Social Media Insights: How to Make Friends with the Almighty Algo


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Social Media Insights: How to Make Friends with the Almighty Algorithm

 May 7, 2024 |  Marketing, Social Media |  , Facebook, LinkedIn, digital marketing

By Stepha Vesper, NPI, Inc.'s Senior Communications Strategist

When it comes to building a small business and developing productive, mutually beneficial relationships is key. But for people who are new to an industry, working in a crowded market, or are looking to scale, it can sometimes seem difficult to get in front of the noise. In situations like these, a healthy social media presence can really shine!

Although in-person marketing is still the backbone of most small business marketing strategies (ie. the partnerships that are born at conferences, office visits, or networking events) it’s no secret that we live in an increasingly digital world and your team can’t make it to every office, meeting, or connection opportunity. Thankfully, social media can act as an extension of “in-person” marketing, providing more opportunities to connect and interact with clients, customers, and business partners far more immediately than in the past.

For small business owners or marketers who are looking to get the most return from their efforts on social media, it is important to familiarize yourself with one factor that can be the key to success or stagnation online. It influences engagement on your posts, and can even determine whether your audience sees your content at all! Today, let’s discuss the all-powerful algorithm, and how to get it working in your favor.

What Are Social Media Algorithms and Why Are They Important?
Every social media platform has the goal for their users to spend more time with them, to build their own user base, and to incentivise people to spend money on their sites. To accomplish all of these goals, each platform has had to find their own ways to put the right kinds of content in front of their users. What’s the “right” content? Content that is relevant, engaging, topical, or otherwise interesting to their users so that they’re willing to spend additional time on the platform looking for more.

This is where the platform’s algorithm comes in!

Algorithms are programs that track many different activities in order to develop a predictive model that presents users with content that they are most likely to interact with. To put it simply, if one user tends to spend a lot of time watching cat videos, the algorithm prioritizes more cat videos. If another user is easily drawn to news articles, the algorithm will push more of that type of content in their direction as well.

While the nature of social media algorithms means that marketers can generally just focus on creating high-quality content that’s relevant to their intended audience in order to gain an online following, different platforms’ algorithms value different types of content. Algorithms have changed even during their short lifespans (see how Meta is using AI to predict user behavior on their sites, for example). In some cases, content and behaviors can even lead to a business page’s content performing worse than usual, so if you find yourself working against the algorithm more often than not, let’s discuss a few ways to adjust course!

3 Ways to Work With the Algorithm for Small Businesses

1. Specialize in One (or Two) Platforms
The truth is that social media platforms can vary quite a bit when it comes to what sorts of posts their algorithms push. For example, LinkedIn is prioritizing lengthy, informative posts and videos in 2024, while Twitter (X) prioritizes recency more than any other platform. This means that, while developing your business’ social media strategy it may be better to have one platform in mind in particular to develop a strong following, rather than having a more generic strategy spread out to every platform.

This is why knowing where your audience lives is so important! Depending on your industry and likely your geographical region, one social media platform is going to be more effective than the others in reaching your audience. If you’re not certain which one that might be, check out where your competition directs their efforts or look to overall statistics. For example, Facebook might still be the largest social media platform (with over 3 billion monthly users per Statista), TikTok is the fastest growing platform with the vast majority of their user base under 35.

Craft your content with your audience in mind, in a way that works with your main social media platform’s algorithm!

2. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
The next way that algorithms (in general) have changed over the past few years is the movement away from a large quantity of posts toward quality posting instead. In part influenced by a lower importance on the recency of posts, most platforms have found that more posts per profile leads to lower quality posts and lower engagement rates, which is the new algorithmic king.

Instead, marketers will find that varying their posts between custom images or photos, videos, and relevant or informative updates will ultimately lead to more growth and engagement, even if that means posting less per week.

3. Focus on Building Engagement
The most important factor for visibility today, regardless of platform, is easily engagement (eg. likes, shares, and comments). On top of simply posting high-quality content that is relevant to your audience, here are a few things that can increase post engagement:

  • Reply to comments. (This encourages users to comment in the future, and reminds others that their reactions will be noticed.)
  • Limit yourself to just two or three hashtags. (Walls of hashtags which were popular in the past have been recognized as “spammy” and discourage interactions.)
  • Review social media analytics. (Experiment with different types of posts to see which garners the most interest from your existing audience!)
  • Ask for engagement! (Call-to-actions can work, whether prompting someone to visit a website, schedule an appointment, or respond to a question on a social media post.)
  • Interact with other pages. (While it might not have a direct impact on your own business page, taking the time to like, share, and comment on other business pages encourages those businesses to return the favor. Think of it as the “Pay It Forward” strategy!)

Whether you focus your efforts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or TikTok, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest algorithmic trends and preferences if you want to continue building your audience, and be sure to steer clear of tactics that “game the system” with temporary benefits and long-term problems!

For more info on social media best practices, stick right here on the Franchise Informant! Want to know more about the dedicated marketing team every NPI franchise gains access to? Ask about opening your own property inspection franchise today!

About the Author
Stepha Vesper, Senior Communications Strategist
Stepha has more than five years’ experience in marketing, content creation, SEO and copywriting. Her favorite part of her job is assisting franchisees with their digital marketing strategies so they reach their goals that much faster. When she isn’t at work, Stepha is going on adventures with her husband, Zach, perusing used bookstores, reading or writing.

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