on September 2, 2022 (last modified on August 31, 2022) • 16 minute read
Picture this: you’ve an in-depth understanding of your target audience — you know what topics resonate with them and what content formats they love consuming on social.
So you go about creating an audience-relevant campaign for social media, knowing full well that it’ll drive good ROI. But the posts fall flat. You get little engagement from your target audience, and all the work seems to have gone to waste.
So was it really your fault? Or was the social media algorithm to blame? Algorithms may impact your campaign’s reach, but only to a certain extent.
Want to learn how marketers make sure the algorithms work in their favor?
Check out the best practices we sourced from surveying 40+ social media pros.
Changes in social media algorithms can impact your social media account in various ways. According to the marketers we surveyed, reach is affected the most — 75%.
17.5% of respondents claimed algorithms also impact their content, and only 7.5% claim it impacts their community.
Despite this, 47.5% rarely blame the social media algorithm for stifling their campaigns. Another 40% state that they often blame it with only 12.5% saying they never blame the social media algorithm for the poor performance of their companies.
The data makes it clear though: more than 85% of respondents have at least once encountered an issue they could link only to the social media platform rules (and not to their own efforts).
So if your campaign didn’t perform well despite your content and strategy being on point, there might be a possibility that the algorithm wasn’t working in your favor.
But before we look at ways to turn the algorithm to your side, let’s look at which social media platforms have the most impactful algorithms.
Our research suggests that Meta-owned platforms have the trickiest algorithms as over 50% of the survey respondents agreed that they struggled with their algorithms.
To break it down, 30% say they’ve struggled with the Facebook algorithm and 22.5% shared Instagram’s algorithm has given them a tough time.
Twitter’s algorithm comes in third with 17.5% of the respondents claiming to struggle with it.
And it turns out, the majority of our respondents, 70%, also use Facebook the most for their business.
LinkedIn ranks second though with 65% of the businesses using it — luckily, its algorithm isn’t half as challenging as Facebook’s.
And finally, Instagram is the third most used social media network among businesses for their marketing.
To monitor the impact of your social media marketing efforts, you may have to log into multiple tools to check how your accounts on different social networks are performing and spend hours compiling a comprehensive report. But, with Databox, social media reporting doesn’t have to be a time-consuming chore anymore.
Now you can quickly assess your social media performance in a single dashboard that monitors fundamental metrics, such as:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our social media experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template showing the most important KPIs for measuring the impact of your social media marketing efforts from multiple channels. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your Social Media accounts with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
With the basics out of the way, let’s look at tips to make the social media algorithm work to your advantage.
To begin with, no matter what ‘hacks’ you plan to employ, there’s simply no substitute for posting quality content.
But since quality is subjective, how can algorithms determine this? According to Josh Krakauer from Sculpt, “the algorithm can determine a post’s quality by looking at the engagement it gets. Metrics like dwell time and comments rise to the top. When we improve the time spent people look at our clients’ posts, or the number of people who comment on them, our total reach lifts (and all of the great outcomes that come with that exposure).”
This leaves us asking – how can we improve content engagement rates? Krakauer shares an example using dwell time on LinkedIn, “To improve dwell time on LinkedIn posts, we deploy content formats that require active consumption: skimmable, long-form LinkedIn text posts and multiple-page carousel posts. With carousel posts, for instance, your audience interacts with the post to read the rest of the message. You can break up an otherwise gated or website-hosted resource into multiple pages that an audience reads on the platform.
If the content is interesting, they’ll stick around on the post reading it. This format works on both Instagram — as a carousel photo — and LinkedIn as a Document upload. We will typically see 50-100%+ increase in engagement rate over the average on posts like this.”
in addition to creating carousel posts, Alex Cascio of Vibrant Media Productions commends video content. “The biggest algorithm hack we have found to be successful at getting our dynamic content in front of our targeted audience with proper engagement have been 10-15 second vertical/reel style edited videos. We’ve tried numerous forms of content in sponsored posts, ads, etc. but having a simple caption on a clever video increases the engagement 10-fold.”
With that let’s look at platform-specific tips to befriend different algorithms and optimize your social media marketing campaigns:
Let’s start with Facebook algorithm hacks.
“Go LIVE! Facebook Live videos get six times more interaction than regular videos, which is what we’re going for here,” notes Adam Fard of Adam Fard UX Agency, “Six times for roughly thirty minutes live.”
“This is favored by the algorithm, and you’ll engage your audience more effectively while you’re live if they perceive you as a real person behind the postings on your feed.”
