Algorithms this, algorithms that. When it comes to social media, “the algorithm” seems like an empty buzzword, but it’s actually among the most important concepts to understand in marketing. Social media algorithms are constantly evolving and will ultimately determine your success on each platform, whether your goals are to increase sales, awareness or thought leadership. Here’s a look at how:
1. The algorithms can keep you top of your followers’ minds or leave you in the dust.
Engaging with your followers and vice versa will push you to the top of their news feeds, providing you the opportunity to build a loyal audience and receive consistent engagement through likes, retweets, shares, saves or comments. Moreover, the more people who engage, the more the algorithm opens up and shares your posts with more users.
On the other hand, if there is a lack of engagement with your posts, your company is unlikely to show up in followers’ feeds, even if they like or follow your account. That means your mission-critical posts may only be seen by a handful of people within your networks if they lack engagement.
2. The algorithms can help you get in front of the right audiences outside of your followers’ news feeds via hashtags.
After receiving consistent engagement, the hashtags in your posts will help other relevant audiences find your account.
When people search for products, services or trends on the popular social sites, they often search through hashtags with keywords. The top results on every social network show accounts with the most post engagement, relevant profiles and nearest locations. This is especially important for the brick-and-mortar restaurants, retailers and home service companies that want to connect with local customers.
3. The algorithms can guide you on when and what to post.
The artificial intelligence that monitors the algorithms tracks your followers and their interests. Social media analysts can review this data to ensure your posts aren’t sent to into the abyss. Without detailed planning, posts can be lost within a news feed and unlikely to garner engagement, especially considering that less than 7% of organic content is seen by your followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. This means social media efforts, which are often time-intensive and costly, may not be helping conversions, branding and community building.
4. Piggybacking off the latter, the algorithms will help you understand when and what to post per platform so that you’re not winning on Instagram but losing on LinkedIn, for example.
How can you win on one platform and not another? Each platform has a specific algorithm, audience, trends and patterns that determine the success of all posts. A B2C business might have greater success on Instagram and Facebook when it comes to customer acquisition, while a B2B business might find greater success on LinkedIn if they are trying to reach employers.
For example, let’s say you own a local boutique. You may visit LinkedIn to explore partners selling wholesales products for your store. Some savvy e-commerce technology providers can market their services to you based on this activity. The algorithm will monitor your interactions and show you sponsored posts that are relevant to your searches and engagement.
Now, let’s say you’re perusing LinkedIn and decide to post a photo of a cool new T-shirt you’re selling in the store. You get zero engagement. Not surprising since people aren’t skimming LinkedIn for T-shirts. They want to learn about business, grow their careers and find new technologies to improve operations.
These examples may seem obvious, but there may be subtleties in your industry that are harder to pick up on. If you don’t monitor the data and pay attention to the algorithms, your strategy will fall short, despite compelling imagery and smart copy.
5. The algorithms will help you spend your ad dollars effectively, which can lead to conversions, network growth and branding.
Since social media algorithms are collecting data on your actions and behaviors, as well as your target audiences’, your social media ads can be customized to specific demographics and interests. Current profile information, thoughtful posts and consistent engagement will help the artificial intelligence technology identify likeminded users. By contrast, a poor organic social presence can lead to longer Learning Phases, flagged ads and the inability to connect with the right audience.
As you can see, the social media algorithms control all social media successes on each major social network. While big brands and influencers make social media seem effortless, there are teams and experts strategizing their every move. In the end, these demanding algorithms are simply a piece of the marketing puzzle. So, what’s your next move? Talk to the social pros at Aker Ink to discuss your game plan.