By: Madison Kelbaugh
So, what exactly is a social media algorithm? Let’s start from the beginning, previously all social media platforms were organized in chronological order by time, most recent to oldest. Social media marketers and social media users who were used to this found their posts became lost and engagement activity was significantly decreasing due to the old algorithm patterns. Fast forward to now, and smart AI technology curates the algorithm by organizing posts that are most popular and in relation to posts you’ve interacted with. Unfortunately, the algorithm can work against you or your business when it comes to reaching your audience without the right tactics.
After putting it into this perspective the algorithm seems easy, right? It’s almost so simple that it’s complicated.
What you want: To be seen, follower relationships and engagement.
What you need: Understanding of the algorithm, consistency, content and relevancy.
Do you want the algorithm to work for you? Follow along for tips and tricks on how to beat the algorithm on the most popular social media platforms.
Understanding the algorithm
Let’s dive into what we know about the algorithm on the two most popular social platforms: Instagram and TikTok Although there is no blueprint to exactly what the algorithm is on these platforms, I did the research for you to find what we know about the algorithm this year.
Stories and Posts- This is what you first see when you open your Instagram app. Instagram stays true to its roots by putting your friends and family’s posts and stories first before you see an ad. The first stories and posts you see right now are because of the post information, information about the poster, user activity and interaction history. To dive further the Instagram algorithm even predicts how long you will spend looking at the post, liking, commenting, clicking on the profile or sharing.
Explore page– This was created to find new posts or accounts to follow and interact with. On your explore page right now Instagram chose a cluster of posts you would be interested in and arranged them because of post information, interaction history, user activity and information on the poster.
Reels- The main goal of Instagram Reels is to entertain, that’s why the reels you see are from those you do not follow. Just like with posts Instagram posts Reels that they predict you will engage with from your user activity, interaction history, reel information and information about the poster.
What the Instagram algorithm will remove:
- promoting unethical content
- political topics
- low quality
- watermarked Reels
What the Instagram algorithm wants:
- Reels! Because Instagram wants to grow its Reels you can use this to your advantage. Keep your reels short, fun, and entertaining to gain high engagement.
- Timing is crucial, if your post doesn’t gain high reactions at the first moment the content is posted, it will not gain anymore. Therefore, you should post your content when your target audience is most active on Instagram. You can find this by using analytics.
- Create interactive stories. This is a shortcut to get people to interact with your story and the algorithm notices high engagement and will place the stories you interact with most at the beginning of the story line up.
- Encourage followers to comment or ask a question to gain more comments. Comments are reactions and the algorithm will notice a post receiving multiple comments.
- Use popular hashtags. Hashtags give insight to the platform on what content this post has. Using popular hashtags will give you a greater reach to others who are interested in the hashtag.
The TikTok algorithm places videos on your “For You” page that you would be interested in from many different objectives. What TikTok’s algorithm avoids are duplicates, videos you have already viewed, spam, and unethical or inappropriate content. And TikTok does not base the videos on your For You page on the high number of video views or a content creator’s followers. If a popular video is on your For You page it is because you have been interested in similar content prior.
What the TikTok algorithm wants:
- Go pro! Switching to a TikTok pro account will let you see your insights on your posts and who your target audience is. The upgrade will give you the tools for improvement on how to create the right content your audience is interested in and when to post.
- Find your community. Everyone’s For You page is made up of mostly one topic you are most interested in. Find what subculture your content relates to and join that community. Finding a community of others who are interested in your content will help you to gain brand loyalty, more followers, and credibility.
- Like Instagram, you need engagement within the first moments after posting. Grab your users’ attention at the beginning of the video and keep your videos short and straight to the point.
- Don’t forget about captions. TikTok gives you 150 characters which is short enough to give a quick reason why users should watch your video, or create a reason for people to comment in the comment section, ethical of course.
- High-quality videos stand out. Your phone quality is enough just experiment with lighting. Also, use trending effects on TikTok that also have great quality and entertainment. Here is a link for the 5 best TikTok filters to take your videos to the next level.
- Engage with other TikTok users! Brands who comment and duet videos feel more relatable to TikTok users and can also create buzz around your brand to those who did not know you or your brand was on TikTok.
- Hashtags are also important on TikTok. The algorithm finds the hashtags on videos you interact with the most. Hashtags can also be used to show what your video is about. Use the same hashtags your followers are interested in and the algorithm will place your TikToks on their For You page.
- Use popular trends, sounds, and music. Users love when brands use their favorite music or trending sounds. Or when a brand they love follows a popular trend on TikTok making their own twist.
The bottom line
You can implement all of these tactics but consistency is key. Staying on top of the algorithm will get you the recognition you want for your personal brand or business.