You’ve most likely heard people talking about algorithms when discussing the engagement on their social media posts, right? We tend to blame a lot of things on “the algorithm”, and it really does make our life harder sometimes. But is the algorithm a real thing? And what actually is it?
What is an algorithm?
The dictionary defines an algorithm as “a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.” In the context of social media, the algorithm is a set of rules that determines who sees your posts. You might think that if someone follows you then they will get to see all of your posts, but that’s not true. If you were to post something right now, only a small percentage of your followers would see that post. The algorithm will determine who they are, and based on their reactions to your post the algorithm will then decide whether to show it to more of your followers.
Can I beat the algorithm?
Unfortunately there is no foolproof way to “beat the algorithm”, especially as it’s something which is continually developing and changing. We’re never totally sure what the algorithm is doing, but sometimes it appears to reset completely and you’re back to square one. However we do have one little tip that can help your posts be looked at more favourably by the algorithm… do you want to know the secret?
It’s all about engagement!
Social media was first and foremost designed to be social. Facebook was not set up to be a selling platform. Instagram wasn’t built to be B2C. If you stay up to date with the latest social media news, you’ll know that Facebook are currently taking steps to lessen the amount of business posts users see. My point with this is that you need to create a social environment to stay ahead of the algorithm, and that means you need engagement.
What is engagement?
Engagement is when a user engages with your post. The main types of engagement are liking, commenting, sharing. To put it simply, the more engagement your post gets then the more favourably the algorithm will look at it. It’s pretty ironic that the number of likes and comments that you get determines the number of likes and comments you get!
So, what are your tips?
Make sure you have a call to action in every post. My favourite way of adding a call to action is by asking a question. It can be as simple as asking if your audience prefer the product on the left or the right of your image in your post. Or even asking them about their day! You just need to figure out what is going to make your audience want to talk to you. Your call to action should be at the end of your post so that your audience don’t forget it.
The algorithm can be a pesky part of social media, and there is no way to avoid it completely; but by using the tips in this blog post, you should be able to understand and navigate it a little better.
Do you have any other social media questions? Why don’t you come along to one of our Social Media Cafes? If you have a project coming up that you’d like help with, we’d love to hear from you. Maybe we could grab a coffee!