Often, when explaining what we do for a living, social media managers will be met with blank stares, frowns and pleasant smiles with an “oh, sounds complicated!” comment. This is usually because social media users aren’t at all aware of how channels work, and how we have to figure out ways to make them work for us!
In the world of social media, things move fast – in fact, not just fast, but at lightning speed. To keep up requires boundless energy and an ability to adapt. Oh, and don’t forget oodles of creativity and an incredibly thick skin!
What’s also handy to understand is what an algorithm is, and how they tend to work for each channel.
“a finite sequence of well-defined, computer-implementable instructions”
Each channel works differently, and believe us, they play their cards VERY close to their chests! But here’s what we do know:
- Just because you post an image or video, doesn’t mean it’ll get engagement – you have to be engaging, ask a question, think about your audience. Sometimes, a text-only post will do the job!
- Carousels are great for boosting reach – for Insta in particular, each image in the carousel will continue to be served up to the user/follower until they’ve seen them all – within a reasonable timeframe. LinkedIn allows PDF document uploads to be shown as a carousel – it’s easy to read and doesn’t require a click off the platform.
- Speaking of which, external links off platform can cause your reach to be hampered – the platforms would much prefer that users stay online with them than leave, and to be honest, many users will be the same.
- Be innovative and test out new features, it’ll be picked up by the platform and could give you access to BETA tests as well.
- Engagement always wins – it doesn’t have to be a comment or like, it could be video views, but the social media platforms reward people for being social.
- Paid spending is different – here, the objective you request drives the algorithm. If you’re looking for external traffic, choose this and your ad will be served to users who have proved they are happy to click links – remember, though, if you’re using landing page views or other on-site metrics, you’d better have your tracking in place or the paid algorithms won’t be able to optimise automatically.
There are lots more tips and tricks, but the biggest tip is to test and learn. What works for one platform won’t for another, and what one audience finds engaging, another will complain about. There’s that “thick-skin” requirement again!