Have you found yourself finally having a breakthrough with your social media engagement, only to see those numbers come crashing down the next week? You’re not alone! But who’s to blame? Truth be told social media algorithms. All social media platforms are making adjustments to their inner workings regularly – hey, they need to boost their engagement too! And because social media platforms don’t give you a handbook on how to be successful with their algorithms, we thought it would help to share what we’ve learned. Read on for tips and tricks to cut through the clutter, leverage social media algorithms to your advantage, and boost your biz’s social status!
Hit Me with the Refresh
Need a quick refresher before we dive in? You got it. An algorithm is defined as a pattern or set of rules that problem-solving operations use to make calculations. When we talk about social media algorithms, it’s the mathematical calculation that social platforms use to understand their users’ habits and decide what content to show them.
The Recipe for the Instagram Algorithm
Instagram has a long history of altering its algorithm. User feeds switched from chronological order to show the most active accounts during a scroll session. Similarly, the story feature bumps your favorite accounts to the front of your feed, saving users from searching for them directly.
Instead of homing in on one characteristic, Instagram’s algorithm looks at multiple aspects of social media like relevancy, connection, engagement, and content popularity. Typically, Instagram will prioritize posts with the highest number of likes and comments, posts from profiles that the user engages with frequently, and posts that include hashtags that the user follows.
The best way to make friends with Instagram’s algorithm is to boost your engagement. When you post, make sure to respond to comments – preferably within the first hour after a comment is posted. Posting consistently is also a good idea if you want to stay in your users’ feeds. And before you cringe, it doesn’t have to be every single day. Whether it’s once a day or twice a week, it’s just important to stay consistent with that schedule. And don’t forget to use hashtags so users can find and engage with your content. Like all things in life, too much of something isn’t always a good thing. The algorithm will deprioritize your post if you fill your caption with meaningless hashtags. We recommend a max of 10 hashtags that are relevant to your content.
Pinterest = Interest
While other social media platforms rely on hashtags, witty banter, or SEO-worthy verbiage, Pinterest’s algorithm works a little differently. On Pinterest, the algorithms are interest-themed. Think about your feed. If your last Pinterest search included “farmhouse décor”, your feed will most likely be filled with pins related to farmhouse décor the next time you log on.
Pinterest’s algorithms prioritize recent pins that are relevant to the user using his/her past searches. Its algorithms also promote pins with engagement, like repins or comments. However, Pinterest deprioritizes pins that are repinned on multiple boards (think 15 or more).
Because of this, we recommend quality over quantity when it comes to figuring out the Pinterest algorithm. Focus on high-quality images, and make sure to optimize your pins for SEO. (We’re marketers, you thought we could write a blog without mentioning SEO!?) Add keywords to your pin titles and descriptions to increase your reach and make your content easier to find. When pinning, don’t go board-crazy! We’d suggest choosing ten boards at max that are most relevant to your pin.
Engage with Facebook
Facebook’s infamous algorithm is perhaps the most difficult to figure out. Like Instagram’s feed, Facebook first shows users content from the accounts they are most active with via comments, likes, and even messages. If your audience doesn’t always interact with your posts or if you aren’t a consistent poster, this feature of the algorithm may harm your efforts. Because of this, the platform hasn’t racked up a lot of cool points with businesses looking to reach consumers with organic (non-paid) posts.
So, how can you make nice with Facebook’s algorithm? It’s all about engagement. Make sure your posts are set to ‘Public’ for maximum exposure. You’ll also need to post content that will generate conversation, like asking a question. But one- or two-word comments won’t cut it. The goal is to create meaningful interaction, so make sure to provide users valuable content that will lead to lengthier comments.
Bonus: We recently shared Why You Should Invest in Video in 2021 on our YouTube channel, which shows stats on the success video and images can have in your content versus text-only posts. Check it out to learn more about why video is the way to go when attempting to catch the eyes of your Facebook followers.
YouTube Gives You Satisfaction
Speaking of YouTube – if YouTube’s algorithm had a relationship status, it would be set to ‘It’s complicated.’ There are a few factors YouTube’s algorithm considers. We’ve all seen the recommended videos based on what you previously watched. YouTube even recommends video content by the same content creator as what you once watched. Its algorithm also promotes videos that have gone viral. Even if it’s not relevant to you, videos receiving massive amounts of views, comments, and likes in a short period of time will show up in your feed. Surprise!
So, how do you crack the complicated algorithm? Start with increasing engagement. When watching a YouTube video, notice how most content creators ask for you to ‘like, comment and sub’ a few minutes into the video? This isn’t just for fun. You also want to make sure you’re optimizing your video for SEO. Using a popular keyword in your video title or description can increase your chances of views, comments, likes, and subscribers!
It’s Time for Twitter
The Twitter world moves fast. With its 280-character-limit, Twitter’s algorithm sends a clear message: keep ’em short and keep ’em coming. Twitter looks at recency as its most significant factor when prioritizing content. Content posted within the last 24 hours with the highest amount of engagement from users you follow is typically going to populate your feed first. In terms of how users engage, content with higher numbers of retweets is prioritized over content with only comments and likes.
To win in the lightning-fast world of Twitter, aim to tweet multiple times a day so that your content stays fresh in the feed. You also want users to engage with your post. Utilize all 280 characters to ask a question or create a Twitter poll. As with all other social media platforms, responding to comments is critical, but Twitter is about timing. Make sure to respond to comments within two to three hours of sending out a tweet.
Make the Connection on LinkedIn
As the go-to professional platform, LinkedIn users are looking to connect and learn. This means you’ll see prioritized content from users you engage with regularly and users who post consistently. When it comes to comments, the algorithm promotes posts that include lengthier comments over posts with many reactions. LinkedIn also factors “dwell time” in their algorithm. This is how much time your audience spends on your content. And just like Facebook, LinkedIn’s algorithm doesn’t prioritize content from business pages.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t be successful with your posts on LinkedIn. The algorithm favors lengthy, high-quality comments. You know what this means – your content needs to get users to spend some time thinking and get them buzzing with conversation. But even if you’re not garnering a lot of engagement, consistency will help you continue to stay in your user’s feed. Whether you’re posting once a week or every single day, keep it consistent.
There’s More to Come
With so many social platforms to keep track of, tackling each algorithm can seem like a daunting task – especially when they’re continuing to evolve. As more updates come out (and we know there will be updates!), we’ll keep you posted on the latest right here on our blog. Do you have any tips for mastering social media algorithms? Tell us about them at [email protected]