Headlines like to lament the death of organic reach on Facebook and, in the same breath, recommend tips to “hack” algorithms to beat social media systems. What these perspectives miss out on, however, is the fact that these algorithms are designed to combat content shock and keep users from becoming unhappy or worse, exiting the platform entirely.
It’s clear that these goals are beneficial for marketers, too. That’s because the platforms are invaluable tools for reaching users everyday. Marketing Land argues that updates shouldn’t be thwarted with hacks that, ultimately, are a losing strategy. The key to successful social media marketing isn’t to make strategies that work despite algorithms. Rather, your plans should be aligned with these technicalities. Let’s take a look at some key algorithm changes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and what they mean for event marketers.
The social media goliath has recently made the move to gear newsfeeds towards more content from friends and family, coming at the expense of branded and media content. Adam Parry previously explained here on Event Industry News that tried-and-tested tricks like “engagement bait” will no longer work for brands looking to market their own events.
That being said, the more sustainable approach is to do more with less by ensuring that your content is more shareable and value-adding. Take advantage of platform innovations like Facebook LIVE as well as the platform’s sophisticated demographic and behavioural targeting mechanisms. Ayima revealed a trick for effective targeting on Facebook: have a large but high-value pool of users. Doing so will give your boosted content longer life and it will ensure that they go to the right people. Moreover, embrace Facebook’s preference for user-generated content by encouraging people to post about your events for friends and family to see. Reward guests for social sharing with promotions, have a fun hashtag, or even run experiential activations that have a strong social media component. The sky’s the limit.
Although Twitter’s recent updates to its algorithm have drawn flak from users, Social Media Today reports that the company’s efforts in increasing engagement are actually paying off. Currently, the newsfeed shows top-ranked tweets, “In case you missed it” content, and finally, regular tweets in reverse chronological order. In an effort to boost engagement, the feed also serves users tweets that people they follow have liked or commented. This way, the updates can be clearly beneficial to both brands and target audiences.
To take advantage of this development, event marketers need to understand content characteristics that will get you higher on the algorithm’s ranking. For instance, the tweet itself must be fairly recent, have images or videos, and amass retweets, likes, and replies. The account performance also has an impact, as the followers of those who follow your brand or influencer on Twitter will also be more likely to see content you put out. In a nutshell, the key to mastering Twitter’s new algorithm for better reach and engagement is to post more engaging tweets and regularly interacting with other Twitter users.
One of the hottest social platforms today, Instagram has been defying expectations both with its Facebook-style algorithm and a string of past and future feature updates like Instagram Stories, video calling, and a redesigned explore page. The current algorithm ranks posts based on how recently these are posted and how engaging they are.
As with both Facebook and Twitter, focus on the quality of the content you put out and ensure that these are important enough to your audience to trigger action and increase engagement. This means holding contests, using live video, asking questions, offering value-adding information, and timing your posts well. Complement these with simpler steps like liking and responding to every comment you get. You can also reward followers for posting with your event hashtag by reposting their images and crediting them. In addition, be smart about how you spend your ad budget, both in on-platform advertisements and with Instagram influencers.
In conclusion, social media is a great platform to engage with potential event guests and build communities around your brand or advocacy. It’s important to avoid treating these channels like TV or radio, and falling into the trap of just broadcasting content for awareness but losing sight of engagement. In truth, events have the distinct advantage of being more likely for users to post about instead of merchandise or other services, so do your best to up the shareability factor and watch your numbers grow – thanks, in part, to the algorithms you embrace.