5 Easy Ways To Hack The Biggest Social Network Algorithms

Supports our blog post about social media hacks

Nowadays it’s all about algorithms. By some considered to be annoying bugs, it’s actually a feature marketers can benefit from. We’re here to boost your algorithm marketing, so let’s have an open mindset about it. After all, they exist to make the lives of marketers much easier.

Targeting goes beyond demographics, such as age, gender and location. The algorithm allows you to target users who are most likely to convert.

Let’s embrace them but most importantly, let’s make the most out of them! We’ll explain how.

Why do they exist?

To explain why these algorithms are there to help us, we’ll give you a bit of context. Join us in our brief calculation with Facebook as an example.

How many people have an active user profile on Facebook?

At this moment, around 3 billion. That’s 3,000,000,000.

How many posts does the average user publish per day?

Well, every minute of every day, 35 million people update their Facebook status. In a day this number is 50,400,000,000.

If algorithms did not exist, random posts would be linked to random people. It could be funny to see how Donald Trump would read about aunt Maggie’s update about the birthday of her grandson. However, would you still be using Facebook if this was true?

We’re guessing you wouldn’t.

Some marketers might hate them because they’re the gatekeeper to your content, but they are actually necessary to maintain users. Companies can also exploit the advantage of knowing how an algorithm works. Take this into consideration for your next contribution.

Pro tip: Algorithms continuously change, so stay on top of the latest.

There’s no single or ultimate way to bypass algorithms, but some things allow you to get a head start in the race for the top feed. We found 5 hacks to play with the biggest social networks, which increase both reach and engagement. Our last one may arguably be the most important hack. The social media networks included are Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and LinkedIn. First, we’d like to give you an example of the process an algorithm goes through.

Pro tip: Hacks alone are not enough. You need to have a content strategy, post consistently and provide qualitative, attractive, relevant content.

5 ways to play with the biggest social network algorithms

Top triggers

There’s good and bad content, great content and then there’s great, inviting content, which might trigger even the least engaging user.

GIF Games | “Tap-to-Stop the GIF” calls the user to tap on the screen, and depending on the result, they might find it funny or interesting enough to like, comment, share, etc. Gamification is proven to work super well in the marketing field.

Interactive giveaways | “Traditional” giveaways, where you ask them to like and/or comment, follow, etc. are already very inviting, but this idea might bring you to the next level. Interactive giveaways have a storyline that changes with the engagement of others. For example, every like on a post adds a cup of water to a swimming pool, and the final cup to flood the pool will win your product. Simple enough, yet so different.

Live videos | Going live is a great way to engage in a two-way interaction with the users of the social network. It is an authentic way to attract them with your content.

It’s live, so you’ll have to join now or you’ll miss out (FOMO).

Challenge them | People love to be better at something than the rest. Again, gamification… Put a challenge or contest out there, after which they have to try to resist telling someone about their great performance. Examples are:

“Where is Wally?” – applied to your own brand.

“Caption this” – people would love to be the funniest of them all.

Relating to the user | Publish something highly relatable or relevant to your target group (always do this) and explicitly ask about their relationship with the topic. Let us give you some more examples:

“Do you remember…” – make it specific and relevant ONLY to your target group.

Asking to vote on a topic through different kinds of likes

“Like if you agree” – for a rather interesting argument.

Add a URL to your LinkedIn image | What? Yes, this is a brand new LinkedIn option to add a CTA to the image you’re posting. Perfect to use for sharing a blog post or case!

Pro Tip: Videos score much higher on engagement & conversion than images.

Download our cheat sheet to kill your next interview!

We've used a URL on our LinkedIn image to promote this blogpost 😉

Fake it ‘til you make it

Did you know that LinkedIn contains an “opt-in employees” notification setting? It allows you to notify your employees of a new contribution on the organization’s LinkedIn page. You simply publish a new post on LinkedIn and select the button “Notify employees” in the right corner.

We’ll do you one better! Are you familiar with “Lempod”? It’s a freemium-modeled extension to boost a specific post. You simply create or join a pod with colleagues, business partners, clients, or whoever might be interested. Every time someone chooses to boost a post, the members of this pod automatically like & comment on this post. Generate great comments yourself and Lempod takes care of it. Easy as you like!

Even though other social networks may not have this option, we’d still recommend notifying them. Depending on the size of your workforce, this can be a powerful tool to leverage.

Why? The first hour is crucial on every platform. The engagement in this hour determines if your post’s perceived value is sufficient to appear in the broader network.

So we suggest you “nudge” your post in the right direction. Depending on the size of the company, you already have a (huge) audience ready to interact. Their likes, comments and shares create the groundwork for further engagement & allow your post to flow through an (incredible) amount of networks.

Early engagement boosts your chances of making it to the top of the feed. Unfortunately, the contrary is true for a low to non-existing level of engagement.

Pro tip: Try to tag personal contacts in the updates or comments, rather than famous profiles. The chances of them engaging are very slim.

Hashtags

Hashtags allow you to generate almost double the engagement, depending on your platform of choice. It’s not a part of the sentence as much as it’s actually a recap of the topic. It allows users to find relevant content better and faster. That offers opportunities for companies to gain awareness for a post and increase its engagement rate.

However… Do. It. Right.

There is a general misuse of hashtags on social networks. We hate to go all cliché (we do) but Quantity does not equal Quality. Too many hashtags are considered annoying, resulting in lower engagement.

