Why you need to stop chasing social media algorithms

Posted by Deb Croucher | February 23, 2021

Key learnings

  • Social media algorithms explained
  • What happens when you try to beat the algorithm
  • The strategic approach to social media that works

Straight up, if a social media ‘expert’ is telling you they know how to beat the algorithm, you should turn around and run away.

The reality is that social media algorithms aren’t for chasing. Trying to beat them is a pointless exercise that will waste precious time and money in your business.

Understanding social media

Before looking at social media algorithms, it’s really important to have a solid understanding of social media – and its goals.

Social media has an important role to play, but it’s not a magic pill. No matter how much time, effort and money you spend on social media, it’s going to be ineffective unless you have the basics down first.

And that means having a strong digital brand and an effective website.

In order to survive and thrive you need to build your digital brand – via your website – and then you need to engage with your customer base to build trust.

And that’s where social media comes into play. Social media is part of a mix that includes your website, SEO, articles and video… that collectively help you attract and retain clients.

Social media algorithms explained

On Facebook alone, there are more than 2.5 billion active users. There are also more than 80 million Facebook business pages worldwide. Each and every day a staggering 55 million + status updates are shared on the platform. Those are some big numbers.

While Facebook is the largest social media platform, the other major players have similar stats.

At their most basic, social media algorithms are designed to organise the constant flow of information. Social media algorithms are AI that run 24/7. They constantly watch our behaviour while we are on the platform and tweak what they show us to keep us coming back for more.

Algorithms work to ensure you have an enjoyable experience by seeing the content you want to. Simultaneously, the longer you stay on a social media platform, the more advertising you will see – and the more money the platform makes.

The risks of social media

As a business owner posting content on social media, you naturally want it to be seen by your followers so they can engage with your brand.

In the early days of business pages, this was easy. You would post a link and watch the traffic flowing to your website. But as social media algorithms have become more sophisticated and the social media platforms have become revenue-generating machines, it is no longer possible to get that level of traffic or engagement.

One key thing to understand is that once you post something on social media, it belongs to the social media company… and they have control.

Busy news day? Your post will likely be lost in the rush. Want it to still be viewed down the track? All social media posts eventually disappear.

Many business owners fall into the trap of thinking that they have to be prolific on social media to get traction. They post multiple times a day in an effort to beat the algorithm. But it doesn’t work. And while they have been spending that time on social media, other areas of their business that needed their attention have suffered. It is a waste of time, money and effort.

Running your own race

The best analogy to use in reference to trying to beat the social media algorithms is about running your own race.

If you are in a race and your focus is on those ahead of you, or even those behind you – anything but on your own performance – then you will lose form.

Your energy is directed towards the other players in the field and what they are doing, rather than setting a pace that you know will get you to where you need to go.

You’ll collapse over the finishing line, disappointed in your performance.

The social media algorithm is like that leader of the pack setting the pace for everyone behind them.

They are always one step ahead and it doesn’t matter what you do, you just can’t catch them.

If you try to beat the social media algorithm you will get nowhere, fast.

Strategic social media

Instead, social media relies on a strategic approach. One that works for you and not the other way around. Stop trying to chase social media algorithms in an effort to beat them, but rather be smart about what you post and when.

Social media will play a bigger role in some businesses than others. For a small B2C business, you might start with a social media presence and build a website as you grow. For a larger B2B business, social media is a cost of doing business and your website is where the money is.

It’s crucial that you have an overall digital brand strategy and know where social media fits into your business. It’s ok to only post once or twice a week on your chosen social media platforms. No, you won’t beat the algorithm if you use certain words or phrases in your posts. In fact, you will never beat the algorithm and you may die trying!

Social media excellence

At Brilliant Digital, everything we do for our clients is part of a considered, strategic approach… social media included. We use social media as a tool to build connections and drive traffic to each client’s digital home – their website.

The website is where you build your digital brand, where you keep content long-term, where you have control.

We never chase social media algorithms. We know what works… and what doesn’t.

Related posts

How to choose the right social media platforms for your business
The social media metrics that matter for your business
How to create thumb-stopping social media content

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