Social media algorithms are the backbone of all social networks. They exist to sort the massive volume of content posted every day and show each user the content they are most likely to engage with.
In this post, we’ll answer the question of how social media algorithms work. It’s never a good idea to try to game an algorithm on social media, but understanding the most important ranking signals can give you a strategic advantage over your competitors.
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A social media algorithm is a set of rules and signals that automatically ranks content on a social platform based on how likely each individual social media user is to like it and interact with it.
Algorithms are the reason why no two users will see exactly the same social content, even if they follow all the same accounts.
There’s a reason why the main TikTok user feed is called the For You Page. It’s content specifically selected for you, based on the way you have interacted with the app in the past.
But, of course, there’s no human being sitting behind a desk shuffling content into the feed of each TikTok user. (What a job that would be!) Instead, those recommendations are made by algorithms.
The algorithm of every social media platform is different, but they are all based on machine learning and a set of factors called ranking signals. These are exactly what they sound like: signals used to rank the value of each individual piece of content for each individual user.
Ranking signals are individualized because they are often based on your previous interactions with the app.
To show algorithms in action, here are some examples of how they work in my own social media feeds.
Facebook shows me a constant stream of videos that fall into a category I call “sad animal becomes happy.” A woman adopts a bee with no wings. A horse stuck in the ice is rescued by some guys with a pick-up truck. A police officer saves baby ducks stuck in a sewer grate.
Source: The Dodo
I’ve never specifically liked or followed an account that serves these videos, but every time one appears as a suggested video in my news feed, I watch it all the way through. I often share them through Messenger with my sister. The behavior tells Facebook I want more of this content – and boy, does it deliver.
The Instagram algorithm, on the other hand, serves me an uninterrupted stream of vintage/boho home decor and houseplants.
In this case, I have followed some accounts based on suggested posts. That reinforcing signal tells the algorithm to serve even more of the same type of content into my feed, and I’m not mad about it.
Sometimes Instagram even tells you why it is suggesting a specific post to you, based on something you liked, followed, or watched.
So far, you’ve seen how the algorithms are affected by user behavior. In the next sections, we’ll talk about how xcontent creators can “communicate” with the algorithms that power social media (and help algorithms surface their content to more users).
Now that you know what social media algorithms are and how they work, let’s look at some of the specific ranking signals for each social platform.
We can never know all the details of a platform’s algorithm – that’s their secret sauce. But we do know enough to make some meaningful adjustments to your content strategy so the algorithms work for you, rather than against you.
Here are the most important known ranking signals for each social platform.
Known Instagram ranking signals:
- Relationships matter. You’re more likely to see content from people you follow, message with, or otherwise engage with. For brands, this means it’s critical to encourage and respond to follower engagement.
- Interests rule. This is why I get all that home decor and plant content.
- Relevance is key. Relevance is based on factors like timeliness and topic trends.
- Popularity pops. The level and speed of interaction with a post, and the level of engagement with an account in general, signal popularity – which can help content land on the Explore page.
For more key insights, check out our full blog post on how to work with the Instagram algorithm.
Known TikTok ranking signals:
- Previous interactions. This includes signals like accounts followed and hidden or content you’ve engaged with or marked not interesting.
- Behavior on the Discover tab. This factor analyzes content characteristics like captions, sounds, effects, and trending topics.
- Location and language. Content from your own country or in your own language may be preferenced.
- Trends. Using trending sounds and effects can help make your content more discoverable.
- TikToks should feel like TikToks. Use native features like effects, sounds, and text treatments.
- Follower count does NOT matter. TikTok’s real distinction is that follower count is NOT a ranking signal.
TikTok’s algorithm is especially important to understand because unlike most social platforms, TikTok is designed to surface new content rather than showing content from people you already follow.
For more details, check out our full blog post on everything you need to know about the TikTok algorithm.
Known Facebook ranking signals:
- Facebook connections. Your Feed will primarily be filled with content from people and Pages you follow and interact with.
- Content type. Users who watch videos get more videos. Users who interact with photos get more photos, and so on.
- Engagement level. Popular posts, with lots of engagement, are more likely to be boosted by the algorithm – especially if that engagement is from people you already interact with.
- Content quality. Facebook describes this general category of ranking signals with terms like “meaningful,” “informative,” “accurate,” and “authentic.”
Find more details in our post on how the Facebook algorithm works.
Known YouTube ranking signals:
- Video performance. Popular videos get more algorithm love. This is measured through metrics like view duration, likes, dislikes, and click-through rate.
- Watch history. YouTube recommends content similar to what viewers have watched before.
