It's Time To Get Over Your Fear Of The Algorithm

It's Time To Get Over Your Fear Of The Algorithm

Scroll through any Social Media Marketing Facebook group, or attend any get together about Social and you will hear stories about "The Algorithm." It doesn't even matter what platform you are on, or talking about.

The Algorithm is usually the same character. Dark, mysterious, threatening and occasionally vindictive. The Algorithm is never portrayed like a granny that bakes you cookies. If anything, it's a dark force, emo, goth, full of angst and ready to turn on us all. 

This sort of talk reflects a greater distrust of artificial intelligence and information networks. There's so much that we don't understand about how it all works. That can leave us feeling pretty vulnerable, which naturally leads to building a mythology around the topic.

The Algorithm is a modern bogeyman. People run with that and end up spending all their energy trying to outwit, trick and defy it. This usually doesn't end well for them. 


Any social media Algorithm's main job is to keep people happily engaged on their platform, for as long as possible. For whatever purpose, the goal is a happily, willingly captive audience. It's up to the Algorithm to nurse that along. 

In this regard the Algorithm is a lot like a super involved party host. It's saying "Hey, you! I know how much you like fly fishing! Have you met Bob over by the snacks?" and "You look real thirsty, can I get you a drink?"

Being a party host is a whole lot easier when you really know your guests. When people show up to your party and clearly state who they are, and what they are about, it's a lot easier to introduce them to other people who you think they would get along with. 

Problems arise, however, when people start to misrepresent who they really are, and what they want. They may try to trick the host into introducing them to people who have nothing in common with them, and before you know it... there's a brawl.  Now the Algorithm has to switch to RoboCop mode, making sure that everyone is who they say they are, and booting the bad guys.

Is this a gross oversimplification? Yes. Yet the core truth remains the same. Social media Algorithms cannot succeed unless they can make real connections - between people and content and people and other people, who are likely to get along. 

When you use hashtags appropriately, you make the Algorithm's job a thousand times easier. You're signaling what you are about, so the Algorithm knows exactly who to introduce you to. And when those people demonstrate that they are happy to meet you (by following, saving, engaging with your content etc) the Algorithm is going to want to give you a high five. Primary goal achieved. 

Forget about complicated schemes to woo and/or trick the Algorithm. The simplest way to get the Algorithm to adore you is to be your authentic self. You do you and tag accordingly. Every time you post. The Algorithm loves you when you are:

  • Consistent - with your content type and niche hashtags
  • Accurate - using hashtags that describe who/what/where your posts are about.
  • Authentic - posting content and using hashtags that are similar to topics that you engage with
  • Specific - using hashtags with pinpoint accuracy 
  • Trustworthy - matching content and hashtags use plus engagement in a consistent way so that the algorithm (and your followers) know what to expect from you, feel they know who you really are. 

So is the Algorithm really such a dark and scary force? Perhaps, when it's been pushed into RoboCop mode. But for the most part the Algorithm wants the best for you. It wants you to succeed. 

Hashtaglists can make your job easier by identifying the ideal hashtags you should use to tag with confidence. No more hours and hours of searching for the best tags right now. Whatever your topic or niche, odds are there are several lists for you. 

So you can get back to mingling and enjoying the party. Don't forget to stop by and chat with Bob, who also loves fly fishing.