Spoiler alert – they are always changing, always learning and always adapting but keep listening and we will talk more about how they learn and adapt and how you can stay on their good side and use that to your advantage
Key take outs from this Episode
The Algorithms always change – that’s how they learn!
Big changes get announced on the news rooms and blogs
The Full transcript
All right, so this is one of the questions I get asked all the time and it is how often do the algorithms on Facebook and Instagram change? And I am going to be the bearer of bad news for you because I see so many people and so many so called social media experts that go out there and sing from the rooftops that the algorithm has changed and we all need to change what we’re doing because the algorithms have changed and it’s like some big mystery that you’ve gotta be in the inner circle and they’ll tell you that it’s changed and how to cheat the system. Now that it’s changed. And I hate to call, well actually no, I love to call bullshit on you. This is the point of this podcast. Here is the truth. There is the gospel on this guys. Guess what? The algorithms change all the fucking time.
Their algorithms, that’s what they’re designed to do. All right, so let me explain this. The algorithms on Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn are all slightly different. They are based using things like machine learning or AI, artificial intelligence to watch how consumers behave and what they enjoy and then show preference to that particular individual at that particular moment what they’re going to see or experience in their feet. That is how the algorithm is designed to work. It’s designed to provide you the user with the best possible user experience every single time you open the platform that goes to the platform, knows what you’re interested in, the types of adverts you want to see, who you should be preferencing in your feed, how you know which stories you should see first, which pieces of content you’ll enjoy. And that’s what they’re doing. They’re always moving and influx.
They change all the time in order to keep up with the way that we change and how our consumer behavior and products and things change on the platforms. So yes, the algorithms do change all the time, but they literally change all the time. They are in a constant state of flux and flow. So if anybody ever sings out and cries, Oh my gosh, the algorithm has changed and that’s why you’re not getting any reach. Okay. 99% of the time it’s bullshit. Now saying that there have been a couple of significant platform changes over the last couple of years. Uh, for example, Instagram, it used to be chronological and his feet and that changed to being preferenced based. So you don’t necessarily see posts that have been posted. You know, most recently you’re actually seeing posts that it thinks you’re most interested in viewing. That was a change to its algorithm.
Uh, there was another one as well in January of 2018 which was Facebook’s move towards meaningful where they basically said, unless you produce meaningful content as a business page or group that you’re not going to get to, you know, get shown in the feed the way you normally do. And that’s what we looked at, you know, diminishing things like organic reach because the move was towards meaningful content. Now when there are big, big changes to how the algorithms work, like significant changes like those, there are announcements made and I promise you here at flow social, if there is ever a big significant change on the algorithms, we will be the first people to let you know. But apart from that, if anybody’s ever crying that the algorithms changed and you need to do this, you need to do that, it’s probably because they just don’t understand how to follow and market how to follow the trends and and use their data and market efficiently.
And that’s kind of what I want to touch on with you. So bear in mind that the algorithms changed based on how we change. If all of a sudden we all start watching certain types of videos, like for example, Instagram stories and it found that Instagram stories were very popular and that people would want to see certain stories and skip over other ones. The algorithm will adapt and change to how you actually want to view stories. You’re not going to see stories from people that you don’t interact with, but the people that you follow and watch stories from on a regular basis will actually appear at the front of your Instagram feed when you open up to view them. Okay? That’s what the algorithm is doing. It’s watching your behavior and it’s adapting and moving to that. So things will always, you know, new products, new trends, new, um, you know, new things going on in the world will change how the algorithms work and which pieces of content they serve to the users at certain times.
So always be aware of that. It’s not the fact that, you know, a lot of people talk about an Instagram, Oh, I don’t get any reach anymore. It’s not that the algorithms changed. It’s the fact that the platform is super competitive now. And if you’re still posting the same kind of content and doing the same thing that you did six months ago and you maybe didn’t keep up with the trends and pay attention to what people were responding to, you could quite possibly be seeing a really, really diminished amount of reach or engagement from your posts. But that’s not the algorithm’s fault, that’s yours. And you’ve got to remember that the algorithms learn from the users and how they interact with the platform. So you can’t really blame and Facebook and Instagram, if you’re not getting any engagement, it’s the fact that your audience do not have know, lost love for you and don’t want to hear about what you’re doing.
