Playing LinkedIn 'Algorithm Tag'
Getting your maximum visibility on social media can sometimes seem like playing a game where everyone is trying to work out what the rules are as they go along. How can you stop playing catch-up each time a social platform changes it’s algorithm?
Are You Playing Tag with Social Media Algorithms?
Social media is not a science. Well, that's not exactly true - there is a lot of science that goes into the creation of social medial algorithms. But, as a business trying to find their way around what works and what doesn't, it can feel much more 'hit and miss'.
Algorithms are also not static creatures - social networks are always refining and changing what content they show their users. These changes can result in a loss of engagement while you run around playing catchup.
You may have noticed this yourself. A post that you could typically rely on for engagement, suddenly doesn't seem to be getting the comments and likes it did a month ago. When you've spent time producing well researched, well-crafted content that disappears into a black hole when you share it with your network, it can be disheartening.
Social media is a broad term, so we'll focus on LinkedIn - being a specialist B2B platform with which many of you will be familiar.
Why is it important?
According to LinkedIn, 94% of B2B professionals use the platform to distribute content. From the same report, LinkedIn accounts for 50% of social traffic to websites and blog sites. With the current content boom on LinkedIn, it's clear to see why there is a need to periodically review that users see the most relevant content to them.
With so much competition for views, why should you bother? Last year, LinkedIn recognised its algorithm was too weighted towards its users with large networks and already high engagement. As a result, content from the average SME was getting buried.
As an SME, you had more chance of being noticed commenting on an influencer's post than you would by posting your own content. LinkedIn recognised this and changed the algorithm to make it more friendly for the average user.
This levelling of the playing field has provided a significant opportunity for businesses everywhere to get their quality content noticed. LinkedIn's algorithm is no longer about how extensive your network is, but how the audience it reaches reacts.
This diagram from Falcon.io shows how the LinkedIn algorithm works.
So, what can I do?
Well, there are some best practices you can employ to ensure you maximise the potential of your content:
Build a relevant audience - The influencer is dead (well, not quite, but they've taken a few good body-blows). Don't worry about how many people are in your network - get the right people in your network. These are more likely to engage and start a conversation.
Repurpose your organic content - Your website traffic will tell you what your typical audience are reading. But, LinkedIn doesn't favour outgoing links. So, consider how you can use this great content from your website on social media.
Keep up to date - Be proactive. Find sources that you trust and check every so often for news about algorithm changes. Use Google's News Alert function to trigger an email about relevant changes. Talk to your web development, SEO and Content partners about it.
Experiment with different content - Video is king on LinkedIn right now, so think about ways in which your company can utilise this more. SlideShare (remember that?) is also 'a thing' again. Think about how best to repurpose your content and take advantage of LinkedIn's tools, like it's publishing tool, SlideShare, or videos. If you do post a link to your website, put it in the first comment, rather than the initial post.
Schedule your social posts at the right time - There is a load of research around the best time to post on social platforms, whether your market is B2B or B2C. Before you act on these figures, make sure you reflect on your own audience. What does their typical day look like? Would this impact those benchmark figures?
So, if you feel caught in a never-ending game of 'algorithm tag', just remember to be pro-active. Ask advice from your web agency partner, utilise what you know about your organic content, and use your expertise and knowledge of your market to plan and create your social content. And let the algorithm do the rest.