Okay, so digital algorithms are a real thing. And unfortunately, unless you’re actively using them to your advantage, chances are the majority of your target audience won’t see your content. Appealing to your customer base online used to be a breeze. You’d post, the likes would roll in and your following expanded. Simple! However as the volume of social media users has grown, organic post reach has rapidly declined. And while trending digital algorithms are continually changing, everyone is getting on board the algorithm bus because anyone who is anyone knows how important they are. This has called for buzzwords like social media strategies and campaigns to become household chatter, in the business world. So luckily for you, we’re here to help you navigate the web of trending digital algorithms and give you the inside scoop on how the pros are using them.
Why digital algorithms?
Essentially, the main aim of digital algorithms is to keep consumers on social media platforms longer by showing content that you’ve previously engaged with. Gone are the days of chronologically presented timelines, and a much more strategic consumer-based enjoyment feed has taken its place. With Facebook kicking off the strategy-based trend, Instagram following suit and Twitter not far behind, how will you successfully appeal to your audience with these algorithms in place?
If you’re using Facebook on a personal or business level, no doubt you’ve noticed a steady loss of response to your content – particularly over the last year. This isn’t because your friends have all of a sudden started to hate you. Phew! More so, their engagement rates have been spread across many pages and platforms. During an interview with Buffer Social, Michael Stelzner, CEO of Social Media Examiner explains that each Facebook post on a business page is distributed to a select sample group of your following to ‘test’ the engagement that your post will receive. If it receives nada you can expect that it’s not going to get sent out to other customers from here. And news flash, this is not what we want. So what can you do to make your Facebook posts more appealing?
Facebook loves it when you post videos. By making them longer, they’re more likely to shoot to the top of the feed too.
Like any platform, original content reigns supreme. With a particular emphasis on new and exciting content, aggressive requests of your target audience such as ‘share this’ or ‘comment here’ are frowned upon by Facebook’s bots and will negatively impact your exposure. Keep your content fresh for your audience and Facebook will tip its hat to you with a more accessible share rate.
Even if no one is watching your live feed, it appears that your non-live content is sent to a larger percentage of your target audience. Genius!
While the early days saw Instagram posts being viewed in your feed in reverse chronological order, these feed formats are now long gone. Similarly to Facebook, Instagram is showing consumers content which is being engaged with, as part of their trending digital algorithms. This means that social media strategies are crucial for the overall success of Instagram accounts. So what are some actions you can put in place to broaden your insta-horizons?
Michael Aynsley of Hootesuite suggests that using the right hashtags can really bump up your exposure, so it’s worth doing your research. Check out what your competitors are hashtagging and discover niche tags for your market. Keep your hashtags relevant to your field and image. While ‘love’ is one of the most highly used hashtags, having been used over a billion times on Instagram (no kidding, look it up!), Aynsley explains that this will not accurately represent every image you post, or target your specific customer base.
High Quality Imagery
This goes for Facebook too. Stelzner simplifies the reasons behind this beautifully. Each platform essentially has inbuilt computers, analyzing your content for quality. While this has dramatically reduced scam like images, it also means that you don’t want grainy ones on your feed either.
Mary Blackiston, Content Marketing specialist for SUCCESS agency recommends taking note of which posts are generating the most engagement and then deciphering why this may be. For example, if one image receives 150 likes and the other is hit with 400 likes – how do these vary? Are the images vastly different? Have you introduced new hashtags? Was one caption ridiculously funny and the other inspirational? Get to the bottom of what your audience is looking for and make note of how you can continue appealing to them consistently.
Tactics and Strategies
While all of this information is important to consider when mastering digital algorithms, there are a variety of ways to increase their effectiveness. Whether you’re interested in creating leads, making sales or simply gaining more exposure for your brand, personality or business, a strategy is crucial for digital success.
Genuine Community Engagement
By genuinely connecting with your following in the form of likes, comments and sharing posts which are specifically valuable to your target audience, Stelzner assures that this will increase your customer engagement on the other end too. Your target market and following want to see content that’s going to provide them with value. Depending on your audience, this may be in the form of inspiration, information or targeted content, which will benefit them directly. Again, find what your target market is looking for and focus on giving the people what they want!
Call To Action
Give your audience a reason to want to know more about you. Whether that’s directing them to your website and encouraging them to sign up to your mailing list, downloading a free guide or simply providing them with useful content that they want to share with their friends. This is a big one. When your content is shared across platforms by your following, the algorithm gods take this pretty seriously.
Ultimately, if you use these trending digital algorithms to your advantage, you’ll know that having people simply liking and commenting on your posts isn’t enough. Yes, you’ve gained access to a targeted following but how do we transfer this to sales, providing your customers with extra information and cementing their interest in you? By formulating a clear campaign strategy, such as encouraging followers to sign up to your emailing list, download a product or contact you about your services, you are then able to gain access to your following on your terms. Passive scrolls and likes are a fab way to begin interacting with your target market but once you hold the reins, you can use this to your advantage and really start kicking butt when it comes to getting in touch and forming meaningful relationships with your target audience.
Written by Danielle Read, as featured on HER Magazine