So these are the big things that if you want to stay, and I’m never going to use these words cheat, hack or break or you know, master or any of these things with the algorithm, okay. We work in harmony with them. If we understand them and we work to do the best that we can by our consumers, by our audience, then we’re going to be in their favor and it’s going to work for us. That’s it. There’s no hacking or breaking or doing anything with it. And if anybody teaches you these kinds of things, you send them my way. They need to listen to more of the gospel of social media. Now what you can do though to make sure that you are staying up to date and that you are staying current and that you are going to be in favor with the algorithms and the platforms is really focused on your engagement where your users are actually responding to you.
So if you put a post up and you notice that it doesn’t get a lot of interaction, try something different. Don’t keep trying to put up the same type of content. Use your data, look at your posts that have received the most interaction or engagement and go back to those and if they’ve changed, look at what else is going on on the platform and what people are generally, you know, following and liking and sharing and these things. Look at the posts that are coming up in your own feeds and seeing what’s different about the stuff you’re doing to what’s different to them. So always be prepared to adapt your content and your strategies so that you don’t get stuck in a rut. If you’re posting the same kind of content that you did two years ago and you haven’t changed that posting strategy, you’re either going to be doing really well cause you’re still ahead with the algorithm or you’re just going to be getting no engagement whatsoever and you’re just not paying attention to that.
So really, really focused on your numbers. Focus on your engagement and let that be your guide. And when you notice things change or drop off, change or test or trial, a new strategy, the big part of that as well guys, is to keep track on your numbers. How do you know? People say that they don’t get as much reach, but they might actually be getting still the same amount of engagement. So a lot of people, I don’t get as many likes on Instagram, but you know, I’m still getting lots of people engaging or people still commenting. Well that’s still cool. So look at things as your true North. Track your numbers and use them to understand where you’re at. So things like engagement rate, the number of people who’ve seen your post divided by the number of people who have actually interacted with your posts.
Light shared, commented, saved, sent DMD message you however they interact with that post is what we call an engagement rate. Now your engagement rate could be, it doesn’t matter how many people see the post, it’s always a percentage. Okay? So your engagement rate is going to show you a percentage of the people who’ve seen the post to interact with it. It’s kind of like a true North in terms of, you know, judging which piece of content works better for you. Your engagement rate is available to see in your posts settings and the insights platform on your Facebook page. And it’s available in the in app analytics on Instagram as well. So you’ll be able to go in and see your engagement rate and you can see this for your stories and your feed posts. So understanding what your average engagement rate is really important because then you can see when you post a piece of content, whether that is above your benchmark of average or whether it’s below your benchmark of average.
And if you know that it’s below your benchmark of average, you know that there’s something going on with that content or something going on with your audience that it’s not resonating as well. No, it could be the time of day that you’ve posted it. It could be a very, you know, a lot of competition going on. It could just be a fluke, but you need to keep track of your numbers in order to see what’s happening. So your numbers are going to give you a good guide. But also there are some other things that influence the behaviors of the algorithm. So you also want to make sure you are doing things like responding to comments. This is so, so important. Respond to comments. Um, encourage people to talk to you, talk back to them, answer your dams onto your Facebook messages. You know, if somebody comments on your posts, respond back to them.
Give them a couple of words in a sentence. You know, like engage on the platforms as well. Comment on other people’s stuff, like be an active participant not only with your own community but also just on the platform as well through your business profiles so that you’re showing the algorithm that you’re actually an active member of society, the social society and that you’re also a good member of the social society because you get back to your customers and you respond to people and you provide a good user experience. Remember what the algorithms are based around providing good user experience. So those are two things that you can do to stay in flux or in flow with the algorithms as they move. And change is just staying close to your numbers and understanding what your audience is actually looking from. For looking for from you and then as well understanding that you need to be an active participant on the platforms and engage to actually be seen as a good person to put forward in the community.
So the next time somebody tells you that all my post reaches down in the algorithm has changed, please refer them back to this episode of the podcast and if you want me to fight anybody on this, um, well I won’t apply to anybody but I’ll definitely have some strong words because it is an absolute pet peeve of mine. Okay. The algorithms are always always changing. You are never going to beat them, but you can absolutely work with them in your favor. Questions, comments, feedback, send me a PM, send me a Dan. As always, you are very welcome to reach out to email@example.com and if you do want to get more up to date advice, if you want to be kept right at the forefront, if there are any big changes, feel free to check out our ongoing mentorship program, which is called the nerd herd. All of the details you’ll find at flow social. I will talk to you next time.