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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Pitcher

What is Golden Hour? And other tips for navigating social algorithms...

I love puzzles. I haven’t met a cryptoquip I couldn’t solve. I‘d list “problem solving” as one of my best skills. And I love figuring out the “why” behind almost anything.

Enter social algorithms...

They are like little data puzzles for most marketers, including me. I get excited when I learn the perfect method for “beating” the algorithm. And sail on with successful posts for awhile. And then... they change it. [insert brain exploding emoji.]

For anyone in sales who does their own social media marketing, you might not spend as much time picking apart these data points. And yes, it’s probably more important to be out there getting those sales!

So instead, take 5 minutes and read these easy to implement tips for posting for success!

First, why algorithms?

Remember when your Timelines used to show all of your friends posts in reverse chronological order? Well, I’m sure you’ve noticed that’s not a thing anymore. Social networks prioritize which content a user sees in their feed first by the likelihood that they’ll actually want to see it. How? Using algorithms to sort by relevancy instead of time.


Social media algorithms treat engagement (think: likes, comments and shares) as gold. The more you have, the richer you’ll be. So, the more engagement your content gets, the more likely it is to be rewarded by the algorithm and shown to more users that engage with similar content.

According to Buffer, “the overall trend we’ve been seeing as we researched this episode is that social networks are prioritizing real connection between their users. There’s a clear shift away from promotion and building purely a following on social media, to now creating community.“

Tips & Tidbits...

1. Ask questions to induce engagement among your audience. For RE agents, think quarantine spin on new homes:

(throw in “or build your own Quarantine house - what would we find in yours!?”)

2. Use the right hashtags the right way. Hashtags help categorize your posts for users that follow or search for certain topics. 1-2 hashtags are optimal for any network, 3 max. Think 1 broad, 1 narrower, 1 specific. E.G.: #ThrowbackThursday #Homebuying #ReadySetClose

3. Tag relevant businesses or individuals. This is basically an invitation to engage. But, don’t overdo or overuse because many platforms will see this as “engagement baiting”. So, again, try this with a question:

“What new virtual tools have you implemented to market your listings and help clients through the buying process? My new go to is @boxbrownie for inexpensive virtual staging or retouching photos! Hey @TeamCarolina I know you have a few!”

Here you're tagging a business (and promoting it) and by throwing the question to a coworker/friend you are giving them the opportunity to add to the conversation with an real world example and then hopefully, they will share the post on their own channels.

4. Your goal is engagement, not sales (for algorithm purposes). Social platforms may see “Buy Now” or “Reduced Price” as salesy and are less likely to show it.

5. Use clickbait-y headlines very carefully. You know what I'm talking about. Surprisingly, if you do it right, clickbait can work in your favor. Why? A recent study found that clickbait-y headlines get the most engagement, phrases like “5 Reasons…” and “This is What…” were responsible for driving the most clicks.

But, if you exaggerate or mislead users, you'll get dinged by the algorithms most of the time.

5. Vary your content - users get bored with the same type of content and algorithms know that. If you’re just posting images, throw in a video, virtual tour, carousel, poll, etc.

Now let‘s get specific...

First up is the biggest social network on the block, Facebook. Facebook prioritizes meaningful interactions This means that they look for content that creates interactions between friends and family.

1. Try sharing a link to your post to a friend over messenger- Facebook likes that :)

However, asking friends to like or share within your post gets a negative mark

2. Facebook prefers native content - posts that keep users on Facebook, not links that take them quickly away.

3. While marketers typically advise to keep videos short based on our limited attention span, videos longer than 3 minutes will get great rankings if users watch past 1 minute.

4. Let people know that when they follow or like your Page, they can also check the “See First” preference to let the algorithm know that your posts are important to them.

5. Also interesting - notice the “close friends” section on your page that cropped up last year? That’s not just to show off your besties! But to let Facebook know who you want to see content from!

6. Post when your audience is online!

  • B2B brand posts perform best between 9am and 2pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

  • B2C brand posts perform best at noon on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Onto LinkedIn which has grown in popularity with both b2b and b2c users since COVID19. It has many similar themes to Facebook but there are a few biggies we strongly suggest taking into consideration!

1. A post from a company page generally gets less engagement. So, it’s ideal to post in both formats. Post first as your company (if applicable) and then share to your personal page, and then give your employees or coworkers the link to the company post to share on their own pages. Note: personal page posts stay on for 30 days, company posts live forever. Which is another reason to post on both page types.

2. And now my favorite of all the tips: back to golden hour... LinkedIn looks at the engagement with your post during the first 60 minutes after you post to determine if it’ll be shown to a broader audience. After that hour, it pretty much caps impressions to 100-150 if you didn’t get enough engagement.

Tip: make your colleagues or team members ambassadors for you/your brand. Create a group on Teams or a channel on Slack (or old fashion email works) with certain members you’ll rely on to share within that first hour. And they’ll benefit too by asking for return shares.

**We were averaging about 60 impressions and doubled that by implementing this ☝️

3. Also a biggie- do not post links directly in your post. LinkedIn wants users to stay on LinkedIn. Instead, say “link in comments” or, edit post after 5 minutes and add the link. It won’t affect the algorithm.

Lastly... Instagram. Again, some similarities to Facebook, but a few big differences.

1. The content category (memes, videos, images, carousel, etc) that a user tends to interact with gets shown higher on their feed.

2. People are also more likely to find your content if you post consistently and what’s neat is that the longer someone spends looking at your content, the more the algorithm likes it. In fact, the more people engage with your content, the more each of your following posts will be more credible in the eyes of the algorithm.

2. Try to make sure the types of posts you’re engaging with fall into the same content category as your own posts then that will only help drive people who already engage with that kind of content your way.

With any platform, consistency is key! Keep your posts relevant, conversational, and interactive! Feel free to comment if you have your own tips for navigating the world of social algorithms!

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