Your Guide: Decoding Social Media Algorithms [VIDEO]

By Katie Wilder |  Oct 24, 2023 (5 min read)

Marketing | Social Media | Strategy

Social media has become an indispensable tool for businesses to connect with their target audiences and promote their products and services. However, as these platforms continue to evolve, so do their algorithms, which determine what content users see on their feeds. In this article, we will delve into how social media algorithms prioritize content, how they have evolved over time, and how marketers can adapt their content marketing strategies to stay relevant and maximize reach.  We’re also sharing how the beauty brand, Glossier, has significantly increased its revenue through social media growth. 

Understanding Social Media Algorithms

At their core, social media algorithms use a mix of factors to determine which content is most relevant to each user. These factors typically include:

  • User engagement: Content that receives more likes, comments, shares, or clicks is deemed more valuable and is more likely to appear in users’ feeds.
  • Relevance: The algorithm takes into account the user’s interests, past behavior, and connections when deciding which content to display.
  • Recency: Newer content is more likely to be shown, as platforms aim to keep users informed about the latest news and trends.

The Evolution of Social Media Algorithms

Initially, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter displayed content in chronological order. However, as the volume of content grew, platforms shifted to algorithm-based feeds to ensure users saw content most relevant to their interests. Over the years, algorithms have evolved to prioritize meaningful interactions, with platforms like Facebook focusing on showing content from friends and family over branded content.

Adapting Your Content Marketing Strategy

To stay relevant and maximize reach in the ever-changing landscape of social media, marketers should consider the following strategies:

  • Prioritize engagement: Create high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your audience and encourages interaction. Respond to comments, ask questions, and create content that sparks conversation.
  • Leverage video content: Video content generally receives higher engagement rates than text or image-based content. Consider incorporating live videos, stories, or short-form videos into your content strategy to boost visibility.
  • Post consistently and at optimal times: Maintain a consistent posting schedule to keep your brand top of mind, and experiment with posting times to find when your audience is most active.
  • Use hashtags and keywords strategically: Incorporate relevant hashtags and keywords to increase the discoverability of your content. Research trending topics in your industry to stay on top of conversations and increase your chances of appearing in users’ feeds.
  • Collaborate with influencers: Partnering with influencers in your niche can help expand your reach and credibility, as their audiences are more likely to engage with content featuring a familiar face.
  • Monitor performance and adjust: Continuously monitor the performance of your content using platform analytics tools, and adjust your strategy based on data-driven insights.

Case Study: Glossier

As social media algorithms started to prioritize engagement and user interests, Glossier, a beauty and skincare brand, adapted their content strategy to stay relevant and visible to its target audience.  Launched in 2014 by Emily Weiss, Glossier has built a loyal customer base primarily through its social media presence, particularly on Instagram, and has since then significantly increased its revenue through social media growth. 

Here’s how Glossier leveraged social media to grow its revenue:

  • User-generated content: Glossier encouraged its customers to share their experiences with the products by posting photos, reviews, and tutorials on social media. This user-generated content acted as authentic testimonials and helped increase brand trust, ultimately leading to more sales.
  • Authentic and relatable branding: Glossier’s social media content focuses on showcasing real people with diverse backgrounds, emphasizing the brand’s inclusive approach to beauty. This relatability and authenticity resonated with its target audience, helping the brand build a strong community.
  • Influencer partnerships: Glossier has collaborated with beauty influencers and micro-influencers to showcase its products and reach a wider audience. These collaborations have helped the brand increase its credibility and brand awareness, contributing to its revenue growth.
  • Responsive customer service: Glossier uses social media platforms to engage with its audience, answer questions, and address customer concerns. This responsive approach has helped the brand establish a positive reputation and build customer loyalty, leading to repeat purchases and increased revenue.
  • Exclusive promotions and launches: The beauty brand often announces new product launches, sales, and promotions exclusively on social media, encouraging users to follow their accounts to stay up-to-date. This strategy has helped drive traffic to Glossier’s website and increase sales.

Glossier’s social media growth has played a crucial role in its success, with the company reportedly generating over $100 million in revenue in 2018. By prioritizing authentic connections with its audience and leveraging user-generated content, Glossier has effectively utilized social media platforms to increase brand awareness and drive revenue growth.

Today, Glossier is worth $1.8 billion.

Final Thoughts

Social media algorithms are continually changing, and it’s crucial for marketers to adapt their content strategies to stay relevant and reach their target audiences. By understanding how algorithms prioritize content, creating engaging and share-worthy content, and staying informed about the latest trends, businesses can increase their visibility and engagement on social media platforms, achieving sustainable growth.

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