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How to Beat Social Media Algorithms in 2019

Social media algorithm changes can often feel completely destructive. How can it be a good thing to cut your reach, limit who sees your posts, and make you jump through more hoops to simply engage with your followers?

Believe it or not, there’s a method to the algorithm madness and, in the long-run, it can actually be good for your business.

Despite what it looks like, social media platforms want you to create content and post on their platforms as much as ever. What they don’t want is uninspiring, phoned-in, lackluster content that bores their (and your) audience that eventually drives them away. 

Knowing that social media algorithms are designed to make you a better marketer is the key to making your social media advertising unsinkable, no matter what algorithm bombs are lobbed your way. 

Here are some tips for making your social media marketing algorithm-proof.

1) Always focus on your Ideal Client Avatar. It doesn't matter what you think Facebook or Instagram wants you to do. To make real connections with potential clients, focus on them rather than gaming the system. While algorithms might limit your ability to speak to your ideal clients, it doesn’t make them vanish. When you ensure your content is aimed at them and what they want to see, they will naturally interact with you more, which triggers the algorithm to ramp up delivery and reach for your content.

2) With your ideal client in mind, focus on branded storytelling and grounding your service in real-life events and problems and triumphs. Modern clients crave personal stories to understand your values better. Just be sure that your personal stories and values make sense to your brand when talking on your professional channels. For example, if you’re passionate about eating in your own food shed as an act of social and environmental justice, you can showcase images with captions, short videos and even live interview broadcasts with farmers. By focusing on your story first, you can feel comfortable that, when technology changes, you’ll only have to learn a new trick to plug your message into, rather than panicking that you will be punished by an algorithm because that hashtag game no longer works.

Algorithms reward engagement and you are more likely to get engagement, instead of just a glance, if you are speaking about something dear to your ideal client’s heart. 

3) Don’t be afraid to explore the more specific things your ICA enjoys. Being overly general doesn’t help you connect with more clients. Generalities rarely help you connect with anyone. Algorithms reward engagement and you are more likely to get engagement, instead of just a glance, if you are speaking about something dear to your ideal client’s heart. If they share a love of Mediterranean cuisine, be sure to feature content that draws them in, from recipes to beautiful pictures to travel tips. You don’t always have to sell your services and portfolio images. Sometimes, sharing related content will set you apart from the competition and drive more inquiries and sales.

4) Walk a fine line, but post as much as you can… as long as what you are posting is quality content. Posting throw-away content every day is worse than not posting at all. It’s better to post high-quality content once or twice a week than waste time on content that is likely to get ignored. Even if the algorithm wasn’t there, lousy content will never inspire or win new clients.

5) Be sure to respond to comments and DM’s as soon as you can. That shows that you're active on your account, creating interest and engagement. Also, be sure to comment, like and follow anyone who posts content you or your ICA would appreciate. Be a good community member and you’ll get the best treatment your platform is currently offering. If you’re able to, reply within the hour and no more than 24 hours later.

6) Last but not-at-all least, remember that you are a local business with a specific location. Geotagging your posts is a good idea. You probably can’t rank number one in the nation for your business, but you can be in the top for your area.  Be sure to talk about your town or city or area, come up with topical, seasonal, local information. Be personal, be accessible, and be human. Younger clients especially want your brand and business to align with their own values and activities. They want to know you—not just what you offer.

Focus on the humans you are trying to reach, not the revenue acrobatics of the platforms you use.  

So what’s the bottom line to beating any algorithm that comes down the pike? Focus on the humans you are trying to reach, not the revenue acrobatics of the platforms you use. Content providers like you are what keeps them afloat. If you are making good content and being active on their sites, they’re going to reward you in some way no matter what changes they make.

If you focus on reaching your client, engaging with them in genuine ways, and being the best representative of your brand and service you can be, you’ll be as golden as possible going forward.

Christie Osborne

Owner | Mountainside Media

Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that brings in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator with recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA and the ABC Conference.