Earlier this year, Warner Brothers launched a sequel to their popular 1996 movie Space Jam. Bugs and the usual suspects from the Looney Tunes gang were back, but legendary baller Michael Jordan was replaced by Lebron James and the original bad guy, Mr. Swackhammer, was usurped by a character called Al-G Rhythm, voiced by Don Cheadle.
Spoiler alert- this movie was not a cinematic masterpiece. But that’s not why I am bringing it up. Al-G Rhythm is obviously a play on the word algorithm, the mysterious forces working in the background on every social media platform that determine what content gets shown to which people and how often.
If you’ve found yourself wondering why some marketing content you post gets seen by a lot of people, and some barely gets seen at all, you probably look at the algorithm as the bad guy too. But why does it happen? There are a lot of factors at play, but in this article we are going to share some of the top reasons the visibility of your posts is often squelched on social media, and how to work around it.
Reason #1: Business Pages and Personal Profiles Don’t Have the Same Rules
The first word in social media is “social.” Most social media algorithms have been programmed to prioritize content from personal profiles in the newsfeed. As cool as our products and services are, people don’t come to social media to be marketed to. They want to see what their friends and favorite influencers are up to. Social media platforms know if they deliver what users want, they will better be able to retain those users. The more time they spend in the platform, the better. So your business page is at a disadvantage from the start.
Reason #2: You’re Linking Away from the Social Platform
Posts that contain links to websites outside of the social media platform also tend to be shown to a smaller audience, whether they are from personal or business pages. In an effort to keep users on the platform, social platforms want to limit the number of opportunities users have to leave it. So if you link away from the platform, it will limit the visibility of your post.
Reason #3: The Right People Aren’t Seeing Your Content Early Enough
Years ago, businesses prioritized likes and followers. The more followers you had, the more credible you were. So more was better, even if they weren’t passionate fans. But then Facebook changed the game, and other platforms soon followed suit. Facebook began limiting how many of your followers saw your post. Today, it’s estimated that 1% of the people who like your Facebook page see your post when it’s first published. If that audience engages with it, it’s shown to a slightly larger number of followers and so forth and so on. But if the first audience doesn’t engage with the post, it falls off the newsfeed quickly.
This is why you will sometimes see companies with hundreds of thousands of followers, and very little post engagement. While companies with smaller, more passionate fanbases, will crush it. Bigger is not better when it comes to visibility. What matters is that the people who follow you love your brand.
Reason #4: You’re Trying Too Hard to Sell
Like we have already established, nobody comes to social media to be marketed to. So if you’re pushing too hard for your products or services, it’s likely falling on deaf ears. That doesn’t mean social media can’t work for your business. It just means you need to change your strategy and take an audience-centric approach to your content. What do they want that you are positioned to give them? How can you create content that demonstrates your value but aligns with what they want from their social media experience?
Reason #5: There’s Money to be Made
Every other reason we’ve covered here is valid. But they all ultimately come down to this. The glory days of free social media marketing for companies are behind us. Facebook was the first to offer ads, and every other platform soon followed suit. And there’s no reason to pay for ads if they continue letting you reach your audience for free, right? So the primary reason the algorithm is limiting your reach is because social media platforms recognize the value of that reach, and they have monetized the visibility.
The Algorithm isn’t Undefeated- You Can Win
I’ll admit, I haven’t exactly painted the most beautiful picture for the future of social media as a marketing channel. But the untapped potential of these platforms is still astronomical if you change how you’re using them. Here are 4 quick tips for a more effective social media approach for your business:
- Get personal: Consider strategies for leveraging the LinkedIn profiles of your company’s leaders to capitalize on the priority social platforms give to personal profiles over business pages.
- Commit a Budget: Just because you have to pay to play from your business profile, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. Social media platforms are powerful and robust advertising platforms and the cost to get in the game is relatively small.
- Target Your Paid Content: Once you’ve committed to spending budget on social, a whole world of opportunities opens up to you. You’re no longer pigeonholed to reaching a small percentage of the people who follow your page. You can use sophisticated audience building technology to reach more of the people who matter to you.
- Prioritize Your Audience: This is important for both paid and unpaid content. You’re competing with a lot of noise on social media. So it’s important to deliver value. Get to know your audience and what they care about, and then deliver it. Be helpful, be compassionate, be funny. Be the kind of brand who gives them what they come to social media for, and you will reap the benefit of their loyalty.