The secret to banishing algorithm anxiety

I often hear business owners and other marketers talking about the impact that social media algorithms have had on their reach and their engagement.

Here, I’m going to talk a little bit about how the algorithms on the major social media platforms influence what we see, share and interact with on a daily basis – and I’m going to introduce you to the BEST way to stop algorithm anxiety from sucking the fun out of your social media strategy!

What is an algorithm, anyway?

In social media terms, an algorithm is a set of instructions that a social platform – such as Instagram or Facebook – uses to determine which content should be shown to certain users. This applies to both organic posts (the kind of stuff people like you and I share everyday), and targeted ads from businesses and influencers.

How do algorithms work?

Algorithms collect data from how we interact with a platform, then use it to display feed content that we are likely to enjoy or find useful.

They work out who and what we like, and give us more of the same, all in a bid to keep us happy with what we’re consuming (and scrolling through our news feeds for longer).

Why algorithms are a big deal for social media users

Algorithms sound great in theory, don’t they? Imagine – thousands of crawler bots, working non-stop to place the right content in front of the right people. The web certainly wouldn’t be the same without them. 

But the problem is, as marketers, we have no control over each network’s algorithm policy.

We’re totally beholden to the algorithmic rules of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube – all those platforms that we use every day to get our messages to the masses.   

As algorithms evolve, the goalposts change – which means that a strategy that worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. 

And – to really keep you on your toes – most of the major networks won’t always tell you how or why they have changed the rules, or even what those rules are.

Much of the time, if your post engagement bombs, you’ll need to test new approaches until you find one that brings you back the level of visibility you had before.

As you can imagine (and as you may know from experience!), all these factors combined are enough to bring on serious algorithm anxiety. It makes you believe that, if you’re going to succeed at all on your socials, you need to have an intricate knowledge of each algorithm’s own rules and regulations, and learn how to manipulate them for the best reach. Which is true, I guess. But there’s a way to get rid of this stress and worry once and for all.

What’s the secret to beating algorithm anxiety for good?

It sounds so simple – but the key to getting rid of algorithm anxiety is to forget about the algorithms completely.

Why?

Because although each platform has its own set of rules, for the most part, all of these algorithms are trained to favour posts that have meaningful engagement, and to weed out posts that are of low quality or that come from spam accounts.

And how do you engage with your audience?

You talk about the things that matter the most to your community.

You create posts that receive so much love and attention that the algorithms will find them impossible to ignore!

Yes, it’s always worth checking out the best times to post on your preferred platform. And a little bit of focused hashtag research never hurt anyone. I can help you with this techy stuff, if you want me to, because although it can have a positive impact on your results, it’s pretty time-consuming.

But success on social isn’t all about the AI. Show up regularly and speak from the heart, and you’ll continue to get the likes, shares and comments you need, without spending hours stressing about whether your post was too long, too short or too keyword heavy.

Need help or inspiration for brilliant social content? Download my social strategy workbook, which is packed full of guidance that will help you identify your goals, define your ideal customer and create incredible posts that generate top engagement.