Every platform names an ideal range of hashtags, so let’s examine the biggest social networks. It all began on Twitter but quickly expanded to every other social network.

Twitter | This is perhaps the platform where hashtags contribute the most to content engagement. We are talking about double the engagement in comparison to tweets without. It is a great way to increase your following base with only a single hashtag. Keep two hashtags as a limit, but try to find just one that perfectly categorizes your argument.

Pro tip: When posting a hashtag, it automatically creates a clickable link to find the most recent tweets on the topic.

Instagram | The opinions on the number of hashtags for Instagram are strongly divided. While some suggest barriers until 7, 9 or even 10 hashtags, the ideal range of hashtags, according to Instagram itself, is 3-5 hashtags. We’d say 5 would be ideal, but focus on relevancy, rather than making sure to reach this number. Watch out, because their platform has a shadow ban system for banned hashtags. Using them may be penalized by the social network.

Pro tip: Search for a hashtag. If Instagram says it is hidden because it does not agree with the community guidelines, the hashtag is banned.

Pro tip: Always use different hashtags for different posts to avoid spam.

Facebook | We’ll make it simple: just don’t! Facebook was a late follower to implement hashtags, and it never succeeded. Posts without hashtags remain better to this day than posts with hashtags, in terms of engagement.

Tiktok | Let’s make it simple again: hashtags are crucial on this platform. Your goal as a company (or as every single TikTokker) is to appear on the “For you”-page.

How? With amazing content, but hashtags are a supporting success factor. 4 to 6 relevant hashtags are ideal to add to your content.

Pro tip: Find over 200 trending TikTok hashtags on this link.

Pro tip: Start with trending hashtags, and try to start your own once you’ve gained a solid follower base.

LinkedIn | The power of hashtags on LinkedIn is similar to the other platforms, found in the hashtag search, except for LinkedIn articles. They cannot raise awareness. They solely clarify and categorize the message.

Hashtags on LinkedIn are not only used in posts but also in profiles and business pages to raise awareness on a work-related level. LinkedIn advises to maximally use 3 hashtags.

Pro tip: Popular hashtags are great to raise awareness. Newly created hashtags provide a clear overview of your contributions to a topic.

Pro tip: Download the free “LinkedIn hashtag Analytics Chrome extension and easily check the number of followers of specific hashtags.

Key timings

The “When” is key in the algorithms of social media and we are not just talking about day or night. Recency is a factor in every social network algorithm out there, so it is crucial to post when your followers are online. It is the easiest thing to control your engagement.

Now, what days & times work best to maximize reach & engagement? We’ve discovered it for you:

Twitter | You do not want to wink when using Twitter or you’ve missed it. Twitter’s algorithm works incredibly fast, allowing you to spread the latest news widely in no-time (literally seconds). Post very quickly, engage even faster and respond as if you have a train to catch. You’ll be far more likely to be on many users’ top feeds. When there is no rush, you’ll find that early mornings on weekdays are optimal to post, around 8 a.m. The weekend’s definitely possible as well, but just let them sleep in a bit first.

Instagram | In contrary to many young adults who believe posting times are ideal around 7-8 p.m., it appears that lunchtime, around 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., is your best option. The absolute best times are mid-day in mid-week.

Facebook | Thursdays and Fridays have an increased engagement rate of almost 20%. Sunday is the one day you’ll want to avoid. In general, It is best to be the first to post, as the first thing many people do in the morning is look at their phones, or around noon, between lunchtime. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. are the hours you’ll want to get your post out there.

TikTok | Uhh, do you have a minute? Because TikTok is all over places in optimal timing. The best time is not really a thing for this platform.

Pro tip: TikTok attributes great importance to frequency. The social network recommends posting 1-4 times a day to have the best content distribution.

LinkedIn | 9 a.m. in the morning, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, increases your chance of higher engagement. Nevertheless, this platform associates relevancy more with quality and trends than recency, so it’s less of a factor here.

Pro tip: Try out what works best for your brand. The above findings must be considered common, not universal.

Pro tip: Learn from your past top posts. When were they posted?

Pro tip: What time zone are you in? It might seem obvious to take it into account, but it’s often forgotten.

Stay Up to Date…

On Trends | All social media platforms attribute great importance to trending posts as those have high relevancy, recency and engagement. Don’t waste time on great content no one is searching for. Be confident in what you are writing about to start getting those views.

Pro Tip: Find trends on “Explore” (Twitter, Instagram), “Hot Topics” (Facebook), “Content Hub” (LinkedIn) or “Discover” (TikTok).

Pro Tip: You want trends on ANYTHING that often work ANYWHERE? Reddit is the front page of the internet and is perfect to find & discuss today’s trends.

On all new features | What’s the latest change in the algorithms? Which update is going to bite you in the ass & what’s going to make up for it? Which guidelines make a difference in your marketing strategy? Stay on top of them, or you’ll lose ground to your competitors.

Pro Tip: Follow the pages, (Twitter) accounts, or newsletters from these social networks to receive instant updates on the algorithms, right from the source.

Pro Tip: Set up Google alerts to invite updates into your inbox

While much of social media algorithms remain a mystery, there are still a lot of ways we can play with the algorithm to improve our marketing efforts. Many of these hacks revolve around our knowledge of social media and how people interact with it. This means that you don’t need big budgets to deploy them. It’s basically free, all you need is time! In conclusion, adapting to the social algorithms’ way of play is an efficient way of elevating your social media marketing!

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