Live video on Facebook, therefore, helps you kill two birds with one stone:
What’s more, you can also use live video to learn more about your audience. For example, by encouraging your viewers to leave comments, you can ask them about what topics they’re interested in, where they are joining from, what sort of marketing campaigns resonate with them, and so on.
Related: 16 Ways for Improving Facebook Video Watch Time for Every Video You Promote
This one’s a hat tip to Neutypechic’s Lukee Li who says “the best way to adapt to Facebook’s ever-evolving social media algorithms is to constantly experiment and stay flexible.”
The secret then is to “always test” according to Li. “Try out new content formats, strategies, and tactics on a regular basis. The only way to know what works best is to constantly test and measure your results.”
“Analytic tools can significantly help you estimate the effects. Be nimble. Social media algorithms are always changing, so you need to be able to adapt quickly,” advises Li.
“Don’t get too attached to any one strategy or approach. Be prepared to try something new at a moment’s notice. By doing these, we improved our customer service and experience by as much as 25%. Visibility was also high during this time. Thus, tremendously increasing our sales and profit.”
Put another way, instead of dedicating your resources and attention to one campaign, consider running multiple campaigns. But be sure to measure each initiative’s impact so you can understand which ones the algorithm and your audience favor the best.
Even as you identify what works though, don’t dedicate extra resources to it. Instead, keep experimenting with new ways in case the algorithm suddenly decides to reduce your well-performing campaign’s reach.
Related: Facebook A/B Testing Tips: 12 Tips for Improving Your Tests
“One hack I’ve used and seen good results from is scheduling Facebook posts,” observes Henffrey Muthama from Cloom Tech. LTD.
“I typically recommend posting 1- 2 times a day to maximize the time my post is on the newsfeed. But instead of manually doing this, you can schedule all your posts for 1-2 hours in one day so you can share the same content with all your fans. Not only does this help you share the same content but it also increases the posts you can do over your day. You can also schedule Instagram posts at the same time.”
The idea, however, isn’t to set and forget about your scheduled Facebook posts though. Instead, continue to engage with your audience throughout the day. Respond to their comments, leave comments on their posts, and so on.
Next we have are hacks to befriend IG’s algorithm to grow your reach on the platform. Experts share the following ideas:
Shoutcart’s Serg Aspidoff recommends social media marketers and influencers use this strategy.
“This involves following a group of people in your target audience, liking a certain number of their photos, and commenting on others,” Aspidoff explains.
Note that this goes back to the general idea of growing your engagement by commenting and building relationships with your target audience.
Related: B2B Social Media Strategy: 21 Ways to Drive More Engagement
As Aspidoff puts it, “Doing this consistently can help you build relationships with potential audience members and get your name out there.”
Essentially, this strategy can help you:
“The results of this strategy will eventually ripple outwards,” Aspidoff notes.
“As you gain more followers and build a community around your content, you’ll have a better chance of ranking high in search results and attracting organic traffic. This can help you expand your reach and get more people engaging with your profile.”
Aspidoff adds, “The Instagram algorithm also favors accounts that have a high level of engagement, so this is a great way to boost your visibility. On top of that, the algorithm puts high-performing content in front of people who are more likely to engage with it. So, if you can get a few pieces of content to really take off, you’ll start seeing a snowball effect that will help you attract even more followers.”
“You’ll also have a good chance of appearing on the Explore page, which can give you a major boost in reach and engagement,” continues Aspidoff. “So, you have to focus on creating quality content that the community you’ve built will want to engage with.”
Related: Instagram Captions for Businesses: 9 Ways to Write More Engaging Captions
Nina Addeo from I Do Wedding Marketing also favors using engagement as a hack for making the Instagram algorithm work in your favor.
“On Instagram, a proven strategy has been, and people may not like this — genuine engagement to local followers,” Addeo says. “When I say genuine, I mean not outsourced to a bot or automated direct messages from a system. I mean actually being ON the platform, being where people in your target audience and interacting with them from there.”
“It can be as casual as liking posts or as intimate as responding to an Instagram story, but no other method has proven to be as consistently reliable for me. This tactic not only increases followership for clients, but increases leads to their website driven from Instagram,” writes Addeo, explaining the results genuine engagement has driven for them.
Including a call to action to all your Instagram content including the Stories you share on the platform — not just the posts — is a great way to encourage your audience to interact with you.
In doing so, you are able to grow your engagement on the platform, therefore, getting the algorithm to your side.
