Social Media Marketing: Social Media Algorithms

For social media marketing, the question has never been “What content should I create?”

Rather the question is “how can I create and distribute content at scale?”

Whether are creating it yet or not, you know the content you need to be creating.

The reason you aren’t creating is due to a fear that it will go unnoticed, that it will prove to be a waste of time, and that short-term lead gen chasing checks TODAY is more promising than building a long-term inbound marketing system.

News Flash: If it took 3 pieces of content for you to go viral on social media, wouldn’t everyone go viral?

The truth is that it’s very difficult to build, retain, and convert audiences at scale.

With the consistent algorithm changes geared at driving you towards ad purchase and driving more user-friendly, engaging content it’s hard to even be seen.

Let’s get to the root of the algorithm. The best way to do so is to understand the platforms themselves.

Understanding the Algorithms

Nearly every platform makes money through ads. Ads are often times sprinkled across the platform and appear often but not constantly.

You will never have a feed full of ads.

The way every platform makes money is through the time you spend within it.

If you spend more time on Facebook, you will see more ads, therefore making Facebook more $.

Because of this, Social Media platforms goal isn’t to get more ads, it’s to keep you on the platform for longer!

Well, it didn’t take long for Zuckerberg and the others to determine how to do that best. The chronological algorithm (Pre-2013 I’d like to say) quickly changed to a more user-friendly algorithm.

Instead of the newest posts being seen (allowing for spam), the algorithm changed to a combination of chronological and user preference.

If you are more likely to like your close friend’s post, but not the random business you accidentally followed then you’ll see you friend’s posts more often than the business.



Engagement Over Followers

So the goal of followers has changed to engagement.

100,000 followers are useless if only 1% of your followers even see your content.

In fact, it works as a double negative. If Instagram sees you have a ton of followers but no engagement, then new followers will be lumped into the category of your other followers -> not wanting to see your content.

Now that we know the goal is engagement, how do we capture it?

The same way everyone else does -> post dope stuff that your followers actually like.

It’s as simple as that.

The Social Media Marketing gurus that tell you the frequency, timing, captioning, etc… are all full of shi*t.

Yes, that matters, but not nearly as much as the core of your page -> content & distribution.

It’s no different than supplements. Yeah, it’ll make a difference, but 98% will come from diet and exercise.

There is no direct answer to capturing engagement, but there is a way to systematically work towards it.

And that is every marketer’s favorite:

Testing Social Media Marketing

Testing at high frequency and large variance is the #1 way to determine your ideal content for driving engagement in social media marketing. 

Here’s a breakdown of the tests we run with a client of ours at Social Apex:


1 post per day vs. 3 posts every other day

Product placement:

Strong product placement vs. 0 product placement

Content type:

Brand content vs. lifestyle content


Video vs. Photo

So within 30 days we’ll test several variables against each other. After this testing we can determine our optimal content for engagement.

After it may look like this:

1 post per day, with 0 product placement, lifestyle driven, video drives the highest engagement by 64%. At scale that’s 3,000 more impressions leading to 100 website clicks resulting in 6 initial sales and 5 more through retargeting. This drives a revenue of $550 dollars more than normal post scaled over 30 days equaling $16,500/mo.

Your social media marketing might not be on that level yet, but as you can see minor changes can make a world of a difference.

Keep in mind this doesn’t factor in accelerated growth of your page from posting the optimal content nor measuring the LTV of a view.

When we look at LTV if 30% of your followers view your posts versus 5% that’s a 25% difference.

At 10,000 followers that’s 2,500 potential customers. Not only is the LTV severely hurt at the drop off from 30% to 5% but also factor in the touch points. 2,500 potential customers viewing 30 posts a month means even with a 1% conversion rate, your bottom-line will have been impacted drastically.

If you aren’t investing in your engagement rate, don’t invest in social media marketing at all.

When you’re dealing with consistent algorithm changes in social media marketing it’s easy to blame the algorithm on your lack of engagement. In reality, it’s on you as the business to capitalize on the algorithm while your competitors spend their time complaining about it.

The algorithms won’t ever stop changing, and neither should you. Always be improving your content and distribution by listening to your audience and reacting accordingly.

The key to social media marketing is understanding then applying the knowledge of the algorithms. Apply this knowledge today in your social media marketing strategy. 

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