Navigating Social Media Algorithms for Increased Audience Engagement

If you’re creating an online brand in 2019, it’s essential that you understand how social media algorithms work and how to use those insights to promote your content marketing plan. You want your content to be seen by as many would-be fans as possible, but sometimes, it can be a struggle to get that visibility and reach. This article aims to guide you through the labyrinth of social media algorithms.

Building successful content

Before you can share content online, you need to ensure that it is designed to succeed. There are a few key areas you should be aware of.

The first area is engagement — folks should want to share your content. Crafting your posts in such a way that they are interesting, thought-provoking, or even just humorous means that your readers are more likely to share them with people they care about. A recent Buffer podcast discusses how Facebook prioritizes content that creates interactions between friends and family. The bottom line is that you need to create content people will want to share with their followers.

The second area is relevancy, which is closely tied to engagement. Your content needs to be relevant to the reader, so that it keeps them reading more while also remaining true to your brand. Irrelevant content is worse than no content at all.

A third area you need to consider is timeliness. Because social media content is a stream of updated information, knowing when to share content is vital. Researching what day of the week and what time of the day your audience is typically checking their Twitter feeds can mean the difference between huge engagement numbers and getting lost in the onslaught of internet content.

And finally, the time a reader spends with your content will affect how social media algorithms rate your content. If someone takes the time to read through your content, shares it with their friends, and then sends it to someone in a private message, you’ve hit social media gold, and the algorithm will prioritize it.

Evolving with social media

The biggest hurdle for the content creator is keeping up to date with the changing landscape of social media. The website Social Media Today regularly posts updates to social media algorithms, and in the last quarter of 2018, four updates were made to how various social media platforms rank content.

Most recently, Facebook pushed out a new update to their algorithm that discourages the ranking of controversial content, in an attempt to tackle problems with user safety and the spread of misinformation. Two weeks before that, Twitter started testing a new button that allows users to switch between chronological and algorithmic timelines, essentially giving their users control over the content they see.

While both of these updates are positive for the users of the social media platforms, it’s vital to stay on top of these changes and adapt your content strategy where necessary.

Optimizing for performance

Regardless of the changing algorithms, the following is always true: if you create regular, relevant content, your fans will be keen to like and share, and you’ll stand a better chance of getting ranked well on social media. So, make a point of regularly writing articles that are useful to your customers and relevant to your brand.

Planning is vital to quality social media engagement. Deciding which types of content (written articles, videos, animated GIFs, etc.) to display your message and pairing the different content types with the different social media platforms will go a long way in ensuring your content’s visibility and sharing potential.

To help you get maximum exposure, you can automate your content sharing by setting up scheduled posts and using WordPress.com’s Publicize feature to automatically push these posts out to your network.

WordPress.com Publicize feature

Match regular, relevant content with a solid understanding of when your audience is more likely to interact with your content on social media, and you’ll have a winning combination.

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