Social Media Algorithms – Part 2: How to Increase Social Media Post Reach
- How to Increase Social Media Post Reach
- 1. Research and Understand Your Target Audience
- 2. Post Original, High-Quality Content
- 3. Develop Good Posting Habits
- 4. Follow the Posting Guidelines and Good Practices of Each Channel
- 5. Drive Engagement
- 6. Use Hashtags Strategically
- 7. Use Multimedia
- 8. Check Your Insights
Social media algorithms are all-powerful, computer-generated recommendations that work in the background to determine who and how many people get to enjoy your content. So, you need to make algorithms work for you to increase social media post reach.
This might seem intimidating, given that social media algorithms are proprietary, not to mention incredibly complex.
The good news is that by following best practices, you will reach a wider audience, improve your followers’ experience, and encourage them to engage.
In Social Media Algorithms – Part 1, we discussed how algorithms work and how social media sites use them. In this blog, we will look at some more specific tips that explain how to get your social media posts seen.
How to Increase Social Media Post Reach
When you create engaging content that your audience loves and conforms with the platform’s guidelines, you are taking one of the most important steps toward getting the algorithms to work for you.
It’s all about finding the common interests that your target audience shares. So, focus on your audience, not the algorithm.
Each individual account has its own algorithm based on what that account holder interacts with, including…
- Who they follow
- What they search
- What they watch (even without engaging in that post)
All of this will affect the algorithm and what content someone sees.
In order for the algorithm to play in your favor, you have to create content that your current and target audience wants so that your content can be shown in their Explore and suggested posts. The algorithm will share similar content to what you view and engage with, so you need to create content for your ideal audience.
Here are some great habits to follow that will both improve content quality and increase social media post reach…
1. Research and Understand Your Target Audience
If you don’t know who your target audience is or how to engage your followers, your efforts to provide them with relevant and exciting content will fail. But once you understand your audience, you can target your content effectively to those who will most likely enjoy it. Take the time to research those you’re trying to reach to understand which platforms they’re on, what language they use, and so on.
2. Post Original, High-Quality Content
Whatever format you post, ensure your content is original and of good quality.
People will quickly lose interest in amateurish posts that the creator has taken little care in preparing. That is especially true if you aim to inform or educate your audience. When people lose interest, algorithms notice, making them less likely to recommend your posts.
That doesn’t mean your posts have to be slick and perfect productions. In fact, social media users tend to value authenticity over perfection.
If viewers flag your material for being false or inaccurate, your rankings will suffer. Make sure your content is authentic and original to increase social media post reach. Social media algorithms are out hunting for plagiarized work and will rank duplicated content lower. Besides, people will glide past anything they have seen before.
3. Develop Good Posting Habits
There is so much content out there—learning how to get social media posts seen can be challenging. Posting regularly and at optimal times will help your fans know when to look for your latest offerings in their feed.
Timing is also critical. Knowing when your fans are most likely to be checking their feeds will help to increase social media post reach. You can check your social media insights to understand when you are most likely to catch their attention.
4. Follow the Posting Guidelines and Good Practices of Each Channel
Following the posting guidelines for each channel will help you optimize your engagement. Channels know their users’ social media habits and preferences better than anyone. By analyzing the data, they understand what caption lengths, video formats, etc., generate the best results for their users.
The guidelines also help ensure that your media is formatted correctly so that your audience sees it as you intended.
If you don’t follow the guidelines, the algorithms will quickly pick up on your poor user metrics, and your rankings will suffer further.
Tip: Check out our social media cheat sheet to view specs for images, videos, and text.
5. Drive Engagement
You should include a CTA (call to action) at the end of each post to encourage likes, shares, comments, click-throughs, and so forth. CTAs help spark a response when users would otherwise move on to the next post in their feed.
A word of warning…
Don’t let your CTA sound like clickbait. Social media sites like Facebook have become wise to spam-like material and have algorithms fishing for them. Your post could be pushed down the feed as a result.
Instead, encourage people to contribute for a good reason that is relevant to your post, whether it’s through thought-provoking questions, helpful suggestions, etc.
Also, monitor your comments and respond to them! Whether it’s to thank them for taking time out to comment or answer a question, your readers will appreciate that you have acknowledged them.
6. Use Hashtags Strategically
Using hashtags will help your posts reach new users interested in content like yours. Don’t overdo it, though. While hashtags help social media algorithms connect you with new users, they may also penalize you for using too many.
The bottom line is to use a limited number of relevant, unique, and memorable hashtags to increase social media post reach and engagement.
7. Use Multimedia
Most social media algorithms prioritize posts with videos, photos, GIFs, and graphics. While it’s no surprise that you should include videos when posting on sites like Instagram and TikTok, it’s good advice for any social media channel, even Twitter.
8. Check Your Insights
Social media platforms tend to keep the details of exactly how an algorithm chooses to highlight one post over another to themselves. But you should use the insights that come with each platform to track how your posts are performing. That way, you better understand what works and doesn’t. You can then tweak your future posts to increase social media post reach.
