Why should I care about algorithms or social media at all?
Social media algorithms are the definition of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’. They change at a rate so rapid it’s hard to keep up with. So how can you make the most of your social media marketing, play the algorithms and ensure consistent results for your business?
You might be thinking, “So it’s as easy as that, just open Facebook?”, and the answer is no, not exactly. You see, each social media platform has its own set of rules. Some are obvious – like tweets having to be less than 280 characters, and some are a little harder to spot. These hard to spot rules are known as the algorithms, and they can decide whether your tweets, posts or photos get the reception they deserve. The problem is, a lot of businesses give up on social media because they don’t know how to make appropriate use of these algorithms and end up giving up seeing social media marketing as a waste of valuable time and resources.
Here, we’ll tell you all there is to know about the algorithms behind Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn (as of September 2019) and the best way for your business to make use of them.
Twitter: Secrets a little birdie told us
Out of all social channels, you’ll struggle to find one as controversial as Twitter. With constantly evolving algorithms, design and rules, the platform causes a lot of debate amongst marketers and consumers alike. However, it’s incredible popularity with everyone under the sun makes it an invaluable resource, which is why we try our best to understand it.
1) Tweets with videos can bring in as much as 10x the engagement as a text tweet. Even using a GIF can help you bring in an average of 55% more engagement per tweet, so why wouldn’t you use them? A lot of businesses avoid multimedia due to an outdated stigma regarding professionalism and brand presence, even when modern consumers demand more personable and relatable companies.
2) Don’t just hashtag at random. Research the top hashtags for a certain topic and make use of the data in front of you, instead of shooting in the dark. With the trending feature on Twitter, if your account tags onto the right hashtag, any number of accounts could witness your tweets and convert impressions to engagements.
3) Activity equals engagement. You appear more trusted and valued as an account with plenty of engagement and online activity. Staying in the shadows and only posting to a certain limited schedule can discourage potential impressions. Regular posting and regular community interactions can do much more for your business, as a recent survey states that people who receive a response are 44% more likely to share their experience, and 30% are more likely to recommend your brand.
Instagram: A lot more than just food pics…
When you think Instagram, you think food pictures and models, and you’re not exactly wrong. However, with the rise of what’s known as ‘influencer marketing’, Instagram has become a serious social media marketing tool for businesses attempting to reach the new generations of consumers. Instagram is undoubtedly one of the most popular applications and social platforms of the 21st century, and celebrities know that too, especially models, YouTubers and Love Island contestants. This creates a mutually beneficial agreement where a little bit of investment goes a long way by paying for an advertisement from one of these internet stars. Here are three ways where Instagram can be used for your businesses benefit.
1) Instagram organises a lot of users feeds via relationship and will prioritise these ‘close’ relationships. So, if you want to appear in your customers’ feeds, then interact with them. Like their comments, share their photos and run competitions to inspire interactions. According to Instagram themselves, this allows users to see 90% of posts from their friends and family, or perhaps your business if you play your cards right.
2) Another slightly broken feature of Instagram which causes accounts to lose a place of priority on their followers feed is the image recognition technology which allows for Instagram to immediately recognise the content of the image (almost) and provide its users exactly what they want to see depending on their preconceived behaviour. The tip here is to make sure your ‘Insta’ is filled with relevant content and imagery; photos that actually match modern trends. It’s as easy as posting good, relevant imagery, simple enough right?
3) Post when your audience is looking. You might have the greatest content on the platform, but if you’re posting at 3am and your audience are based only in the UK, you won’t get much traffic, and you’ll only end up in the backlog of your potential audience’s timeline. The best way to learn these peak times is through arduous trial and error… or common sense. When do people leave work, and when do they wake up, as these are the times that people check their social media the most. Learn your audience, and post when they want to see you post.
LinkedIn: Business or pleasure?
There’s a lot of debate over whether LinkedIn is a business networking site, or a social media just like Facebook and the rest, and regardless of the truth, businesses need it to market their brand. So how do we go about making our content perform well on a platform so divided in its nature and purpose?
1) Personal connections are key. Rather than aimlessly connecting with every CEO in Silicon Valley, you should try and connect with users who share interests with you, interact within the same circles and have similar skills listed. These small connections between users are picked up by LinkedIn’s algorithms and cause the platform to make your content more reputable to that user. Personal connections allow you to have your content prioritised and appear on more of your ‘followers’ feeds, which in turn can help it receive more engagement and interactions.
2) LinkedIn’s mysterious algorithm also manages to pick up on the minute details within a post about certain language and terminology that may affect that post’s affinity to certain users. By using hashtags, you can clearly define who you’re targeting, and force LinkedIn to consider your post as being relevant to a certain crowd of users, which is a really useful feature if you know how to use it (which you now do, congrats!).
3) Furthering on the idea of audiences, you have to consider the kind of demographics which use LinkedIn. With a network of professionals who value their skills and use LinkedIn to demonstrate and showcase these professional skills, a great tactic for engagement is to pose open-ended questions and inspire debate on your posts. This doesn’t mean you have to be controversial but splitting opinion with a specific ‘take’ that’s relevant to your audience can boost interaction rates by a considerable amount.
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