No one can have missed the huge furore caused by this year’s A-level results. Thousands of young adults potentially had their lives ruined by a scientific formula which governed what grades they were going to get – in other words an algorithm, or as the Prime Minister called it a ‘mutant algorithm’.
Yet a variety of algorithms now pretty much govern our daily lives – particularly the time we spend online. Here’s just a short list of sites which are algorithmic:
- BBC News app
In essence, what we watch, who we date, who we interact with, what we listen to and where we get our news is all governed by these algorithms, who’s formulae are closely guarded by their creators.
They are the building blocks of artificial intelligence and enable complex systems to be able to function.
On social media sites, they were used initially to filter out content so that the person using the site would be able to see only content deemed relevant to them. And that’s pretty much what they still do today. However, this ‘tailoring’ of content has become more and more sophisticated, and in many ways more restrictive.
Coupled with the fact that all social media sites sell advertising, the algorithms are also used to target new audiences, based around a mass of criteria that the advertiser has selected.
So what does this all mean for business owners? Well, if you wish to reach the maximum amount of stakeholder audiences for the least amount of investment, you will need to both understand and work with the algorithms to ensure this maximised online reach.
There are three key variables which you need to factor in to do this - Quality, Regularity and ‘Stickyness’.
You need to think carefully about creating content which is interesting, engaging and relevant to your various stakeholder audiences. This means it could be written, graphical, visual or even gamified – as long as it’s good quality.
Social media is about being ‘social’. Posting infrequently never works – just as not contacting friends is never a good way to have a positive social life. There needs to be sufficient content in your reservoir to be able to keep posting regularly – just as real-life publishers have to do.
The final element is how ‘sticky’ your content is. Do your stakeholder audiences want to engage with it, i.e. Like, Share, Comment, Repost, Retweet. The best example of sticky content is when a post goes viral – people want to share it because it’s so good/interesting/funny/poignant.
None of this is easy and requires a proper content and channel management strategy. Without these though, you will be fighting a losing battle to stay visible in an online world packed with more and more content created by other individuals or companies.
To find out more about navigating today’s predominantly digital world, check out this FREE DNAsix digital healthcheck - https://en.dnasix.com/courses/dnasix-healthcheck