If you are an entrepreneur and using social media to market your business, you have likely found yourself in a face-off with an algorithm.
Facebook’s algorithm (sometimes called EdgeRank) is probably the most despised by business owners and social media marketers. But other social media platforms, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram also use algorithms to control what your target audience sees and doesn’t see.
Algorithms are hurdles for business owners. You post something, and it may or may not get seen by your followers. The use of algorithms may seems like a ploy by the social media platform creators to push marketers out of the way or to force them to pay for advertising. It seems like a preventative measure to keep the business owners from reaching their target audiences.
So how does an entrepreneur using Facebook, or any other social media platform, outsmart the algorithms that are limiting their reach?
Here are 3 steps to understanding and working with the Facebook algorithm (instead of against it):
Don’t think of it as a negative.
For a minute, forget that you are an entrepreneur or marketer. Look at social media from your audience’s point of view. As a social media user, would you want to see every single post (including spam and advertising) of everyone you happen to be following, or just the ones that are most appealing to you?
Social media is more appealing to users if it’s constantly feeding them what is proven to appeal to them. That’s why the users stay on social media. Otherwise they would get inundated with spam, get frustrated and bored trying to filter through all the sewage themselves, and then eventually disengage entirely.
The algorithms do the filtering for the user. The algorithms keep the users interested in using social media.
As a business owner, it is in your best interests that the users stay interested. So – as much as this might hurt – stop complaining about the filters and start using them to your advantage.
Create great content
So how do you beat the algorithms?
For starters, you don’t. This isn’t The Matrix and you’re not Neo and you’re not going to hack into the mainframe of anything so just stop right there. Sure there are little tricks you can implement, like using photos and posting at certain times of day that will work out more favorable for you but you really want to work with the algorithm as opposed to cracking it.
Because you can’t crack it. The algorithms are created and recreated constantly by Super Nerds. Don’t go up against Super Nerds, you will look ridiculous. Yes, I know there’s always some story in the news headlines about some 10-year old who hacked Instagram, but really, just give up, it’s not worth it.
Instead, create great content that engages the right audience. Get lots of likes and shares. Then the algorithm will let you rise in ranks. Because the Super Nerds will then want you to be seen, because you’re making their platform better with your amazing content.
You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, “content is king.” If you’re a business owner or marketer, you’ve probably heard it so many times you want to throw it out the window. But the reason it gets repeated so often is because it is the absolute truth.
Bottom line, the algorithms work against you if your content doesn’t get engagement. So the solution is, create great content that gets lots of likes and shares. Appease the Super Nerds, and all will go well.
Don’t fall in love with the platform and build your own list
At the end of the day, you have no control over what Facebook or Instagram or any social media platform wants to do. Because you don’t own Facebook or Instagram or any social media platforms (in all likelihood).
Social media platforms come and go. Some grow and some fall apart. What’s cool today won’t necessarily be cool tomorrow. Your target audience might love Facebook now, but they might all jump on Snapchat next year. That’s part of what keeps social media fresh and interesting to its users. But it can be frustrating for business owners and marketers.
While you can’t own the social media platform, you can own your email list. So instead of falling in love with the platform, use it to build your list. You own the list. You control the list. The list will never go away. So build the list and use the list.