Does the word ‘algorithm’ scare you?

If so, don’t worry, I used to be in the same boat. When it’s broken down simply though, it’s not that difficult to understand. In fact, with recent updates to the algorithms on big social media applications, it’s quite important for small businesses and organisations with a social media presence to be aware of.

So what exactly is an algorithm? It can be defined as a step-by-step procedure designed to perform an operation. In terms of computer science and the internet, algorithms are essentially the tool that makes anything do anything.

Now why are algorithms relevant to you? Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have all recently made changes to their Newsfeed algorithms in order to prioritise certain types of posts for users, rather than following a traditional chronological structure.

Facebook now makes use of very complicated algorithms and continually alters them to make sure that users see more content from friends and family and less from brands. These algorithms are also structured around a user’s previous interactions with that type of Post, the level of engagement the Page and Post have received, the performance of the Post with other users and how often users have hidden that type of Post.

Twitter soon followed in Facebook’s footsteps and introduced an algorithmic Timeline. This ensures that users see more Tweets from those they interact with the most and some of the most popular Tweets of users they follow.

Instagram eventually made the change to an algorithmic Newsfeed too, but it’s a little bit different. All the Posts of people you follow still appear in your Newsfeed, but the Posts are simply prioritised based on a combination of the likelihood of you being interested in the content, how often you interact with the user and the time it was posted.

So, what this means from an organisation perspective, is that unless you have an extremely engaged and committed follower base, your organic reach can no longer be relied upon from a marketing perspective. Essentially, social media is no longer the amazing free advertising medium it once was. If you want to reach your target audience via social media then you’re going to have to pay for it.

This isn’t all bad news. Paid advertising on social sites is quite affordable and it is amazing just how specifically you can target your content to reach your exact target market.

So my challenge to you is to have a go at creating a paid advertisement through Facebook and have a play around with all the specifications and options for targeting your exact target market.  It can be quite an overwhelming process to undergo at first, but if you need a hand just ask us.

Good luck!

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