- Context. Topically related videos or videos that are often watched together are likely to show up in the “suggested videos.”
Like TikTok, YouTube is less about who you follow and more about what the algorithm serves up for you to watch. As of 2018, 70% of YouTube watch time was based on algorithm recommendations, and as of 2022, homepage and suggested videos are most channels’ top sources of traffic.
Learn more in our post on how to increase views with the YouTube algorithm.
Known LinkedIn ranking signals:
- Post quality. LinkedIn’s algorithm does an initial sort to flag content as spam, low-quality, or high-quality. You can guess which you should aim for.
- Early engagement. LinkedIn’s algorithm uses early engagement as a secondary quality test before pushing the content out further.
- LinkedIn connections. Closer connections see more of your content, while the pages, groups, and hashtags people follow are used to determine their likely interest in a topic.
We get into much greater detail in our post breaking down the intricacies of the LinkedIn algorithm.
Known Twitter ranking signals:
- User interactions. As Twitter defines it, “accounts you interact with frequently, Tweets you engage with, and much more.”
- Recency. This specifically affects what shows up in trending topics or What’s Happening.
- Location. This will also affect what you see in Trends.
- Current popularity. How much engagement and activity is happening related to this Topic/Trend/Tweet right now, especially from people in your network.
Get the full scoop in our post on the Twitter algorithm.
Known Pinterest ranking signals:
- Website quality and ownership. Pinterest judges the quality of a website based on the popularity of Pins that link to it, and prioritizes content from the website owner.
- Engagement levels. Evaluated for both individual Pins and for the Pinner’s account.
Since Pinterest works a little differently from the other social platforms, we’ve got a post on Pinterest SEO instead of one focused specifically on the algorithm. It shares lots of juicy details you can use to make your Pins more discoverable.
In case that brings up even more questions, we’ve also got a blog post all about social SEO and how it’s different from social media algorithms.
You now know why social media algorithms exist and how they differ across platforms. Here are some overarching tips for scoring points with social media algorithms in general.
Content relevance and quality are ranking signals for all the social algorithms. That’s because the entire point of algorithms on social media is to show people content they’re likely to be interested in. Spoiler alert: People are not generally interested in content that can be deemed irrelevant or low quality.
What “quality” means can differ depending on the platform. While you might want to use a high-end camera for your Instagram feed content, you’ll almost certainly shoot your TikToks on a mobile device. Quality is really about matching the content you create to the expectations for the platform. Take advantage of features like stickers and sounds to make the most of each social tool.
Relevance can also vary by platform, but it’s always about understanding your target audience and creating content that appeals specifically to them.
Clickbait was a real problem in the early days of social media. As a result, all the platforms have trained their algorithms to essentially downvote content that appears misleading or spammy.
Make sure your headline, caption, and hashtags are accurate and clear.
Trending topics keep people scrolling and engaged, so the social platforms want to serve up more of that content.
You don’t want to leap on every trend that comes along. But if something emerges with real potential to align with your brand messaging, it’s worth putting some of your best social minds on it. Use tools like Google Trends to see what’s trending online in general, and a social listening program to understand what’s happening in your industry specifically.
Also watch for ways to incorporate trending sounds and effects for short-form video like TikToks and Instagram Reels.
Many of the algorithms include recency and early engagement as key ranking signals. That means you need to know when your audience is most likely to be online and actively engaging with each social platform.
For general recommendations, check out our post on the best times to post on every social network. But remember that while these times are a good place to start, they won’t necessarily be most effective for your followers.
To get custom recommendations for the optimal time to post for maximum engagement based on your own followers’ behavior, check out the best time to post recommendations built into Hootsuite.
As we just said, engagement – especially early engagement – is a key ranking signal for all the social media algorithms. One easy way to get more engagement is simply to ask for it.
We’re not suggesting you plead with followers to like or share your posts. Instead, create content that naturally encourages followers to engage, both with your content and with each other.
One tried-and-true way to encourage engagement is to run a social media contest. But, of course, you don’t want to run a contest in every post.
Another great way to boost engagement is to ask a question or start a debate.
When you create especially informative content, encourage followers to share with others who could benefit from the resources, or to save the post for their own future reference.
Working with the social media algorithms is part science, part art, and a tiny bit of magic. While we can give you tips to help send the right signals to the algorithms, there’s no universal formula for success.
That means you need to try new things, see what works, and refine your strategy over time. All good digital marketers know the manta “Always Be Testing.” It’s the only real way to learn what’s working right now, for your brand, in real time.
Social platforms are leaning hard into video. Posting more video content aligns your brand’s social strategy with the direction the platforms are headed.
