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  • Tanushree vaish

How to Manipulate Social Media Algorithms for Organic Growth


Social media has been taking a key part of digital marketing by making an easy pathway for influencers, content creators and marketers to reach their target audience without much financial burden of paid advertising campaigns. Though paid advertising will add to the chance of discoverability, it is not an absolute requirement anymore. As long as the content they create is unique and engaging, it can drive traffic to the brand but with the help of a pivotal aspect, this all can be much easier.


That aspect is the driver of such platforms and that’s nothing but social media algorithms.


This would be a known thing to many of you whether you are just a common social customer or an aspiring influencer or a creator. It’s just a procedure of segregating posts in a users’ feed instead of publish time but based on certain ranking factors.


So how does each of the social media algorithms work?

But why algorithms?

There are heaps of content being poured on to social platforms every minute in the form of pictures, videos and posts. If not for algorithms, it would be highly impossible to screen each account. However, there is a vast debate about the uncertainty of these algorithms because of their impact on reach as these constantly change to give users the ultimate gain so let’s try to deduce these algorithms and how they work.


Social media algorithms help a ton in giving an organic reach as it focuses on what the user sees on their timeline. So, understanding how they work will enhance the chances of reach.

The algorithm is regularly updated with changes for betterment and gives their users the maximum benefits.


For example, the changes made in Instagram algorithm in the past few years are said to benefit content’s organic reach. Instagram says that before the algorithm was implemented in 2016, people used to miss 70% of the posts, out of which 50% of it was their friends’ posts. To solve this issue, in the first half of 2018, Facebook reported five major changes to the News Feed for the sake of relevant and optimal content reach for users.


How to make optimal use of these algorithms in your favour?

These algorithms stand as obstacles if we try to fight them. The better way is to understand and mold your posts accordingly.


For instance, each social network has their own algorithm of prioritizing which content a user sees in their feed first by the prospect that they’ll actually want to see it. Facebook and Twitter mostly put forth the posts from the people you most interact with like family and close friends. Whereas YouTube and Instagram's recommendations are based on personal preferences and behavior like key words used in search and hashtags. To start with,

Interaction

The more interaction between your posts and users in the form of likes, shares and comments, the more posts will be benefited by the algorithm. Engaging with the audience brings a great reach. Let's take the Facebook algorithm as an example. By not only posting relevant content, but also having natural interaction (e.g., Facebook Live) or by forming alcove community Facebook Groups, you can likely get a higher organic reach. The same goes with retweets and replies on Twitter. This is the very reason why the algorithm favours live videos and IGTV sessions.


Comment, replies and shares take a huge part in the interaction.Most of the top brands have at least one thing in common: They’re engaging with their audience, and they’re not just doing it now and then. They’re making audience engagement a priority. Social media platforms are first and foremost social networking sites, which means people are there to connect with others. Thus, you have to do just that. Respond to their questions and comments and find ways to encourage them to engage with you.


Another way that works every time to make interactions better, to get users interested in your content is to start a contest or sweepstakes on your social handles.

For example, one can run a competition where users need to provide a funny subtitle to an image you’ve posted. It can stimulate tons of responses in the form of comments and push your post to the top of the News Feed.

Timing

When you post your content will impact your visibility on the feed. Best times to post on different social platforms are shown on some websites. But we can’t solely rely on this information because the more your account grows, the more time zones you’ll likely need to take into account. So, knowing when to post is interlinked with the topic. Where are your customers located? Knowing your target audience takes up a huge rule in determining the right time


Timing is important, however the content should be put up according to the time when your relevant target users are active. This can be known by hit and trial method and noticing the difference between each post. However, it is not fixed and may change from time to time.


During the coronavirus pandemic showed significant increase in the traffic for social media platforms.as the professional and personal lives of people moved online and from home, there is dramatic rise in social media usage. This caused the change in the time during which users were more involved and interactive therefore creating a flux.

Frequency

The more active you are with your account, the more algorithms will serve you. The task of guessing and telling a fixed optimal frequency for posting on social media is not an easy task to do. Even industry biggies can’t settle on one set of instructions. Some say post three to four times a week, yet some say post around 20 times a week. One article suggests posting no more than twice a day on Facebook. The next one says you should post to LinkedIn on weekdays only, preferably between 4 pm and 6 pm.


But, in reality, there is no magic formula for coming to a conclusion on how often to post on social media. That's because what works for one brand, doesn't work for another.it demands on your target audience. Sure you can read case studies of what has worked for others, but don't make their solution your solution.


So, instead of seeking magic formulas, let's focus on these proven posting strategies:

  • Posting consistency is more important than posting frequency.

  • Content quality is more important than content quantity.

  • Without having an objective for social media, you won't know if your posts are successful or not.

Hashtags

Hashtags take up a crucial part in boosting the reach. Making it part of your marketing strategy upturns it and helps your content to be visible to search and hence escalates a post’s reach. Hashtags categorize your posts to whoever is interested in that particular topic.


Now let’s dig into the topic hashtags and how to use them effectively.

  1. How these hashtags work in social media and the different marketing strategies involving hashtags

  2. Creating and knowing the different types of hashtags..

First of all, understanding the usefulness of hashtags is the most important part. They aren’t just a trend. There are many practical uses of it for social media users. Hashtags are used to group together posts about a particular topic.


Choosing the relevant hashtags for your content is very important. You can do that by categorizing the topic and purpose. In platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, hashtags have a huge share in making posts go viral. Hence, creating hashtags for your own brands and marketing it will help a lot.


Hashtags are similar to hyperlinks on most websites, users can even follow the hashtags to be updated with the latest posts on that topic. They’re clickable and take the user to another page. When someone clicks on a hashtag, they’re taken to a sort of “newsfeed” page for that specific hashtag. There you can see all the latest posts using that particular topic. The most recent posts at the top of the page are shown there. Think about the opportunities this presents. You could get free exposure when someone clicks a hashtag on someone else’s post. How cool is that?


Seeing the opportunity this presents, you’ll want to keep lists of hashtags for each of the following hashtag categories: popular hashtags in your industry, content-related hashtags, and popular hashtags your target audience uses.

Presentation

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The way you craft your post according to the trends and using different themes like image based, text based, short videos etc. each time to attract traffic, makes a huge difference.


Let’s break this down based on different social media platforms.

When it comes to Facebook, crafting your post should differ from time to time depending on the current trends. If we see the statistics in recent times, using different post formats like images, videos and short videos alternatively is fetching more reach than going with a single format. Though this isn’t officially confirmed by Facebook, another claim by many marketeers that they observed is that using the new format introduced by Facebook are prioritized by algorithm and show up on newsfeed more.


There is no chance of missing the answer, just regularly track the average reach of posts in each format over time, and you can gain an understanding of which types are the most reached by your audience and end up in their feeds most often.


Next, catch the eye of the user. Not only on social platforms, but this can be useful anywhere. Using visually attractive images, GIFs, and videos as thumbnails will make your content standout and make it easy for your post to reach maximum users in a crowded newsfeed. This is not just theory, but data says that Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times as much engagement as those without images.


Uploading low quality pictures or videos may also affect your reach. So be aware that publishing those kinds of posts also may affect the brand reputation.


These are some of the tips to use social media algorithms in our benefit and rise above them.


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