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The Secret To Winning The Social Media Algorithm Battle

Another social media platform — this time Instagram  has announced that it’s changing the way it prioritizes posts based on algorithms, and of course, people aren’t happy about it. My Instagram feed has been filled with people and brands asking their followers to “Click here to Turn On Post Notifications” since Monday.

Here’s an example:

 
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Some people posted asking their followers NOT to turn on their post notifications:

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When word came out about the algorithm changes, there was a rush to action on the part of people, despite a lack of official news from Instagram on the change. Later in the day, Instagram actually took to Twitter to clear up the questions:

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What we know is that Facebook owns Instagram, and has become very good at creating an algorithm that isn’t always that nice to brands and companies that aren’t paying to get those posts in front of eyeballs. The average Facebook Organic Reach is hovering under 3%, meaning that your content is only naturally going to about 3% of your audience, determined by Facebook’s “EdgeRank” algorithm. Just as Facebook has been successful in creating a “pay to play” platform for brands, Instagram will become a similar model. Instagram has said that users were only seeing 30% of the content their followers were posting, and they want to make sure the content you do see is the very best content for you. However, many marketers feel that this move is designed to drive greater revenue from advertising, and to increase time spent on the platform. In order to see the posts they love, Instagram users can no longer be passive observers. They must actively like, comment on, and otherwise interact with their favorite posts. Brands that aren’t getting enough organic interaction will need to pay to boost their posts.

Twitter has also been testing an algorithm model, and users have been in an uproar about it since it was announced. In fact, whenever there is talk of a major change to one of our beloved platforms, there is a general panic among fans. For example, we saw a similar to the outcry when there was talk of Twitter expanding their character limits. Twitter’s algorithm model is currently optional, and the service has even blogged about it, telling users how they can turn it on and off. Twitter’s goal is the same as Facebook’s, and that’s to make sure users see more content from people they want to want to see content from. If you’ve taken a look at your Twitter account’s analytics, you’ve seen that far fewer people are seeing your content there than you think. That’s primarily because when users pop in to Twitter, they will generally only scroll down so far, and then those remaining tweets just get lost in the fray.

Since we already know Facebook has an algorithm that we’ve got to work around, and now that we know Instagram will be instituting a similar algorithm, is there anything that you can do to assure your content gets out to your target audience? Is there really a way to hack the system and win the social media algorithm battle? What can you do to thwart the evil forces of these platforms and their plans of algorithm dominance over your timelines? It’s easy, and I’m going to share with you just how to do it: create good content that engages.

The fact is, good content will always be successful, because those platforms want and need to be filled with less clickbait and more really good content. When they identify content that is driving high engagement and connecting with users, they are going to make sure that more people see that content. It creates an overall better experience on the platform, and keeps users logging in.

Your content strategy is important, so if you’ve not started one, now’s the time. If you do have one, check to make sure you’re utilizing each unique channels effectively and efficiently. If you see that you have channels that aren’t performing, or you are just stretched too thin, now’s the time to let them go and focus on the ones you can be successful and consistent with. Make sure your content is positioning your as a subject matter expert in your sector, through consistent thought leadership. Create content that your audience will engage with, ask good questions, share lots of truly helpful (or at least entertaining!) information through a mix of gated and ungated offers. Remember, the more your audience engages with your content, the more they’ll see your content. Keeping these things in mind will ensure that your content gets seen, and you’ll be slaying the algorithm dragon every day.