In particular, Meta platforms provide lots of opportunities for uses to discover short-form video content (i.e., Reels) from brands and content creators they don’t follow. Reels are an important way to reach new users and send relevance signals to the algorithms.
Make your social media marketing strategy work with algorithms and save time managing all your accounts using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can schedule and publish content, engage your audience, and measure performance. Try it free today.
How to Create Effective Social Media Guidelines for Your Business
No matter what industry you’re in, every modern business needs to have social media guidelines.
Social media guidelines lay out the best social practices for your employees. In some cases, these rules are required by law or for legal protection. But ultimately, the goal of these guidelines is to empower employees with the information they need to make the right choices on social media, both for themselves, and for the company.
This is true even if your company doesn’t have a social media presence yet. Whether you have an official Twitter account or Instagram profile or not, you’d better believe your employees are out there on the internet, chatting up a storm.
This article will review:
- The difference between a social media policy and social media guidelines
- Real-life examples from other brands
- How to use our free social media guidelines template to create your own set of guidelines
Bonus: Get a free, customizable social media guidelines template to quickly and easily create recommendations for your company and employees.
Social media guidelines are suggestions for how employees of a company should represent themselves and the company on their personal social media accounts.
Think of social media guidelines as an employee manual for social media best practices.
They should outline how to behave on social media in a way that’s positive and healthy for the company, employees, and customers alike. Social guidelines may include etiquette tips, helpful tools, and links to important resources.
Importantly, we really don’t recommend prohibiting employees from using social, or restricting them from talking about your company at all. It’s not a good look to police or censor your team members’ social presence: talk about a morale killer, and say goodbye to any organic ambassador opportunities.
Social media guidelines, it should be noted, are different from your company’s social media policy. They’re also distinct from your social media style guide.
A social media policy is a comprehensive document that describes in detail how the company and its employees use social media. These policies are intended to protect a brand from legal risk, and maintain its reputation on social media. Where a social media policy lays out the rules and repercussions for breaking them, social media guidelines are more instructive.
A social media style guide, meanwhile, defines the brand voice, brand visuals, and other important marketing elements. It is often used by the content creators in an organization to ensure that their posts are “on brand”.
One more distinction: social media guidelines are also different from community guidelines, which set the rules for public engagement with your account or group.
Want to learn more? Take Hootsuite Academy’s free course Implementing Social Media Governance Within your Organization.
Every single employee (yes, including Maurice in accounting) is a potential online brand ambassador. Sharing social media guidelines is your chance to provide the whole team with tools to help them hype you up positively, inclusively, and respectfully.
Use social media guidelines to:
- Empower your employees to engage positively on their personal social accounts
- Educate on social media best practices
- Encourage employees to follow your official accounts or use official hashtags
- Distribute your company’s social media strategy
- Introduce employees to helpful third-party tools and resources, such as Hootsuite’s social media dashboard or Hootsuite Academy training
- Protect your employees from social harassment
- Safeguard your company from cybersecurity risks
- Clarify what information is OK to share, and what is a violation of confidentiality
- Boost your brand’s reputation on social media
While social media guidelines are usually crafted to share with employees, anyone else you’re working with can benefit from these best practices too — think corporate partners, marketing agencies, or influencers.
If you don’t create best practices around how your company is represented or discussed on social media, things can spiral out of control fast. And on the flipside, a lack of social media guidelines also can prevent you from benefiting from employee content. An enthusiastic team member, armed with social guidelines and feeling confident about what they’re allowed to say, can become a powerful ambassador for your brand.
Here’s a rundown of core sections you should include in your social media guidelines. But of course, while these details are common, go ahead and tailor any part of this to fit your brand: after all every industry is different.
In fact, every company is different… so before you lock in any hard and fast rules, you might want to check in with your team. Your employees might have specific questions or concerns that could be helpful to address in your master doc.
1. Official accounts
Identify your company’s official social media channels, and encourage employees to follow. This isn’t just a chance to gain a few more followers: it’s an excellent opportunity to demo to employees how your brand presents itself on social media.
You might also want to identify specific hashtags, too, if those are a core part of your social strategy.
In some cases, companies either allow or require certain employees to run brand-affiliated social accounts. If that’s something your business does, this is a good place in your social guidelines to explain how a team member can (or can’t) be authorized for their own branded account.
2. Disclosure and transparency
If your team members are proudly identifying on their social accounts that they work for your company, it’s a good idea to ask them to clarify that they’re creating social media posts on behalf of themselves, not your brand. Adding a disclosure to their social profile or bio that “All opinions expressed are my own” (or similar) helps make it clear that these are not official viewpoints.
