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Are social media algorithms working against my small business social media posts?

It can be frustrating for small businesses who spend their time designing attractive graphics and crafting captions to post their content to their social media channels and then get….nothing!

Apart from feeling like your time was wasted, it can be disheartening to think that your content isn’t reaching the correct audience, or even worse if it is reaching them, they are simply not interested. This may be for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest causes could be that what or how you are posting is being affected by the latest social media algorithms.

So what can you do to increase the likes, comments, and shares on your social media content without spending hours on your channels? Don’t be discouraged, there are things that you can do to get your content more visible online.

Here are some ideas that you can use to use the social media algorithms to your advantage.

Post consistently

Social media algorithms love fresh content, so posting consistently means that your content may actually be elevated higher and seen more frequently in people’s newsfeeds. It is important to remember that ‘consistent’ and ‘more’ is not the same thing. You don’t want to start sharing dozens of posts to bombard your channels with lots and lots of updated content. It won’t work and it is not sustainable.

Also posting a high amount of content and then fading off because you can’t keep up may actually do your engagement even more harm. It is much better to take a systematic approach to your post. Make a calendar and decide how many posts you can handle over a day, month, or week. It doesn’t matter if you want to post 3 times a day or twice a week, the point is that you set a schedule and stick to it to keep your channels updated on a set timetable.

If it is not possible for you to keep up with a content calendar then consider outsourcing the work to a professional social media management company that can handle all of your content creation and your posting schedule for you.

Post at the right time

If you want the social media algorithms to work for you instead of against you then posting at the right time can be a gamechanger. Of course, the ‘right’ time can vary depending on who your audience is and what business you are in. This can take a bit of experimentation to see the amount of engagement your posts receive at different times of the day.

Just to make this a bit more complicated the right times can also change depending on which social platforms you are using. Meaning that the right time to post on Twitter will not be the same as the right time to post on Linkedin. Post your content and different times and monitor the level of engagement you receive to determine the best posting times for your business across each social platform. Then schedule your posts for these high activity times to get the maximum engagement possible.

Lose outbound links

Although it is tempting as a business owner to use social media to drive customers to a business website, did you know that this could actually be hurting your reach and engagement potential? Adding a website or page link to your social media post has the effect of taking people away from Facebook, Linkedin, or whatever platforms you are using, and is not something that is viewed in a positive light by social media algorithms.

Social media has a vested interest in keeping people on their platforms so adding links to your posts will divert people away. It will have the effect of limiting your post’s reach. Ever wondered recently why people are adding their post links as a first comment on their own post? That’s because it prevents them from being penalized for adding links to their main content.

So if you must add a link, the first comment is a better place to put it, or better still, avoid adding links completely so that your social media content has a better chance of reaching your intended audience. Companies who use this tactic report a higher instance of engagement with their posts.

Upload video to social platforms first

While it is no secret that video content is on the rise, the way you are uploading it to be viewed online may be affecting the number of views you are receiving. Video is being used increasingly as an advertising medium, or by small businesses and influencers to increase their engagement. More than 80% of all internet users are viewing videos and consumers now expect to see some form of video content from brands that they use and follow, so video content is more predominant on social channels than ever before.

However, uploading your content to your website or blog pages BEFORE posting it on social media may be viewed negatively. Similarly to posting links on your content, video posts often contain embedded links that feed out to webpages or video storage platforms. To avoid linking out to external services, post your video content to your social media accounts first so that you don’t get penalized by social media algorithms.

Use live video where possible

As has just been mentioned, more and more people are actively seeking out video content to engage with their favorite brands or companies. For those who can get in front of the camera and share news and updates via live video, this can be effective in instantly attracting audiences and reaching your followers. Engagement rates for live video typically outperform rates for prerecorded content making live video a powerful connection tool.

As soon as a live video is launched your immediate contacts are informed and it has the ability to reach thousands of people beyond your friends and followers. Facebook videos typically gain more organic reach than posted videos and this can make them effective in gaining more engagement and promoting your products and services to people.

Best platforms for business

Facebook famously changed its algorithms and priorities for content sharing a couple of years back and gave priority to content that would drive real connections and be interesting to personal friends and family members. It was a fancy way of telling business owners that organic reach would be virtually nil on their pages and reaching audiences would require paid for or boosted posts if they want their social accounts to see any kind of growth.

Instagram however, has a good percentage of organic engagement and more users than ever are exposed to brands and content that they may not have been aware of previously. Since the introduction of Instagram reels, the platforms video content section, and user accounts have risen sharply so for brands wanting to connect with their audience, reels may be a helpful tool.

Linkedin is the platform for B2B accounts and if this is your business model then it may be the best platform for you. Their algorithm prioritizes content from popular users and prefers lengthy posts and content. This is not the platform to be inconsistent when posting as your content will be downgraded. Video is popular and can get more views, though it is not always moved to the top of the feed.

Twitter can be effective for reaching your target audience with a high percentage of business users actively engaging on the platform. Twitter prioritizes recent content and high-quality images can be one of the best ways to get shares and retweets which are rated higher than the number of likes. Twitter is a platform which depends on volume for success with some experts recommending between 3 and 8 tweets per day to get real interaction.

Pinterest is the platform to use if your audience is predominantly females below the age of 35. It is a great platform for driving traffic back to your website and pins and infographics with engaging content can be a great way to attract your audience. Pinterest prioritizes fresh content and the pins which gain the highest number of repins and comments. For bloggers and small ecommerce stores, mastering the Pinterest algorithm can yield big results. But be careful, repinning to too many boards or sharing content from huge groups can result in your content being de-prioritized.

YouTube video content has been mentioned a couple of times in this article and YouTube is the king of video platforms. One of the biggest websites in the world and part search engine, part social media, the YouTube algorithm has a reputation for being a bit tricky. The platform frequently makes recommendations for content similar to what you have already watched, as well as additional content from the same creators you have recently viewed.

Focusing on SEO to make videos visible and requesting likes, shares and comments from your audience can help to rank your videos higher. Consistent posting and engaging content are a must – your videos will need to capture your audiences’ attention immediately to be successful.

Final Words

These tips should help you increase engagement and beat the social media algorithms no matter which platform you are using. With strategic and consistent posting, and a bit of inside knowledge you can get the algorithms to work for you instead of against you to gain better engagement and a broader audeince for your social channels.

For help with consistent and professional social media content, check out Smarcomms today.

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