Most of you will have a broad understanding as to the general purpose and workings of an algorithm: something that takes data and turns it into meaningful information about patterns of behavior such as shopping habits or the kind of product you’re likely to enjoy. One of the better-known examples of an early-days algorithm at work was when Walmart figured out a teen was pregnant before her parents did and they helpfully mailed a bunch of relevant catalogues to the house… #whoops
Nowadays, algorithms have become incredible complex and Facebook’s only get harder to work with, particularly as a business.
It all comes down to what they say their purpose is- to make the world more open and connected and to bring users closer together with other people and things they genuinely care about. In theory, that’s great. But in reality, whilst it’s forced brands to be more creative and produce higher quality content, it’s also meant is that for a business to spread brand awareness, increase engagement and grow their following, they have to spend more money.
Organic reach is nearly dead and the days of 1000 new page likers a week are long gone for most businesses. The whole game changed in the past year and staying on top of the constant algorithm updates is really hard, particularly if you aren’t doing this for a living.
There are some ways businesses can work with the algorithm, without a significant increase in ad spend.
High quality, original content that’s authentic to you and your brand
Video content. It’s the most highly ranked form of content over anything else and as a business, you have to be at least dipping your toe into this water by now
Content that starts a conversation. The algorithm loves comments. It’s their way of knowing the content is genuinely interesting and engaging
Good reviews! Ask current and past customers or clients to write reviews for you where possible. Great for the algorithm and for your PR
Text only posts. Huge no-no. Every piece of copy must be accompanied by an image or video
Constant re-posting of other people’s content. If you’re not creating your own stuff, what value are you really bringing to the table?
Fishing for likes, follows or comments. Whilst the algorithm wants your content to elicit conversation, it doesn’t want that to happen because you’ve said “comment below…”
The number one piece of advice (after you have the top notch content thing covered) is to be patient. If you’re ticking all of the above boxes and you have a strong brand with a valuable product or service behind you, it will happen. Social media is a long-term game, rather than the short-term money-maker a lot of people want it to be.