That being said, if they’re going to discuss company-related matters on social, it’s actually required by law that they identify themselves as an employee. This one’s a rule, not a friendly suggestion. In fact, in the United States, the Federal Trade Commission requires the identification to occur in the relevant post. Just noting it in a bio is not enough.
An example of a Google employee’s Twitter bio
It never hurts to remind your team that confidential company information is confidential off the clock, too. Whether private info about coworkers, financial disclosures, upcoming products, private communications, research and development intel, or other sensitive information, clarify that privacy and confidentiality should be respected across all social media platforms.
4. Cyber safety
Cyber hacks and threats are no joke. Even if your employees are vigilant about phishing scams and the like, it never hurts to review cyber-safety basics, especially if you collect information about customers or clients.
Cyber safety first!
A quick refresh of cyber security 101:
- Choose strong passwords
- Use a different password for every social account
- Don’t use the same passwords for your corporate accounts
- Use two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication to login to social networks
- Limit the personal and professional information you share
- Use personal credentials for personal accounts
- Make sure your Internet connection is secure
- Do not download or click on suspicious content
- Only activate geolocation services on apps when necessary
- Practice safe browsing
Guidelines commonly remind staff to be kind on social media. But beyond promoting positivity, businesses should also make clear that they do not tolerate any form of social media harassment.
On the flip side of that is an opportunity to provide your employees with support should they experience harassment. Define your policy for dealing with trolls or bullies, whether it’s to report them, ignore them, or block or ban them.
Tell people how to report issues they may have seen or experienced. If support is needed, tell employees how and where they can get it.
Providing protocol and tools is going to help your team nip problems in the bud before it grows into a full-blown social media crisis.
It’s important for every employer and brand to promote inclusivity on and off social media. Encouraging your employees to do the same is a way to show that you care about them, too.
Inclusivity guidelines may include:
- Use inclusive pronouns (they/them/theirs/folks)
- Provide descriptive captions for images
- Be thoughtful about representation
- Don’t make assumptions about gender, race, experience, or ability
- Avoid gender or race-specific emojis
- Feel free to share your preferred pronouns
- Use title case for hashtags (this makes them more legible for screen readers_
- Use diverse imagery and icons. This includes stock imagery, emojis, and branded visuals.
- Report and remove any comments deemed sexist, racist, ableist, ageist, homophobic, or hateful to any group or person
- Make text accessible, using plain language and accessible to people learning English as a second language or those with learning disabilities
7. Legal Considerations
Your social guidelines can include a reminder to employees to respect intellectual property, copyright, trademarks, and other relevant laws. When in doubt, the rule of thumb is relatively simple: if it’s not yours, and you don’t have permission, don’t post it. Easy!
8. Do’s and don’ts
Of course, while you may want to get into detail with the previous sections, making a quick-to-reference list of do’s and don’ts is a chance to spell things out super clearly.
- DO list the company as your employer in your social media bio (if you wish to)
- DON’T engage with competitors in an inappropriate way
- DO share company social media posts, events, and stories
- DON’T share company secrets or confidential information of your colleagues
- DO express your own opinion — just make sure it’s clear you’re not speaking on behalf of the company
- DON’T comment on legal matters pertaining to the company
- DO report harassment you’ve experienced or noticed
- DON’T engage with trolls, negative coverage or comments
9. Helpful resources
You may wish to include links to helpful resources throughout your guideline document, or you might want to list in a separate section. Wherever you put them, it’s a good idea to link to your social media policy, social media style guide, and community guidelines, so everyone has this info at their fingertips.
Other links you might want to include could be:
- company documents
- corporate code of conduct
- employee agreements
- privacy policies
- Marketing, advertising and sales regulations from the Government of Canada and the FTC
If your company offers social media resources, what better place than your social media guidelines to make everyone aware of them? Whether its tools or training from Hootsuite, or stipends for social media classes, empower the people that work for you to put their best foot (feet?) forward on social.
For instance, may we recommend Hootsuite Amplify? It’s a great way to find vetted content to share and enhance your personal brand.
10. Contact Information and Date
Be sure to also add information where questions can be sent. That may be a specific person, a forum or Slack channel, or an email address.
You should also indicate when your guidelines were most recently updated.
Looking for real world examples of social media guidelines? We’ve assembled a few sources of inspiration.
The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District outlines tips for best practices clearly and concisely. “Freedom of speech must be exercised responsibly,” the page reminds readers. “These recommendations provide a roadmap for constructive, respectful, and productive use of social networking sites.”
