Social media sites are consistently trying to appeal more to their user base. One of their main strategies is to tweak their algorithms – which means they tweak feeds to display what they think their users want to see. Algorithms work to feature posts that are popular, relevant to individual interests, have a good engagement rate, or that are from users you frequently interact with.
Gone are the days where everyone sees every post from everyone in their network in chronological order. While this might improve the overall experience for your average user, it makes things considerably more difficult for brands that rely on social media for exposure. On top of it all, these algorithms are constantly changing, making it difficult to keep up.
Each platform is a bit different when it comes to their algorithms, but they all have the same intention. They work with the logic that if users are seeing posts that they actually want to see, they’ll stick around longer and will be more likely to keep coming back frequently.
So how do you outsmart the algorithms to make sure your posts stand a chance? These 4 tips can help keep you ahead of the game.
Set Up Google Alerts
Perhaps the best way to outsmart algorithm changes is to make sure you know when they’re happening. Since social media platforms don’t always broadcast their algorithm changes widely, it can be tough to stay in the know.
Subscribing to Google Alerts or a similar news monitoring source is a great way to stay on top of things. You simply enter relevant keywords that you want to keep track of, like “Facebook algorithm.” When a new article is published matching this info, you’ll be alerted via email. Knowing about these changes as soon as they happen will help you get ahead of your competition.
Make Every Post Unique
In order to have an effective social media marketing strategy, you need to be consistent and typically post something at least once a day. So, the struggle to constantly find new ideas and create fresh content is real. There’s a definite temptation for many marketers to repost old content once a bit of time has passed.
But instead of just reposting the exact same thing when you’re stuck for ideas, try repurposing old content into something new. There’s nothing wrong with sharing the same image or link more than once, but switch up the caption, ask a new question, or present it in a different way.
Or you can take it a step further. Did you do a great live Q&A? Turn it into a blog post. Or overlay an insightful quote from your blog post on to an image to make an awesome shareable.
Food & Wine isn’t afraid to post links to older articles by reframing them with gripping quotes and images each time.
Create Video Content
Statistics show that effective video content has a higher engagement level than any other kind of social content. That’s why you see so much of it on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Since posts that have high engagement levels are more likely to be seen organically, video content is a great way to use the algorithms to your advantage.
You can also utilize the growing popularity of live video. Going live can even send your followers a notification, so they can tune in and interact right away.
Your videos definitely don’t have to be fancy productions to see the benefits. Some simple, popular video options include:
- Going live from events.
- Creating a quick how-to tutorial.
- Making a short boomerang style video.
- Hosting a Q&A.
For some inspiration, check out the Vans Instagram account. They do a great job of incorporating short, engaging videos into their content strategy.
Start a Genuine Conversation
Social platforms have made it very clear that they no longer support “engagement baiting” posts. Facebook even made it well-known that they are actively working to suppress these kinds of posts. These are the posts you see that directly instruct users to tag someone or leave a particular kind of comment.
Since social sites want to be a place where people come to have conversations, creating posts that inspire real conversation can be a great way to make sure your content is seen. One type of post that does this really well is a poll. Since people who tend to vote also voice their opinion in the comments and share with their friends, it’s a great way to boost engagement. Turning a post into a game can also be effective since people love to show-off their smarts and participate in a competition.
Fox Soccer boosts engagement by asking followers their opinion about the big players in the World Cup. Not only are people reacting to cast their vote, but they’re leaving comments to elaborate on their opinion.
The reality is that social media algorithms will constantly change – and those changes will favor users over brands. While this is bound to be frustrating for even the savviest social media marketers out there, with these creative strategies you can stay ahead of the game and maximize your social reach.