Understanding Social Media Algorithms for the Success of Your Social Impact Content
We often hear the word “algorithm” thrown around when dealing with digital marketing. But understanding what the word means and how an algorithm works are two totally different things. To have a truly successful social media marketing strategy for social impact, you must be able to optimize your content for each platform’s algorithms.
So what is an algorithm?
A social media algorithm is a way of sorting and ranking social media content based on its relevance to users. It’s a mathematical and computerized system that allows users’ experience to be personalized based on what they watch, engage with, and like on each platform. For example, when you see “suggested post” or “suggested account,” those are based on what the algorithm has deemed your interests based on your past interactions.
Differences on each platform
Each platform has its way of ranking data and determining its relevance. Awareness of their differences allows you to adjust your strategy for each platform accordingly. While they are ever-changing and becoming more complex, each platform has a few key things to note.
Instagram prioritizes relationships, video content, and personal interests. So, for example, if you follow someone, send messages, like, or comment on most of their posts, Instagram will continue to push you to a lot of their content or very similar content. Instagram has continued to state they are pushing more and more video content and ranking it higher than photos. Your personal interests and the type of content you spend the most time looking at will also rank much higher.
Facebook prioritizes content that is “meaningful and informative” and engaging. We recommend sharing content that people are more likely to spend time reading, watching, and/or interacting with. It is also essential to encourage interactions on your posts by prompting followers to comment and converse with each other. By engaging with your audience on the post, such as replying to comments, you’ll encourage them to converse with each other!
Since many users utilize Twitter as a news source, Twitter prioritizes relevancy and engagement. Your tweets are more likely to appear in the algorithm when you talk about recent and trending topics, such as current events or news stories. Staying active on Twitter is also vital by ensuring a minimum of 1-2 tweets per day. By staying consistent, your content will remain timely and relevant!
LinkedIn prioritizes “high quality” content. But how do they determine this? The content must 1) be easy to read, 2) encourage engagement, and 3) showcase relevancy. You can cater to the algorithm by posting when your followers are most active, sparking conversation with a question or prompt, and including both hashtags and keywords in your post.
Following trends can help get your content seen, but most importantly, create content that people want to watch or interact with. TikTok focuses on watch time and interactions when ranking content. When pushing your content to the For You page, it will either continue to push it out or not, depending on whether people are watching the full video and interacting. Creating a hook at the beginning of your videos that entices people to stay to the end will help your content rankings.
Optimizing your content
Here are a few tips to optimize your content and keep up with the ever-changing algorithms.
- Stay up to date: Many platforms regularly update what types of content they are prioritizing and pushing the most, so staying informed will help you stay ahead.
- Act quickly with trends: Trends come and go quickly on social media, so pushing out trending content before it has passed will increase your content rankings.
- Know your audience: Take a deep dive into your insights and learn as much about your audience and their interests as possible to ensure your content is engaging and interesting to them.
- Use a call to action: Encouraging your audience to engage with your content will increase the likelihood that each platform will push your content to them more frequently.
While social media is constantly evolving, it’s essential to personalize your content to each platform and, more importantly, to your audience. This is even more critical for social impact campaigns and companies, as often social impact campaigns can be trending or at least the ideas behind them. So algorithms can work in your favor. Algorithms can be complex, but learning more about how they work and what is prioritized will help ensure your content is reaching the people you intend it for.