Intel makes every effort to assure employees that they’re not here to censor or police their online behavior. “We trust you,” the guidelines say, both explicitly and implicitly. Right off the top, Intel is clear about its wishes: Be Upfront, Focus on the Good, and Use Your Best Judgement.
Stanford University (yep, the same institution Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of) has social media guidelines that are quite dense, but provide lots of resources and context for users. If your social media guidelines are this thorough, it may be a good idea to review the key takeaways with your team in a workshop or seminar to make sure the details aren’t skimmed over.
Bloomberg School of Nursing at the University of Toronto has a very concise, bullet-point list of guidelines that are easy to digest at a glance. It’s a good reminder that how you design your guidelines can help with comprehension, whether it’s a web page, a PDF or a brochure.
Remember that your guidelines can be as long or as a brief as you wish. Sharp News, for example, only has four guidelines for social media use.
The Olympic Committee kept its social media guidelines to one page for the Beijing Olympics — albeit a pretty dense one. Leaning on the “do’s” and “don’ts” makes it clear at a glance what is acceptable and what is frowned upon.
Because Nordstrom is a company that deals with customer service and privacy is important, its social media guidelines are heavily focused on protecting customers. Your own industry will have its own special sensitivities, so adjust your guidelines to fit your specific problem areas (or opportunities!).
We’ve distilled all these hot tips into one free downloadable template. It’s just a simple Google doc and quite easy to use.
Simply make a copy and start plugging in your recommendations to guide your team to social media greatness.
Save time managing your social media presence with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can publish and schedule posts, find relevant conversions, engage the audience, measure results, and more. Try it free today.
Hootsuite Amplify makes it easy for your employees to safely share your content with their followers—boosting your reach on social media. Book a personalized, no-pressure demo to see it in action.
TikTok SEO in 5 Steps: How To Make Sure Your Videos Show Up in Search
What if I told you that TikTok SEO can help your content reach more people and even make your videos go viral?
If you’ve been sleeping on your social media SEO strategy, this blog is for you. We’ll walk you through all the juicy details about TikTok SEO specifically, how it works, and how you can optimize your video content to get the most out of it.
Stick with us, and you’ll be on the For You page in no time.
Bonus: Get a free TikTok Growth Checklist from famous TikTok creator Tiffy Chen that shows you how to gain 1.6 million followers with only 3 studio lights and iMovie.
What is TikTok SEO?
TikTok SEO is the practice of optimizing your videos on TikTok to rank higher in search. Just as you would use keywords and analytics to optimize the content on your website, you can also use these tactics to help your TikTok videos show up in more search results–this includes results on TikTok, as well as Google.
But wait. TikTok isn’t a search engine, right? Maybe not technically, but it still has its own search bar, making SEO an important part of the platform. In fact, Google’s own data found that 40% of young people primarily use TikTok and Instagram for search.
And, although social media posts on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and the like were not indexed by Google in the past, they now show up in the SERPs. Fancy that!
Your TikTok SEO strategy should include both SEO for Google and SEO for TikTok search. That way, you’re giving your content a fighting chance in all of the biggest online search arenas.
TikTok SEO ranking factors
User interactions can include anything from videos you’ve liked, videos you’ve hidden, videos you’ve added to your favorites, and videos you watch all the way to the end. TikTok takes note of all of this data and uses it to determine which videos to show you.
All of the information contained in a video can affect its ranking on TikTok. This includes captions, hashtags, sound effects, and music. TikTok looks for videos that contain relevant keywords in their titles and descriptions, as well as videos that cover trending topics.
Devices and account settings
These are settings TikTok uses to optimize performance. They include language preference, country setting (you may be more likely to see content from people in your own country), type of mobile device, and categories of interest you selected as a new user.
Note that while account settings do factor into your TikTok SEO ranking, they receive a lower weight than video info and user interactions.
What’s not included?
You’ll be happy to hear that TikTok does not factor follower count into its SEO ranking algorithm (though, if you do want to get more followers, we have you covered). This means that if you create great content that speaks directly to your target audience, you have as much chance of landing on their For You page as the biggest TikTok stars.
This is what sets TikTok apart from other platforms like Instagram. And honestly? We’re here for it.
Google SEO ranking factors
Anyone who knows anything about SEO knows that Google’s ranking factors aren’t exactly the most transparent topic. That aside, there are a couple of things we know for sure. And, *spoiler alert*, these ranking factors are also going to be a big part of your TikTok SEO tips.
Here’s what Google looks for when ranking search results.
These are the words and phrases that users type into a search engine when looking for answers. For example, someone looking for advice on keeping their hair healthy might search for “hair care.”
Google doesn’t just give anyone the top search spot. To earn it, you have to be an authority on the topic.
