Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Muthoni Njakwe: Cracking the Code: How to Master Social Media Algorithms and Boost Your Reach

Every single day, lots and lots of people share an incredible amount of content on social media. We’re talking about billions of pieces of content across various online platforms. As such, social media networks use algorithms to sort those massive volumes of shared content, giving users the most relevant content they are likely to engage with.

Each social media platform has its unique algorithms that determine which content to deliver to users based on their online behaviour.

Although one might not have all the details of social media algorithms, – that’s their secret source, as a business owner, understanding the basics can help you make the necessary adjustments to your content strategy.

To understand how Algorithms work, you should first understand what determines the type of content that appears in your feed at any given moment.

1. Time

Time is a big determining factor in what you see and what you don’t see in your social media feeds. For instance, if someone posts early in the morning and you didn’t log in until later in the day, chances are that you will not see the posts in your feed. Each social media platform has its average lifespan for your posts, after which it may not see any activity.

  • Tiktok-Instant Decay
  • Twitter-15-18 minutes
  • Facebook-6 hours
  • LinkedIn-24 hours
  • Instagram- 48hours
  • YouTube-About 20 days.

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2. Types of content you respond to.

Have you ever watched a “suggested video” in your Facebook feed? If the answer is yes, you must have noted that after viewing it to completion, you start getting videos that are similar to the one you watched. Same with content, if you are always interacting with a particular type of content, that behavior tells Facebook that you want more of that content. The algorithm is very keen on which videos you watch through to the end, as well as what content you like, comment on, share, save, etc.

3. Keywords, hashtags, AI

Social media algorithms use keywords to understand the content of the posts and match them with relevant topics or user interests. For example, if a user includes keywords like “travel,” “beach vacation,” and “adventure” in their post about a recent trip, the algorithm may categorize this content as travel-related. Then, the platform might show this post to users who have shown interest in or interacted with similar travel-related content in the past.

On the other hand, hashtags are used to categorize content and make it discoverable by users who are interested in specific topics. Social media platforms use hashtags to identify relevant trends and popular topics. The algorithms can then prioritize showing posts with trending or popular hashtags to a wider audience, beyond the user’s immediate followers.

For example, if someone posts a picture of a delicious cake and includes hashtags like “#baking,” or “#foodie”, etc. the algorithm may identify it as food-related content and show it to users who have shown interest in food-related posts.

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 Here is how you can utilize social media algorithms to your advantage.

1. Create high-quality content that’s relevant to your audience.

When you are creating and sharing content, you should put engagement in your mind. This is because the entire point of algorithms on social media is to show people content they’re likely to be interested in. If the content is not relevant to your audience, there will be no engagement, which will send signals that the content is not relevant. Focus on creating content that is valuable, informative, entertaining, or visually appealing, depending on your niche and target audience.

2. Know the best times to post.

Know when your audience is online—posting when your audience is online increases the chances of your content being seen and engaged.

You can check your platform analytics and see the specific best time of day for you to post, then use a social media scheduling platform to make sure your content goes live at that time.

3. Understand the trends.

Be up to date with trending topics. Trending topics keep people scrolling and engaged, so social platforms want to serve up more of that content. However, you don’t have to jump on every trending topic as it may some topics may hurt your brand. Check if the topic has the potential to align with your brand messaging and run with it. Use tools like Google Trends to see what’s trending online in general, and a social listening program to understand what’s happening in your industry specifically.

4. Encourage comments, likes, and shares

As previously mentioned, engagement – especially early engagement – is a key ranking signal for all social media algorithms. One easy way to get more engagement is simply to ask for it. Not necessarily pleading with your followers, but by creating content that naturally encourages followers to engage, both with your content and with each other. You can achieve this by organizing social media contests, posing thought-provoking questions, or sharing informative content that encourages your followers to share it with others who might find it useful.

It is essential to keep in mind that understanding social media algorithms is a continuous process, as platforms are constantly changing. It is essential to remain flexible, open to trying new things, and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends to stay ahead of the curve.

Muthoni Njakwe is a Digital Marketing specialist and founder of StedComm Ltd, a Digital Marketing Agency - Bizna Kenya
Muthoni Njakwe is a Digital Marketing specialist and founder of StedComm Ltd, a Digital Marketing Agency – Bizna Kenya

Muthoni Njakwe is a Digital Marketing specialist and founder of StedComm Ltd, a Digital Marketing Agency. She has extensive knowledge of marketing and advertising. You may connect with Muthoni via her Facebook Page or via email: [email protected]

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