How to Optimize Your Marketing Strategies for Social Media Algorithms
It’s no secret that social media algorithms are dominating forces that have the power to make your content go viral or never see the light of day. But these algorithms aren’t all-powerful spirits that actively try to prevent your content from being seen to appropriate audiences. Instead, think of these algorithms like the boss fight level in a video game. You just need to know what makes the “boss” (A.K.A. the algorithm) tick. What does the algorithm want to see more or less of? What are some tips and tricks you can use to “beat the boss”?
Social algorithms are a way for social media platforms to organize and present posts to users based on relevancy. To ensure your content is truly reaching your target audiences, you need to keep up with the latest updates and requirements as these algorithms change frequently. And to make the “boss level” even more challenging, each social media platform has its own algorithm! So best practices for Twitter likely won’t work for LinkedIn or other channels (and we're talking about aspects beyond character count). In this article, we'll dive into how you can optimize your marketing strategies to adhere to social media algorithms while also providing high-quality content that real humans actually want to read.
Social Media Algorithm Signals to Know About & How to Leverage Them
Before you can start taking action and revamp your marketing strategies to satisfy social media algorithms and their requirements, you must first understand what signals each algorithm uses to rank content.
Instagram’s algorithm is all about making connections. The more you engage with a brand or person, the more likely you are to see their content above others. So how can you ensure your brand’s content pops up in feeds across the globe? Start by encouraging your followers to engage with your content. Here are some tips:
- Create polls in your Instagram stories
- Ask your followers to comment on your posts in exchange for a giveaway entry
- Respond to any and all follower engagement
- Create Reels as video posts garner 38% more engagement than images
Other factors to consider are interest and relevancy. Instagram’s algorithm tracks users’ activity based on the content they watch, like, share, and engage with. The more they engage with a certain type of content, for instance, videos of puppies, they’ll keep seeing puppy-loving content all over their feed.
Keep in mind, if you’re looking to get your content on Instagram’s Explore page, you need to first:
- Increase the level of engagement with your account in general
- Garner quick interactions with your posts by creating relevant and interesting content your audience will actually want to see
YouTube’s social media algorithm is cutthroat, if we’re being completely honest. You need to be quick, cunning, and sometimes controversial if you want to rack up views on your videos. The algorithm favors videos that generate the most views and engagement within the first 24 hours of publishing. Yeah, it’s a bit intimidating. But garnering thousands of views isn’t impossible!
The best way to ensure your video gets maximum exposure upon publication is to:
- Send push notifications, SMS, and emails to intended audiences
- Share your YouTube video on other social platforms to increase exposure
The good thing about YouTube is that its algorithm doesn’t only showcase videos of accounts you follow. Instead, the algorithm serves up recommended videos for you to watch based on your watch history. In fact, people watch videos recommended by YouTube’s algorithm approximately 70% of the time.
The social media algorithm for LinkedIn is an easier nut to crack than others. But that doesn’t mean it comes without challenges. Approximately 1% of LinkedIn’s 260 million monthly users create and share posts. So only those 3 million users acquire LinkedIn’s 9 billion impressions on a monthly basis. This means that if you consistently create and share content on your brand’s LinkedIn account, you’re already a step ahead of the competition!
Here’s the kicker. LinkedIn’s algorithm favors posts that have garnered engagement within the first 4 hours of it being posted. Like other social media algorithms, the more engagement your post receives, the more likely it is to appear in people’s feeds and the more exposure your post (and your brand) will receive.
And, as you know, there are different connection levels on LinkedIn—1st, 2nd, 3rd. The closeness of a connection determines how often you see someone’s content (close connections see the majority of your content). So what can brands do when brand accounts can’t “connect” with people? We recommend:
- Encouraging your employees to share company content on their personal (yet, professional) LinkedIn accounts
- Leveraging relevant hashtags to get your content to pop up in people’s feeds who follow them
- Post your content in applicable groups of people that fit your buyer personas and have an interest in your solution
Facebook’s algorithm is designed to keep users on the site longer by prioritizing long form content like videos. In fact, video content is the preferred content type for over 50% of buyers, according to HubSpot. And Facebook is one of the top social media channels people go to watch videos, second only to YouTube.
And it makes sense! During Neil Patel’s speaking session at INBOUND 2022, he stated that video content over 5 minutes long generates, on average, 268% more engagement than any short form content on Facebook. Plus, like other social media algorithms, Facebook boosts posts (video or images) that accumulate lots of engagement.
A user’s Facebook feed is mostly stocked with content from the people and pages they follow. This means it’s vital to grow a large Facebook following. The more followers you have, the more engagement you can garner on your Facebook posts, and the higher the likelihood is of your content ranking highly in the algorithm.
Meta made the statement that the Facebook algorithm uses machine learning and applied machine learning to help people, “discover new content and connect with the stories they care the most about.” Here’s what we recommend you do to optimize for Facebook’s algorithm:
- Create long form videos that capture your target audience’s attention and keep them engaged
- Attract new followers by engaging with other brand accounts and posting content in relevant Facebook groups
- Develop and share authentic content with clear and truthful headlines (no clickbait!)
We know that social media algorithms change frequently and upon Elon Musk’s purchasing of Twitter, it’s safe to say that the algorithm is likely undergoing an update as we speak. However, here’s what we currently know about Twitter’s algorithm. It ranks content based on:
- User interactions (the more interactions people have with your account, the more likely they are to see all of your content in their feed)
- Location (Trending hashtags and topics are shown to users based on their geographical location and what’s happening in their area)
- Recent posts (The most recent posts show up in the section called “What’s Happening”)
To optimize your social media content for Twitter’s algorithm, we recommend:
- Becoming verified by submitting an application to boost your account credibility
- Strategically using hashtags that have a lot of visibility (but don’t overdo it—use two hashtags at most per Tweet)
- Increasing engagement by posting polls, joining in on worldwide trends, and encouraging retweets
- Placing ads on Twitter—users spend 26% more time engaging with Twitter ads than any other social media channel
While it’s important to optimize your content for social media algorithms, it’s just as important to create authentic, genuine content that resonates with your target audiences. That’s why it's fundamental to deeply understand the wants, needs, habits, likes and dislikes of your target audiences. So that when you’re creating social media content, you can know:
- Which platforms your buyers spend most of their time on
- Their daily habits—do they work a 9-5? Are they on social media during or after work?
- What types of content they prefer to engage with—do they prefer memes, GIFs, or videos?
The best way to determine all the above is to leverage social media analytics, either from a third-party platform like HubSpot, or directly from the social channel itself.
We can help you analyze your social media data and build a killer strategy, ensuring your content expands its reach and is constantly being viewed by best-fit audiences. Contact us to learn more about our social media management solutions.