How do they know you’re an authority? This part is a bit tricky. But, in essence, Google looks at how many other pages link to your page (this acts as a reference and shows what you’re saying is true) and how popular those pages are. This basically means a link from Apple is going to be worth way more than a link from your brother’s local pizza parlor. Sorry, Antonio.
The good news for TikTok’ers is that social media platforms (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook) are some of the most “authoritative” sites in this world. So having a presence on these platforms, and having your content show up in Google search, can really help boost your discoverability.
A piece of content must be related to what users are searching for in order to get a good rank. No one wants to see a page on WWII history when they’re looking for makeup brush cleaning tips.
Google generally prefers new content to old, though there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, Google says, “The freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about dictionary definitions.”
How to do TikTok SEO in 5 steps
Now that we know what TikTok and Google’s search engines look for, here are our top TikTok SEO tips.
1. Start with your audience
One of the most important aspects of TikTok SEO is understanding your audience. Knowing who they are and what they’re looking for can help you create content that resonates with them.
If you’re already active on TikTok, you may have a good idea of what your audience likes. If not, consider taking some time to get to know them better. Look at the videos they’re engaging with and the hashtags they’re using. As well, look at the comments and messages they’re sending you. This can help you get an idea of their interests so that you can create content tailored to them.
Why does this matter for SEO? Well, understanding your audience can help you craft better titles and descriptions for videos, making them easier to find in TikTok searches. Similarly, you want to create content that your audience wants to see. Or the content they are already searching for. This can give you a leg up when it comes to being discovered by new audiences, too.
2. Do keyword research
Keyword research is an essential part of traditional SEO, so it makes sense to use it on TikTok, too. Find out what words or phrases your target audience is using when searching for content like yours.
Keep in mind these tools are scraping data from Google itself–not TikTok. Because SEO in TikTok is so new, there aren’t currently any TikTok SEO tools that can tell you what people are searching for on TikTok.
But don’t get discouraged. The best way to figure out what people are searching for on TikTok is to use the TikTik platform directly. Simply go to TikTok, open the search bar, and enter any keywords you’ve pulled from your TikTok keyword research.
TikTok will automatically auto-populate the search bar with the most popular keywords related to your query. Look through what it shows you, and select any keywords that match up with your content.
If you want to see even more keyword ideas, try typing in your keyword followed by a single letter. TikTok will then show you all the related keywords that begin with your query and the letter you entered.
Hair care “A.”
Hair care “B.”
Hair care “C.”
You can keep repeating this process until you have a list of relevant hashtags and keywords to use in your TikTok SEO strategy.
3. Add keywords to your content
Once you have your TikTok keyword research completed, start adding them to your content in the titles, descriptions, and captions of your videos. This includes any on-screen text, such as lyrics or explanations.
Also, be sure to say the keywords out loud! That’s right, TikTok’s algorithms prioritize videos where the keywords are actually spoken.
You’ll also want to include your keywords in any hashtags you use, as this will help people find your posts more easily. Use both your main keyword and any variations of your keyword that make sense. But don’t overdo it. Make sure you know the optimal number of hashtags to use on each platform.
Finally, add your most relevant target keywords to your TikTok profile. This will ensure that your profile is more visible when people search for these keywords. It also gives potential followers an idea of what kind of content you post and whether they should follow you.
4. Add your TikTok to a microblog
This is the exciting part, where we get to mash everything we know about traditional SEO with everything we’re learning about TikTok SEO!
Blogging is a big part of ranking in Google search. Remember when we talked about Google prioritizing content that is relevant and fresh? Well, that’s pretty much why blogs exist. What better way to keep your content fresh than to publish consistently?
To leverage this technique for your TikTok SEO, create a microblog post that discusses a particular topic related to your TikTok video. Be sure to include your main keyword in the title and your secondary or long-tail keywords in the subheadings and content of the post. Also, don’t forget to embed your TikTok video in the blog, too!
5. Track your progress
Every savvy SEO marketing strategy requires continuous monitoring and tweaking. Sure, you put all the best practices in place, but how will you know if your efforts are successful?
Tracking your TikTok analytics is the best way to see if your SEO strategy is paying off. This will give you insights into which videos are performing well, what kind of engagement they’re getting, and more. It can also help you identify areas where you can improve, such as topics or keywords that don’t seem to be resonating with your audience.
Hootsuite Analytics can show you exactly how many views are coming from search, as opposed to the For You page or from existing followers.
Be sure to track this progress over time, as well as the progress of your competitors. This will give you a better understanding of what works best in terms of TikTok SEO and can help you refine your strategy accordingly.
