Have you ever seen a social media post by a competitor with a far higher reach than yours and wondered why their posts are doing better? Or a blog post on the exact same topic as a post you’ve made, ranked way higher up on Google? What are they doing that you’re not? Responding to social or search algorithms may be the answer.
Reaching target audiences through social media and Google searches can present a daunting challenge for many businesses. The algorithms behind these platforms often seem like the main culprit. With so many competitors creating content on the same platform, it can often appear that a platform’s search algorithm is set to favor your competitor. In reality, it’s likely that they’ve simply found a way to use algorithm nuances to their advantage. Keep reading to tap into the benefits that social and search algorithms can bring to your content performance.
An Inbound Look at Algorithms
HubSpot’s Inbound22 event included a keynote speech by Neil Patel, co-founder of NP Digital, in which he broke down the top ways to “crack” social and search algorithms on a variety of platforms. Patel’s talk made one thing clear: with the right strategy and a full understanding of the platform you are trying to tackle, it is entirely possible to leverage unconventional marketing techniques and gain a competitive advantage over others within your respective industry. Patel’s solutions to the challenges we face with social and search algorithms are all built into a simple formula that any business can apply for success.
In order to gain insight into how to beat search and social algorithms, we first must understand why organic reach to audiences is limited. According to a study conducted by Jay Baer, there is a correlation between stock prices and organic reach. Essentially, as stock prices of any given platform rise (increased monetization of platform), organic reach declines. You may have noticed this on your favorite social media platforms - fewer posts by friends, family, favorite creators, and more sponsored content related to your interests. So how does one navigate this issue? Patel states that we must crack the algorithm by reinventing solutions to the same old problems.
The Ultimate Formula to ‘Crack the Algo’
The solution to cracking these algorithms is driven by a simple yet effective formula, S=ASx(L+WPCI). The values of these variable are as follows:
- S = Success
- AS = Algorithm Signals
- L = Learning
- WPCI = What People Can’t Ignore
In long form, the formula reads: Success = Algorithm Signals x (Learning + What People Can’t Ignore).
Success and Signals
Within the formula, Success (S) is straightforward and is understood as a conversion. Algorithm Signals (AS) are what is known about any given platform which an account is trying to reach its target on. It’s imperative to understand what fuels the content algorithms on platforms like Google, Youtube, Instagram, etc. Determining which platform you’re concerned with will provide insights into the variables within the formula.
While certain algorithmic trends are to be expected across any platform, all platforms have varied algorithm signals which select and curate content for viewers:
- Google - External links, internal links, keywords, search intent, content quality, content thoroughness, technical, site speed, etc.
- YouTube - Watch history and action, watch time, interest in watching, view duration, topical interests, competition performance, relevancy to the season, etc.
- Facebook - Interactions from followers, overall engagement, video content drives higher engagement, native video preference, organic reach rewarded to posts driving discussion, etc.
- Instagram - Post format, frequency, engagement, new feature, user activity, best hours to post, interaction history, time sensitive, hashtags, interactive: polls, slider, carousel, etc.
- LinkedIn - Comments can lead to viral posts, video content, fresh features favored, punchy text based posts with no links, employee activity affects brand outreach, etc.
- TikTok - Video likes and shares, accounts followed, content created, videos completed, comments posted, favorited videos, first few seconds, keyword rich captions, etc.
Accounting for Change
The variable Learnings (L) within the formula is crucial. Learnings is how a business keeps evolving over time through the information learned from experience on any platform in question. Learnings include:
- Knowing audience and ideal customer profile
- What is the best content to post
- When is the best time to post
- What the audience wants
- Market seasonality
- What the best selling product is
Patel states, in regards to learning, “All algorithms are constantly evolving, you need to have a test and analysis mindset, so you can discover super relevant signals other people haven’t discovered yet.” Essentially, Learnings are crucial because, while they change over time, they’re the guide to what, where, and when in regards to posting marketing related content.
Capitalize on Content Strengths
The last part of our formula for beating algorithms is What People Can’t Ignore (WPCI). This involves anything that makes your content engaging and stand out to your audience from your competition. Build your brand through offering free tools, winning awards, and perhaps most importantly, building your own community or audience. Publishing your own content and having an audience that exists outside of google or any social media platform will help you build a following on social platforms, attract new followers, and help you succeed on social platforms. Send email blasts, post blogs directing people to your social posts, create your community and watch it grow.
Algorithms may be frustrating, but with the right approach we can beat them and continue to find success on search and social platforms. All it takes is coming up with new solutions to the same problems we’ve faced in the past. Patel gives us an excellent tool to find success in the face of declining organic reach presented by such algorithms. With this tool and an understanding of each of its variables, your business can gain a competitive advantage over others in your industry and use algorithms to benefit your business rather than hamper it.
InboundAV is a full-service business development agency dedicated to helping businesses solve pain points. We are proud Diamond Tier HubSpot Solutions Partners with a talented team of experts that help clients tackle their roadblocks. We provide a complete range of services to support your sales, marketing, and operations teams. This includes HubSpot onboarding and implementation, custom workflows, strategy, ongoing support, and more.