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Any organisation trying to tackle the world of social media will be familiar with algorithms. And due to their seemingly mysterious and ever-changing nature, social media algorithms tend to make the majority of us a bit nervous.

But believe it or not, social media algorithms aren’t ‘out to get us’. It’s only unfamiliarity with what they entail and how to ‘decode’ them that makes us wary of them. They key to cracking algorithms starts with understanding what they are and why we need them in the first place.

So, here’s what you need to know…

 

What is an algorithm?

In simple terms, an algorithm is essentially a set of rules that social media platforms create behind the scenes to help shape the user’s experience. Algorithms are automated to decide which social posts make it to the top of your feed, and which don’t.

In the days before algorithms, most social media platforms would display posts in a reverse chronological order, showing users most recently posted content first. But as the number of social media users grew, so did the wealth of content. And this made displaying the right content to people more and more difficult. So Facebook got the ball rolling in 2010 with their first formal algorithm - EdgeRank.

Since then, the other social media platforms have all followed suit and introduced algorithms with various rules, designed to specifically improve the individual user experience.

You can read more information about how the latest social media algorithms work across individual social media channels below:

 

Why do we need them?

With literally millions of social posts being posted each day, it would be impossible for social media channels to filter through it all manually to try to decide which content individual users would be most interested in. The algorithm’s aim is to efficiently deliver a more personalised experience to social media users in order to keep them engaged.

But algorithms don’t just serve to benefit the users. They also benefit organisations and businesses promoting their products on social media by helping to put their content in front of the right audience, at the right time.

Ultimately, social media algorithms aren’t going anywhere. And with them constantly evolving and updating, it’s a marketeer’s job to stay on top of them and understand what they mean.

And this is where we come in.

 

How do you ‘crack’ them?

Although it might feel like algorithms are there to thwart you, don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you’re working against them. Algorithms are essentially there to help, so the key is to work with them.

Due to their evolving and complex nature, it’s often best to work with a marketing professional to ensure your content is serving the requirements of social media algorithms. But there are a few things you can do to help boost the performance of your content across a variety of channels.

Firstly, engagement is key. In a nutshell, the more engagement your content gets, the more likely it is to be rewarded by the algorithm. And whilst there’s no ‘magic answer’ to making sure your content gets engaged with, there are things you can do to increase your chances like tagging in other relevant accounts (where possible), using hashtags wisely and asking question-based posts that encourage your audience to interact with your content.

Social media channels also tend to favour native video content. So whether it’s an explainer animation or an animated infographic, posting videos to your social feeds can be a great way of shuffling your content up user newsfeeds.

When it comes to sharing links, social media channels also tend to reward posts that give the links context, and conversely penalise accounts that just ‘drop’ links without a caption. Your caption should do the talking, and the link should just serve as a CTA at the end of a post, driving action.

 

If you’re looking for help crafting impactful social media content that will resonate with your audience, get in touch with a member of our team and we’d love to work together.

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