Understanding Social Media Algorithms in 2019
By Theresa Schempp
Algorithm is defined as “a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer” (Merriam-Webster<-link first link under articles mentioned). While algorithms are used in essentially every technological process, they are most commonly discussed today in how they shape social media. Algorithms on social platforms are ever-changing, with Facebook announcing a change in its algorithm in 2018 but another change is expected in 2019. Instagram went from displaying reverse-chronological posts to posts that highlight “what users care about.”
These algorithms, especially on Instagram, make it difficult for businesses to reach their communities, with their posts becoming lost in the mix. What worked for your company on social media in 2018 may not perform as well in 2019. Below are some tools to use when creating a new social media strategy in 2019, and how to utilize algorithms to the advantage and success of your business.
In 2018 Facebook announced its algorithm change that would prioritize “meaningful interactions” between its users. Posts that are “liked” or “commented” by several of your friends will take priority on your dashboard. According to Buffer, if you specifically ask someone to like your content, the algorithm marks it down. It is suggested to post consistently and to post information meaningful to your community. You will find the greatest success not by asking people to like your content, but to create an organic following and community through authentic content. In addition, be active in replying to comments. This will trigger the algorithm to consider these meaningful conversations, boosting the presence of your post.
When working the Instagram algorithm to your advantage, consistency is key! The more you post and use relevant hashtags, the more likely your business will be seen. In addition, “the longer someone spends looking at your content, the more the algorithm likes it” (Buffer). Just like Facebook, the more engagement you have with your followers the higher your content will be ranked in the algorithm. The longer you can have people spend on your profile, the better.
Eye-catching content, live videos, and giveaways are all key tools in utilizing the algorithm. Peak hours still play a role in your content being seen, so aim for peak global engagement on Thursdays at 5am, 11am, and 3-4pm (Sprout Social).
Twitter announced in September 2018 users “can now easily switch between an algorithm feed and a real-time feed” (Hootsuite). As always, consistency in posts are key. Your hashtags should be strategic and purposeful, and the more you discuss relevant topics, the higher you will rank. Images also catch the eyes of users and are more likely to be liked and retweeted.
When it comes to the break-down of these social media algorithms, the key component in each one is the value you bring to the platform. Social media continues to become more refined, and users want to see content that are beneficial and informative, which the algorithms reflect. As a business using social media, your priority of its use should be creating a community. It’s about what resonates with your followers, and this attention to their wants and needs will ultimately aid in the success of your business. So be consistent, take the time to understand your community, and build a brand that is valuable.
Need help with elevating your social media? NZ Consulting provides services that include social media strategies, business plans, and informational workshops. Learn more here.<- (link services page)