How to Get Social Media Posts Seen on 6 Popular Platforms
Each social media site focuses on different media formats. Here’s how to increase social media post reach on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest.
Instagram started as a social network for users to interact by sharing photos. Since then, it has successfully transitioned into the go-to social media for sharing videos with followers.
Instagram Reels, Stories, and carousels get the greatest engagement these days. Reels are very popular short-form videos that get to have their own feed in the Instagram app. Carousels are slideshows of still images or graphics with titles and captions and do well with engagement.
Content produced by friends, family, and those you interact with most often tends to rank higher with Stories. Instagram recommends using eye-catching visuals and adding text and playful stickers to images and videos. Applying Instagram Poll stickers is an especially great way to encourage engagement.
Stories are short-lived, as they are featured at the top of the home page for up to 24 hours.
Explore is geared toward helping users discover Reels, Stories, and other interesting posts. That means the Explore algorithms are most likely to recommend similar posts to ones the user has already viewed, as well as content from accounts they’ve already engaged with.
Entertaining and interesting posts tend to rank highest on Reels. A user’s engagement history with the poster is also essential, but Reels also make space for newer creators.
Reels are short-form videos of no more than 90 seconds. They should be in a vertical format of 9:16, with a resolution of at least 500×888 pixels. However, videos with resolutions of 1080×1920 pixels that include captions and sound are recommended.
Instagram users appreciate great photos, so high-resolution images with captions will help increase engagement. Instagram recommends using the highest resolution possible, up to a width of 1080 pixels, with aspect ratios of 1.91:1 and 4:5.
Facebook was created to be an online social media network for friends and family to keep in touch and share events in their lives. While Facebook has grown, it still emphasizes friendships as one of the most important values to rank.
Videos tend to achieve the highest engagement rates on Facebook, including Facebook Reels, Live videos, and mixed-media Stories.
Facebook now says that some of the most important ranking signals are relationships between posters and their audience, the recency of the post, relevancy to the user, the type of content, and the users’ designated favorites. Original blog posts and curated content also perform well on Facebook.
Facebook Reels can be up to 90 seconds, with a minimum resolution of 1080p and up to 4K if available. They favor a vertical format.
Facebook Stories allow multiple media, with a resolution of at least 1080×1080 pixels, for images and videos alike. Ratios can be from 1.91:1 to 9:16.
Famous for its under-280-character micro-posts, Twitter originally listed posts on its news feed according to chronological order. Today, Twitter uses algorithms to rank posts, although they can still be seen in date order. Posts that include images or videos tend to get more engagement.
Twitter algorithms base recommendations on factors including:
- Twitter contacts
- Activity on Twitter
- User settings
- Promoted accounts
YouTube has remained true to its founders’ mission to create a video-sharing platform. Focus on creating high-resolution videos that entertain and educate your target audience. Provide as much value as you can while keeping your videos as short as possible.
Many YouTube users watch full-screen videos on laptops, tablets, and even TV, so make use of the highest resolution footage possible. YouTube is also one of the platforms where landscape-oriented videos still reign supreme.
The standard aspect ratio for YouTube on a computer is 16:9. YouTube automatically adjusts your video to this aspect ratio and adds padding on playback. If you want your viewers to see your posts as you intended, you may want to keep the aspect ratio as close as possible to the standard setting.
Here are some recommended resolutions:
- 7680p (8K): 7680×4320
- 2160p (4K): 3840×2160
- 1440p: 2560×1440
- 1080p: 1920×1080
TikTok is known for short viral videos all about having fun and expressing yourself. TikTok recommends creating 15-second videos with a resolution of 1080×1920 and a vertical aspect ratio of 9:16. You can record videos up to 60 seconds using your app. Check out the TikTok for You page to find out what algorithms it recommends.
The good news is that you don’t need a large following to get ranked on TikTok. You are also free to experiment without worrying so much about the quality or taste of your production! So, it’s an excellent place for less-established posters to build a following. You can afford to make a few mistakes along the way and still go viral!
Pinterest is an image-sharing social media service people use for visual inspiration and research for creative projects and shopping. Because it has a smaller number of users than many other platforms, it is not so competitive. That means it’s easier to get your posts seen. To pin posts on Pinterest, use vertical image sizes with a resolution of 1000×1500 pixels. Infographics, images, and GIFs do well on Pinterest. Additionally, the platform has introduced Idea Pins, where users can share vertical videos or slideshows; these tend to receive more engagement.
Social media platforms use algorithms to rank your posts. So, to increase social media post reach and engagement, you need to follow good practices that algorithms will recognize as signs of great content your audience would love to see.
It starts with getting to know your target audience and the platform you are creating content for. That way, you can share authentic content your following will enjoy and interact with.
It’s also crucial to follow the posting guidelines of each social media platform, use the right media format, post regularly and encourage your audience to engage with you and each other. That way, you will satisfy the needs of both your followers and the algorithms.
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