Make Love Not War With Social Media Algorithms
Not a day goes by on LinkedIn when people say...
The algorithm hates me
I don't understand the algorithm
Why won't the algorithm show my content to people?
That's a lot of power to put into a system process!
Believe it or not, there aren't a load of people sitting in algorithm headquarters playing God...but, it certainly is a gatekeeper and unless you feed it, it is hard to get through to all the awesome people out there.
And, a big reason for that is you! YES...YOU!
But, before you launch this blog post out the window...read on a little bit because you have a lot of control over your social feed.
What the hell is an algorithm?
Sprout Social defines social media algorithms as "a way of sorting posts in a user's feed based on relevancy instead of publish time".
Social media platforms want you to spend as much time there as possible so they will put content that you might like in your feed. Basically, an algorithm responds to data that it collects over time. For example, if you always interact with football content on TikTok and YouTube, the next time you go on you'll have more football-related content in your feed.
You'll find the same thing happens on LinkedIn. If you always interact with people in the health and wellness niches, you'll see more of their content on a daily basis. You even have the option to ring a bell on their profile to let LinkedIn know that you want to see more of that person's content.
The same applies if you don't want to see a type of content. The algorithm may put it in your feed to see if you engage. And, if you never stop scrolling, reading, liking, or commenting, then eventually that person's content will not be shown in your feed.
As you can see, you have a large amount of control over the type of content that gets shown in your content.
How Can I Get My Content In Front Of My People?
The same applies if you are a content creator. If you engage with every single person under the sun then there is a likelihood that your content won't perform so well because of the lack of relevance.
When you post a piece of content, it will be placed in the feeds of a small section of your connections. If they all scroll past your content then that tells that your content is not relevant or valuable to your audience.
That is why it is super important to be really conscious of building engaged and meaningful connections instead of taking part in a popularity contest.
Instant gratification - likes and views
Most social media platforms play on humans' need for instant gratification. Likes, views, and impressions are vanity metrics and very rarely have any connection to business success. However, many people chase them because having a post that goes viral feels good. You get a nice dopamine hit and feel super popular.
Start by focusing on your actual goals
Social media is a powerful platform to create impact by inspiring, empowering, educating, and encouraging people to take action.
Impacting one person has the power to snowball as they start to have a positive impact on the people around them. However, if you are constantly worrying about the type of content that you 'should' create because the influencers do it, then you may lose your ability to make an impact.
So, try this before you start creating content. Ask yourself these questions:
What is the objective of this post?
Will it empower, inspire, encourage or educate my audience?
Does it fit with my values?
Do I truly believe in what I am saying?
If you feel good after answering these questions, then share your content because it will have a positive impact on your community.
On the other hand, if you feel you are following the crowd, not being authentic, or doing something because someone told you that you should, then don't post it! Listen to your gut here because if you post stuff that doesn't align with who you truly are, you'll feel uneasy and send that energy out into the world.
Sure, you may get a boost in reach by using some template or doing an all-singing and dancing video, but you will not connect on a meaningful level with your tribe.
Speak To Your Audience
Now, that you have connected and engaged with some awesome peeps!
Share your content. Content that educates informs, inspires and encourages them to take an action. Share tips and hacks, stories, wins, case studies, and personal information (that you are comfortable sharing). But, make sure that you are doing it in a language that your people will understand.
Play around with different types of content - videos, short and long-form written posts, carousels, and pictures. See what works and resonates with your people, but most importantly, don't take things personally.
There will be times when your content doesn't hit and you'll be tempted to give up or blame the algorithm. However, you have no control over how people will react to your content once it is out in the world.
I always say to my clients to “control the things you can control” so here are four things that you can do:
Look at posts that didn’t perform so well and ask yourself if the post was clear and added some value to your audience. Is there anything that you add or remove to improve the quality of the message?
Encourage your audience to engage with your content in the comments and start conversations.
Allocate time to add comments to posts of people in your community demonstrating your expertise and insights. Be strict with your time because it is easy to start zombie scrolling.
Tweak the content and post it again on a different time or day.
Less Is More
You have a short time frame to grab the attention of your audience so leave the jargon for meetings, waffle for the buffet table, and get to the point. Before you post your content, read it out loud and ask yourself if it clear, concise, and relevant to your community. If you answer YES, then post it. If not, tweak the content. Again set yourself a time limit as you can end up overthinking things.
I’ll leave you with these final tips:
Remember to always keep your community and business goals in mind when you post.
Train the algorithm to support your growth by engaging with people and content that resonates with you and puts you in front of the people that you want to work with.
Sometimes the easiest way to get feedback is to post and see what happens.
Get posting. There is no better time than now!
Any more tips, Ash?
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