As social media evolves and new platforms rise to prominence, the news feed no longer dominates the landscape.
Now, depending on the platform, users are encountering content via search in addition to—and sometimes instead of—their news feed. In other words, social users are increasingly using active search within a platform to look for specific content, rather than passively experiencing whatever rolls into their feeds. And social platforms’ search functionalities are keeping pace with these habits with every-improving search accuracy.
Search has signaled major changes in the opportunities represented by different approaches. Based on these changes, it’s worth considering shifting the focus from getting audiences to follow you on platforms to maximizing engagement with individual pieces of content. And one of the best ways to do that is by inserting your brand into conversations that are already happening, using keywords and hashtags to reach your target audiences—especially during the consideration stage of the marketing funnel.
Understanding Social Media Algorithms
Targeting existing conversations is one part of the equation. The frequency and staying power of your content (and your brand in general) is another. And social media algorithms are dictating the frequency of visible content.
An algorithm is how social media platforms filter, rank and organize the content users see based on a specific set of criteria. There are several factors that play into each social media channel’s algorithms—and they are complex and ever-changing. Here are some factors that play into how content may be displayed:
- Interest: How interested the user will be in an individual post based on their search history and past engagement in the platform.
- Recency: Most likely to see published content within the last few hours before seeing older posts.
- Relationship: The more engaged with an account (liking, commenting on posts, being tagged in photos, etc.) the more those posts will appear from that account.
- Relevant content: Keywords used in their profile and search are more highly engaged with.
- User credibility: Accounts with strong credibility have a greater chance of getting their followers to see their posts.
- Native content: Posts that are created specifically for that outlet and don’t link to external websites are promoted more highly.
- Engagement: The more engaged with a particular account, the more likely to see their future posts.
- Time spent on a specific user profile: Spending more time viewing someone’s page or posts implies that they want to see more from that account
Through the strategic use of hashtags, tagging and paid social media posts, you can now extend overall reach to your audiences. While making connections with engaging content which will likely result in an organic following.