonder that social networks’ algorithms began ranking Sunshine Vitamins’ posts lower.
Keep in mind that it can’t be all one-sided catering to the algorithm. The crux of it all is finding a balance between playing along with the algorithm and producing content your audience wants to see.
They’re a living, breathing, ever-changing obstacle, but algorithms are here to stay, for better or worse. Learn what they’re looking for, play smart, and you’ll be reaching the top of the feed soon enough.