Have you ever wondered how social media platforms decide who sees what posts? None of it is by accident or by coincidence. Each social media platform has a sophisticated formula that determines which users see what, based on interest, activities, and other habits monitored by the platform. This is called an algorithm.
“The Algorithm” was introduced to social media platforms because at a certain point, the sheer amount of content being posted meant that users would not be able to see everything, even from friends they are connected with and people they follow. All platforms have their own algorithm but they all work similarly and serve the same purpose – showing users the content they want to see.
How does this affect your business? It means that not all of your fans will see your posts, EVEN if they Like or Follow your page. In fact, some sources state that the average page reaches about 2% of it’s followers.
How can you increase that number? By understanding how the algorithm works!
The exact details and formula behind the algorithm are kept top secret. Although we are able to decipher some information on how it works. One important thing to note is that all social platforms have their own algorithm, but they all work similarly and serve the same purpose – showing users the content they want to see.
Recently, during a media tour at its headquarters in San Francisco, Instagram (which is of course owned by Facebook) shared with its guests the factors that determine what posts each user sees in his or her feed. The three main factors are: Interest, recency, and relationship.
Your activities are constantly monitored while you are spending time on social media pages. This helps the algorithm show your posts that you will most care about. This also means that every users’ feed is different based on their activities.
There are 3 primary factors that decide what you will see:
- Interest: The algorithm sorts the posts of those you follow based on your past interactions with similar content.
- Recency: More recent posts are given priority over something a few days or weeks old.
- Relationship: You will be shown content shared by those you are closest with (in the eyes of the algorithm). This is determined by activities such as liking, commenting, or being tagged together in photos.
How can you use this information to make sure your posts are reaching the right people?
These are my Top 3 recommendations:
- Encourage Engagement – The more your audience likes, comments, and generally takes action on your posts, the more likely they are to see your posts in the future.
- Consistent Content – Since recency is one of the main factors the algorithm considers, make sure you are posting regularly to ensure that your content is being seen. Remember to aim for quality posts, not quantity. Three to five posts per week is ideal for most businesses.
- Be on Brand – Have you ever followed a page whose strategy seems to be to share popular memes or videos? This strategy (which is ineffective for various reasons) is going to mess with your results. The algorithm will not get a clear picture of what your page is about or who it’s for, and therefore it will not put your content in front of the right people.
Bonus: Create original content that educates, entertains, and engages your audience.
By Denise Alison founder of Stratigro