Learn How Social Media Platforms are Evaluating Your Content
In today’s digitized world, social media is a crucial tool for public agencies to foster community engagement and disseminate key information. Understanding the mechanisms that underpin these platforms is necessary for any communications strategy, allowing organizations to effectively leverage social media for their objectives.
The internet contains an overwhelming amount of content for consumers. For example, Facebook users alone post more than 300 million photos every day. With so much content available, social media platforms rely on highly sophisticated computerized processes to identify the type of content to showcase for users; this is what you may know as “algorithms.” Each platform creates its own algorithm to produce customized outputs for each user. For example, Google’s algorithm helps users find content from across the internet based on their keywords and search history, as well as other common searches from other users.
Social media platforms use their algorithms to provide users with content that will keep them on the platform. This serves to increase the platform’s value to advertisers. This is why the posts you actually see when you go on Facebook and other platforms tend to mirror your interests or recent searches.
As the longest-standing major social media platform, the Facebook algorithm has gone through significant changes over the years. Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes content from people, brands and Facebook Groups that a user already follows or is friends with.
An average post from a public agency will reach less than 3% of that agency’s followers. This is one reason to ask your Facebook followers to add your agency’s page as a “Favorite”, so they are more likely to see your posts. Another way to ensure your agency’s Facebook posts are reaching their intended audience is to leverage the power of geotargeted paid Facebook advertisements.
For all of the staff involved in social media communications for your agency, here are a few considerations to keep in mind when creating content to share on Facebook:
- Ensure the content is relevant and engaging
- Tell stories and connect with your audience on a personal level
- Promote engagement on posts to help expand your reach by asking questions or hosting contests and giveaways
Follow these additional tips and ideas to help increase engagement.
Instagram has introduced some significant changes to its algorithm since the beginning of 2022, with important impacts on the way local governments should communicate if they want to reach the widest audience. In previous algorithm versions, video content was favored over photo content. In a recent statement, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced that the platform is working to create a more equal balance between photo and video content.
The Instagram algorithm uses three main factors to determine the content users see:
- The level of connection between users
- Users’ personalized interests
- The relevance of available content
By proactively engaging your community, responding to direct messages and posting relevant content, you can improve your visibility.
When you log into X or open the app, X’s algorithm initially scans and selects about 1,500 posts from across the platform. Roughly 50% of those posts are collected from users you follow, while the other half of posts are from users you don’t follow. This may vary user-to-user according to the individual’s preferences and interactions on the platform. To maximize engagement and time spent on the platform, X ranks the selected posts and applies a set of filters that considers factors such as author diversity, blocked and muted accounts and content balance.
On average, US adults only spend six minutes per day on the platform, so your content needs to be succinct and engaging. To increase engagement, look at popular content and trends to help you get creative with your agency’s voice on X. Based on a 2023 study, 62.2% of X users are 34 years old or younger. With a primarily tech-savvy audience, not every post needs to include a call to action. Polls, short videos and photos are all great ways to build your community and encourage engagement.
X is the most fluid platform at this time, so the algorithm may change quicker than other platforms. Check out our recommendations on the platform.