Frequently asked questions about TikTok SEO
What is SEO on TikTok?
SEO on TikTok is the process of optimizing your TikTok content to make it more discoverable on the platform, increasing views, likes and followers. This is done by researching hashtags, targeting certain keywords, and leveraging popular trends on the platform.
TikTok videos also have the ability to rank in Google search, so optimizing your content for SEO can help you gain even more reach and visibility.
How do you increase SEO on TikTok?
Increasing SEO on TikTok starts with keyword research. This involves researching and identifying popular keywords related to your content, so you can include those keywords in your captions and in the audio of your video.
You should also be aware of popular trends on the platform and use relevant hashtags related to your content. This will make your video more visible in TikTok’s search results and maximize its chances of getting seen.
How do keywords work on TikTok?
Keywords on TikTok are the same as those for any other platform–-words and phrases commonly used to search for content. Popular keywords in your niche can help TikTok’s algorithm boost your video and make it visible to more potential viewers.
How is TikTok a search engine?
TikTok is not technically a search engine, but it does have its own algorithm that can be used to find content. The algorithm takes into account the number of views, likes, and comments a video gets, as well as what other users are searching for. This helps TikTok serve up relevant content to each user based on their interests and past interactions with the app.
Grow your TikTok presence alongside your other social channels using Hootsuite. Schedule and publish posts for the best times, engage your audience, and measure performance — all from one easy-to-use dashboard. Try it free today.
How To Create a Strong Social Media Advocacy Program
There’s nothing more convincing than a friend’s endorsement — especially on social media. That’s why a social media advocacy program is the best way to show the benefits of your products instead of telling your customers why they should care.
Brand advocates help you connect with potential customers and cut through the noise online. They can boost your visibility by:
- Showing off your products on social media
- Leaving positive reviews on your website
- Driving more traffic to your products
In short, an engaged community leads to better sales outcomes. Keep reading for our guide to building a strong social media advocacy program.
Bonus: Download a free employee advocacy toolkit that shows you how to plan, launch, and grow a successful employee advocacy program for your organization.
Social media advocacy is a way to leverage the social networks of the people who like you and/or are invested in your continued success: your customers, employees, business partners, influencers, and more.
According to Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising study, a whopping 89% of respondents trust recommendations from people they know. These recommendations are almost twice as likely to generate action, too.
A social media advocacy strategy turns your biggest fans into brand advocates. A brand advocate is someone who loves your brand so much that they choose to voluntarily promote your products or services on their own social media channels.
While influencers are paid to create sponsored content for your brand, brand advocates are motivated by their enthusiasm for your product or service. They opt into your advocacy program voluntarily. Savvy customers are great at spotting paid influencer content, but organic endorsements still carry serious weight.
By leveraging your company’s biggest cheerleaders, you gain access to their social networks. The trust-based customer relationships you’ll build are worth their weight in gold.
What can brand advocates do for you?
Social media is now a top channel for online brand research, second only to search engines. Customers rely on social at every stage of the purchasing journey. A brand advocate’s positive post can really help you stand out from the crowd.
Here are a few ways in which brand advocates can help you build your business:
They leave positive reviews
Reviews from real users provide useful information for potential customers. In fact, reviews are the third-most important factor when shoppers are contemplating an online purchase:
Source: Hootsuite Digital 2022 report
Encourage your brand advocates to leave positive reviews on your website — and make it easy for them to do so. You can even generate a link to leave a review on Google and include it in your post-purchase emails to all customers.
Customers find a mix of positive and negative reviews more trustworthy. Responding to reviews shows that your brand is open to feedback. Make sure to engage with or respond to all reviews, good or bad.
They create user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is original, brand-specific content created by customers and published on social media or other channels. UGC acts as a trust signal, taking your brand authenticity to the next level. It’s incredibly influential in the final stages of the buyer’s journey.
Brands like Starbucks leverage UGC to break up the flow of traditional marketing posts in their social media streams:
Only four of these 12 recent posts on the Starbucks Instagram feed are brand marketing posts. The other eight posts are user-generated content. In these examples, UGC creates a sense of FOMO that drives customers to stop in for the latest seasonal treat.
They bring in new users or customers
Seeing someone else’s success can help new customers visualize their own. That’s why success stories are invaluable when recruiting potential customers or users.
Airbnb, a giant in the short-term homestay space, builds brand advocacy with the Superhost Ambassador program.
Superhosts are experienced users who have completed at least 10 stays in the past year, maintain a 4.8+ rating, and have a 90% response rate within 24 hours. They enjoy perks and special recognition for earning Superhost status.
