Increase Your Organic Reach on Social Sites
If you have used social media to promote your business, you surely have noticed the decrease in your organic reach. Many people believe that this is because social sites just want to make money and will only make your content visible to your followers if you pay to promote it. It is true that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc are businesses and need to make a profit and encourage paid promotions to reach larger targeted audiences, however, it is not all about the money. Social sites want to offer content that is of interest to their users and in order to do that they want to focus on content that is the most engaging. Just like we've known for years that Google has an algorithm for the content that we see at the top of searches, social media sites have their own algorithms that are very similar.
Social Media wants to promote an engaging positive experience to keep users interested and staying longer on their sites. Just like all digital marketing, smart, creative, engaging content is key to your success on social sites. The way the different site's algorithms work varies for each platform, but there are many commonalities. Your posts are placed in a group as small as one percent of your followers and if those followers engage with the content, then it is placed in a larger group and that continues so that more and more people see it, but only if it's engaging will it continue to grow.
A couple of years ago, Mark Zuckerberg announced that their "big focus is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent....recently we've gotten feedback from our community that the public content --posts from businesses, brands, and media --is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect."
This started their trend toward business pages seeing their organic reach decrease. Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed for Facebook shared more insight into the reason why they were changing their policy for business pages and offered some important information for businesses to consider when creating content that will reach more of their followers and stay prevalent in newsfeeds.
Here are three of the top things to consider when creating content to stay engaging and rank higher within Facebook's algorithm:
Keep the Conversation Going - content that gets a lot of engagement with comments leads to a higher ranking in Facebook news feeds. Videos, especially live videos get the most social engagement and comments, but you can't always post a video. There are several other ways to engage your followers to comment and get involved with your posts: Give them what they want, ask questions or offer a survey, use call-to-actions, offer them something that is of value to them (how-to articles/videos, recipes, special offers, etc).
Now that you have your followers commenting on your posts it's very important you stay in the conversation! Reply to comments quickly and encourage those that have commented to reply as well, essentially you're trying to keep the conversation alive so that the post is favored in more news feeds.
Shared Posts with some form of engagement - content that has been engaged with either through a reaction or comment and is then shared either publicly or privately through messenger ranks higher in Facebook's algorithm.
any engagement is going to give you a boost, reactions are the smallest when it comes to increasing your reach, but they still help. Also, you can respond to followers that reacted to your post and try to start a conversation to help encourage comments.
Instagram's Algorithm - like Facebook, Instagram uses an algorithm to rank the content that we see. However, it's a little different. Instagram announced a few years ago that they would prioritize users' feeds with "the moments you care about"
And a couple of years later following Facebook's move to bring people together with more friends and family content and less of a business heavy presence, Instagram announced they were improving users' ability to receive timely posts. And in January of 2019, they made even more changes by telling users what they see is based on their activity. Like Facebook, they are still trying to offer content that is of interest and engaging to their users, but unlike FB they still show the posts of the people/businesses that users follow, but they order or prioritize them based on what they determine the user is most interested in. So again, this means that businesses must create content that is going to be engaging, the more users comment and like a post, the more Instagram realizes that it's important to those users to see content from that business and thus it will rank higher in their feed. Again, CONTENT IS EVERYTHING! Here are just a few suggestions to promote engagement and help move you up on your follower's Instagram feeds.
Create Visually Striking Images - Instagram has always been about pictures, and creating eye-catching images will generate reactions and increase your ranking.
Create more videos
Post both on your feed and your story - although stories don't impact your ranking, it is the most popular platform on Instagram, so why not do both to encourage your followers to check out what you are saying to them. You can also include all kinds of fun ways to engage them and monitor who is interacting with your story, this gives you an insight into your customer and their behaviors.
Craft More Engaging Captions and Encourage Comments - remember that engagement with your post tells Instagram that followers are wanting to see more so thus increasing your chances of moving to the top of feeds. Also, as Instagram has announced that they will be taking away the ability to like posts, comments are going to be a great way for other followers to see what people are saying about your content.
Post Often - Since Instagram cares about timely information that their users care about, you want to post several times a week, maybe even a few times a day if it's relevant and engaging. I read a couple of interesting articles on buffer.com on the frequency of social media posts for different platforms and borrowed this infographic they posted. Although it doesn't show Instagram, in the article it recommends posting 1.5 times per day or more.
Twitter Algorithm - Similar to both FB and Insta, Twitter prioritizes by engagement, user's behavior, most recent tweets and how the tweet is structured. Twitter is also all about the #hashtag, you can read my post on the importance of the hashtag for social engagement here.
Every social site has its own vision on how their users' experience should be and they use an algorithm to help enhance that experience. But the overall message is content. With so many businesses posting in our newsfeeds we are all weeding through content that is relevant to us and offers us something of interest. As we market our businesses we have to remember the importance of the 80/20 balance. Eighty percent of your content should be something that is useful, engaging and helpful to your audience and twenty percent can promote your brand and products. This is hard for a lot of people to follow because we naturally are trying to promote our business and build our brand, but the only way to really do that is with creative, relevant content.
Keep in mind you want to promote your social profiles wherever you can. You should have links on your website to all of your social media pages, use your social sites to promote the others and if relevant, place signs in your stores encouraging people to follow you on social media. And remember in order to create a believable brand story and build customer loyalty, your message should be consistent across all sites. Social media marketing, just like online advertising and SEO is about optimization, high-quality content, the user experience and engagement.