You may not have noticed that Twitter and Instagram followed Facebook’s lead last year by introducing an algorithmic timeline. This means that users no longer see posts in straightforward, chronological order. Instead, complex algorithms filter content and display more of what social networks think users want to see.
While the change on both platforms was controversial, industry insiders say it was done to enhance user experiences by highlighting posts of interest perhaps otherwise missed. Making brands pay for ads was likely another major reason for the change.
Paid ads have proven to be very effective for brands. However, there are free ways you can increase engagement and ensure that followers see your posts.
To understand what an algorithm is and what it does, we found this great video that explains the details:
Algorithms are used throughout the internet, from Google to ad tracking software and beyond. However, their move to social media, where people spend much of their time, has made it difficult for marketers to reach their online communities organically without paying for ads. To overcome the algorithms, marketers can try these free tactics:
Ask. This almost seems too easy, but simply asking your followers to like, share or comment on a post can encourage them to do it. You can also ask a question, which gives users a reason to comment on your post.
Tag responsibly. Tagging others in posts alerts them and, on some platforms such as Facebook, makes your posts visible to their friends. There’s nothing wrong with tagging the author or blogger of an article you’re sharing or a brand that you mention in a case study. But refrain from randomly tagging people who have nothing to do with your posts. That’s a quick way to become unfollowed.
Share. Sharing posts from influencers, industry leaders or your customers can score serious engagement points. When you share content from others, they’re apt to “like” or comment on it. They might even return the favor by sharing some of your posts. Your customers will especially appreciate seeing themselves because it shows that you see and value them.
Add relevant hashtags. The moment you attach a pound sign to a word or phrase on social media, it becomes a searchable hyperlink. This broadens your audience because people not following you are more likely to see your post while searching for the hashtags you shared. If they’re searching for it, chances are they’re interested in it. Use only hashtags relevant to your post because people don’t like you wasting their time.
Post live videos. Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, says live video is the flavor of the day with algorithms. In particular, Facebook gives preference to live videos. Post even if people aren’t watching live because they can see the replay when they log on later.
Algorithms are efficient and provide great value from a user perspective. Since they made their way to social networks, marketers have had difficulty seeing the level of organic reach and engagement that they once knew and loved.
However, by asking, tagging responsibly, sharing, adding relevant hashtags and posting live videos, you can increase your engagement and overcome your algorithmic woes.