There’s no doubt that social media has changed the way we do business. It has given small businesses the opportunity to reach millions of potential customers and generate revenue like never before.
But with all its benefits, come challenges and risks that aren’t always obvious at first glance. In this article we will discuss one aspect of social media marketing: Recommendation Algorithms.
It’s due time we stop fearing these algorithms in 2023! So let’s explore what they are, how they work and how you can use them to your advantage.
A recommendation algorithm is a computer program that learns what you like, and then helps you discover new things that fit your needs. It’s used beyond social media by sites like Netflix and Amazon to offer suggestions for future purchases based on what you’ve previously purchased or viewed.
They’re also widely used on most social media platforms today. When it comes to growing a platform on Instagram Reels, TikTok or YouTube the fastest path to growth is to be recommended to new users.
This could be positive or negative depending on what your content is made up of.
Algorithms exist to improve user experience, increase revenue and keep consumers on social media longer.
Companies like Amazon use algorithms to determine what products and content you will see on the site to maximize your time and money spent there.
Similarly, social media sites like Facebook use algorithms to control what you see in your newsfeed which can keep users engaged on the platform for longer periods of time (and generate more income).
But it’s not all bad news and the dystopian reality of living under capitalism.
There’s an unimaginable amount of content floating around the internet. Algorithms help us see more of what we like, want to learn more about and what we’re entertained by.
An algorithm is a tool. It’s not the boss of you, your business or your marketing strategy.
In fact, algorithms are just tools to help you get better results from what you’re already doing. If you use the algorithm effectively, it can help you grow your business by connecting with more people who are interested in what you have to offer and encouraging them to become customers or clients.
If used incorrectly though, algorithms can hurt small businesses by limiting their reach and wasting time working on strategies that aren’t effective anymore because of changes made by platforms like Facebook or Instagram (or even Google).
You can help yourself succeed by spending more time on the following:
The above recommendations will require you to understand platform specifics since all algorithms are not created equal. For more general support check out these tips:
Engagement may be measured differently between platforms but as a general rule of thumb focus on any interaction your audience can make with your content.
Reply to comments left on your content with video content and try to give your audience a chance to interact with you more directly where possible like on live videos or Stories.
Tapping into an existing, warm audience is incredibly valuable to you, particularly if you have a very niche audience. You can create collaborative social media posts, host a guest blogger or host a larger scale online event like a summit.
Platforms including YouTube and Instagram rely less on hashtags and tags and instead read keywords within your written content. Try packing captions and descriptions with keywords rather than spending time sourcing hashtags or tags.
Experimenting with different content formats and structures will allow you to understand on a more broad level what you enjoy creating, what isn’t the right fit for you and how you’ll create and share content consistently… without burning yourself out.
Your analytics on all platforms will give you insight into what content is being well-received vs what has flopped. At the most basic level I recommend looking at engagement metrics to inform you of what to create more of.
Posts with high engagement will likely have the highest reach but this isn’t always a metric that puts cash in our pockets.
Social media is a vital component of your small business’s strategy. It can help you grow your audience, reach more people and even make sales.
However, it’s important to know how algorithms work so that you can be sure they don’t cut off access to your potential customers before they even have a chance to get interested in what you have to say.
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