Superhost Ambassadors share positive experiences to help new users see the benefits of hosting. They provide mentorship and tools to help new hosts succeed, all while earning rewards for bringing new hosts to Airbnb.
With the “Ask a Superhost” function, Ambassadors become de facto customer service representatives. They answer questions from newbies and help them create successful Airbnb listings. In exchange for their support, Ambassadors earn cash rewards and enjoy exclusive features and tools.
The key to building a strong social media advocacy program lies in leveraging your existing communities. But before you reach out to potential advocates, make sure you’ve got a plan in place.
Here’s how to start building your own social media advocacy program.
1. Start with your goals
Consider what you’re trying to achieve with your social media advocacy program. What kinds of brand advocates are you looking to build your community with? What kind of ROI are you aiming for?
Use the S.M.A.R.T goal-setting program to develop a set of effective goals. That means setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals.
Here’s an example of a S.M.A.R.T goal:
Create a brand advocacy program to grow my Instagram following by 15 percent over the next 90 days.
Now that you’ve got an actionable goal in mind, you can figure out the tactics you’ll need to follow to achieve it.
2. Identify potential brand advocates
After setting your goals, you need to find your brand advocates, recruit them to your cause, and grow excitement among them about your company, campaign, or initiative.
Be sure to develop your program around valuable opportunities and rewards for the participants. Show them how taking part in the program will benefit them. Three core things to focus on to drive the program, including your search for the perfect participants, are:
- Effective communication
- Clear program architecture
- Professional integration
To find the best brand advocates for your social media advocacy program, you need to understand who you want to target, and ask yourself some key questions:
- What are their pain points?
- What incentives would be valuable to them?
- What are their interests?
- Who do they engage with on social media?
Deciding to develop a brand advocacy program doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch. If your brand is active on social media, then there’s a good chance your customers and fans are as well. This community is likely already talking about (and to) your brand.
Look at your social media followers and newsletter subscriber lists. Who’s liking your posts and clicking your newsletter links? These engaged fans are prime candidates for your advocacy program.
3. Don’t forget about employee advocates
Employees can also be fantastic advocates for your brand and business. An employee advocacy program amplifies company messaging and broadens your social media reach.
When recruiting employee brand advocates, make it clear that the program is optional. Internal advocates usually see the value in incentives, but they don’t want to be bribed or coerced into participating!
Here are a few tips to incentivize your employee brand advocates:
- Follow employees from your company accounts to boost their network
- Use the company accounts to share creative messaging created by employees
- Create a contest where everyone who shares a piece of marketing content is entered to win a prize
- Keep track of employees who share content consistently and share this information with their managers
- Acknowledge frequent sharers in company meetings or newsletters
Hootsuite Amplify helps you take the guesswork out of employee social media advocacy. Amplify allows your employees to access pre-approved content to share on their social feeds — all queued up and ready to go.
When done right, employee advocacy is one of the most effective ways to boost your public image and employee engagement.
4. Reward your advocates
Once you’ve got brand advocates, hang onto them! Make sure your social media advocacy program includes valuable opportunities and rewards for the participants. Show them how taking part in the program will benefit them.
Try the following tips to get the ball rolling:
- Follow users that follow you and engage with the content they share
- Highlight community members who contribute positively to your online discussions
- Reward the people who stand out in your community
- Send them swag or discount codes
Keep brand advocates engaged
For your advocacy program to be effective, you need to build a strong connection with your advocates. Best case scenario: you’ll have hundreds, or even thousands, of engaged brand advocates championing your brand. These advocates need to feel valued!
Your social media advocacy strategy needs to be scalable. Put someone in charge of answering advocate questions and keeping them on track. Consider appointing a program lead to take on the engagement task as the program grows.
Add value to the experience
You can keep members engaged by adding value to their experience:
- Create programming or education for your brand advocates
- Offer discounts on educational opportunities
- Add value with exclusive experiences, such as in-person meetups
- Incentivize or even gamify your program by running contests or fun challenges
A relationship with a good brand advocate is mutually beneficial, so keep up with your end of the bargain.
Review your advocacy program on a regular basis
Review your brand advocacy program every few months to see how your progress is tracking against the goals you established at the start. If something isn’t working, make adjustments to get things back on track. Social media is constantly evolving, and so should your advocacy program.
Tap into the power of employee advocacy with Hootsuite Amplify. Increase reach, keep employees engaged, and measure results—safely and securely. Learn how Amplify can help grow your organization today.
Hootsuite Amplify makes it easy for your employees to safely share your content with their followers—boosting your reach on social media. Book a personalized, no-pressure demo to see it in action.
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