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Cracking Social Media Algorithms

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Finding success on social media is often a hard task to master. One post on Monday may blow up and get tons of engagement and a similar post on Tuesday might tank. 


In some ways that’s always going to be the case, said Darren D’Altorio head of social media for digital marketing firm Wpromote, but if businesses have an understanding of what social media algorithms are prioritizing, they can better raise the potential for all their posts. 


In a recent interview with FenderBender, the sister publication to Ratchet+Wrench, D’Altorio shared some of his tips for optimizing social media posts to fit the algorithm along with several other tips to take your social media presence to the next level. 


Understand it is different depending on the type of post.


Social media posts are broken down into two categories: stories and new speed, he said.  Nearly every social media platform now has a story element, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even Linkedin. 


These are normally short videos or enticing photos. D’Altorio said that in order to maximize engagement and consistently get engagement, companies need to be building video-based content. The algorithm is looking for views above all else. Not shares or saves. Video is the best way to get those views and the content should be information-rich. It should give the user a reason to go back and re-watch. 


The importance of these views lies in where that story sits on a user's timeline. If it’s an account they viewed a lot, or an account that has stories that are viewed by many people, those are put first in the user’s feed, D’Altorio said. In order to consistently be at the beginning of someone’s feed, the company needs to be consistently producing story content. 


This is different from new speed content, which consists of those normal and more traditional social media pieces of content like Facebook posts, tweets, or typical instagram posts, D’Altorio said. 


For this type of content, the aspects that affect the algorithm are comments and saves/bookmarks. Notably, likes are not among those top two factors and are a distant third, he said. 


“Likes have been greatly depreciated,” he said. 


Another aspect that has depreciated: timing. 


“It doesn’t matter what time of day you post anymore,” he said. “That’s dated thinking.”


Social media feeds have gone away from the chronological order timeline. Posts are now ordered because of factors like comments and shares. There is no longer a need to post within a specific time window or day. Focus on those factors, not time of day, D’Altorio said. 


Thus the thinking about content creation should reflect that. Social media managers should be prioritizing content that is easily shared and saved. 


“For the automotive space, maybe it’s something like a roadside emergency kit checklist,” D’Altorio said. “Something that is a super valuable resource that is a call to action. ‘Save this! Bookmark this! Send this to 16-year-old who is driving.’”


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