Angus Chang from Iupilon talks about it. “Encouraging comments and likes by adding strong call-to-action is one of the algorithm hacks that has proven to work on Instagram. Encouraging your audience to like and comment on your post is an excellent way to hack the Instagram algorithm.”
“We did it because, according to Instagram, the most important engagement for feed ranking are time spent, likes, comments, and tapping on the profile,” Chang shares.
“The more people like and comment on your post or open your profile, the more chances they will get your post on their feed. We added a strong call to action to get more engagement in our post captions. As a result of this Instagram hack, we increased interaction with our audience and gained more followers.”
Related: How to Write a Call to Action: Increase Your Conversions with 16 Proven Tips for Crafting CTAs
Next, we have a tip for hacking the algorithm over at Twitter:
“We run a ton of Twitter campaigns. We’ve learned you have to monitor the campaigns in real-time. This is because what works one day may not work the next,” observes Steve Yanor of Sky Alphabet Social Media.
“For this reason, we build layered campaigns based on a broad manual bid campaign base and narrow the audience as we move up the bid value chain. Since Twitter’s ad platform is highly responsive (best around, actually) we know what’s working within a few hours of launch. Then we can pause or build more layers based on what we are seeing.”
Related: Twitter Ads for B2B: How to Actually Generate Leads on Twitter
Now for how to hack your performance on LinkedIn:
MASV’s Anna Mroczkowski shares this tip for hacking the social media algorithm for LinkedIn business accounts.
“No matter what LinkedIn does to adjust its algorithm, I will always see success when I humanize the content,” Mroczkowski admits.
So how can add the human element to your LinkedIn posts? Mroczkowski lists some ideas: “This can be from building a community. Sharing photos and videos with people’s faces in them. Telling a relatable story. Help solve a problem that people struggle with. People (for the most part) like other people.”
Another tip is to write in your voice. Bonus points if your brand voice is friendly and not robotic as the voice in which you create your content plays an important role in humanizing it.
In short, “when you can humanize content, you build a sense of community and trust.”
“I noticed LinkedIn polls easily get viral when you post them in LinkedIn groups,” Aquif Shaikh from Blogging Ocean.
“So, I started creating engaging polls in LinkedIn groups. Since my polls were well crafted and were created keeping in mind that they should help people learn more about SEO, other group members started taking interest in my polls and slowly started following me when they found the value in my posts.
The results? “As of now I have over 2 million Content Views and gained almost 1,000 followers within a few months. My LinkedIn Newsletter too reached close to 1,500 subscribers. People now see me as an influencer in the SEO niche. Below is the screenshot of my LinkedIn analytics for the past 365 days, you can see the spikes in content views during the last few months.”
Lastly, here’s how to get the Pinterest algorithm to work in your favor:
“As a result of hours of tweaking and managing clients’ Pinterest accounts, I came across a seemingly simple hack that appeared to work across multiple clients’ accounts,” highlights Becca Klein of BeccaKlein.co.
“This hack works when an account has experienced a reasonably prolonged period of decline in impressions — and consequently — click-throughs,” Klein points out. “All I do is unclaim the verified website attached to the Pinterest account and then simply reclaim it.”
“There had been a number of people across different Facebook groups stating they had explosive growth after this simple trick. In my experience, 75% of the time, it does result in a significant bump in impressions. And the best result I had was a client whose impressions dropped from over 10 million to just over 100,000. After the hack, within a week she was back up to 5 million,” shares Klein.
To summarize, getting any platform’s social media algorithm to work in your favor boils down to two things.
One, focus on meaningfully engaging with your target audience and building one-on-one relationships with them. To this end, leave thoughtful comments, post engagement-driving social media content, and encourage your audience to engage with a strategically placed CTA.
And two, don’t settle for anything that seems to work well on any social media network. Keep testing to learn which topics resonate with your audience and what content formats drive the most engagement.
As a means to this end, track your social media performance on one central screen such as a Databox dashboard. Our social media dashboards show all your most important metrics in one place. For instance, you can track engagement metrics like comments, reach, likes, and follower count for each social channel you use on one dashboard.
As you track these metrics, you can start spotting trends in what works well for each platform. From there, you can take action to improve your content and engagement and perform well on all social channels.
To get started, simply sign up for a free account and connect your social media accounts with our tool. From there, you can create a dashboard from scratch or download a template from our template library. If this seems like too much work, feel free to contact our support team, and they will set up your first dashboard free of charge.
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