⚫️🟡 Balancing Chasing the Algorithm vs. Creativity on Social Media

There is one certainty in social media: algorithms change. What people want to see and what platforms serve them is always moving.

So, if you’re a brand, how do you treat the algorithm in your strategy? On one hand, it’s a very real variable in the social media formula, and on the other, it’s completely out of your control. Is it best to double-down on what the algorithm wants? Or should you lean into what’s (i) creatively fulfilling and (ii) you can create consistently?

The Algorithm-Driven Approach: A Double-Edged Sword

When a brand religiously follows algorithm changes, it often results in content optimized for visibility and engagement. This strategy can lead to short-term gains, such as increased reach or higher engagement rates, because the content is what the algorithm favors at that moment. However, this approach can also lead to a lack of authenticity and originality, as content becomes more about what the algorithm wants and less about what the brand stands for.

It also makes long-term content planning nearly impossible, as speed becomes as important (if not more) than originality. That’s a social media mistake.

The Risks of Algorithm-Only Focus:

  1. Creativity Takes a Back Seat: Continually adapting to algorithms kills creativity as the focus shifts from innovative ideas to formulaic content.
  2. Brand Identity Dilution: In the race to appease algorithms, a brand’s voice and identity can get lost.
  3. Audience Disconnect: Followers might sense a lack of authenticity, leading to reduced trust and engagement in the long run.

The Creative-Led Approach: Authenticity and Risk

On the other hand, brands that choose not to pivot with every algorithm change often prioritize creative fulfillment and authenticity. This approach can foster a deeper connection with the audience, as content remains true to the brand’s core values and message.

Benefits of a Creative-First Strategy:

  1. Strong Brand Identity: Consistently delivering content that aligns with the brand’s ethos strengthens its identity and message.
  2. Deeper Audience Connection: Authentic content resonates more deeply with the audience, building loyalty and engagement.
  3. Long-Term Success: While this approach may not always yield immediate algorithmic rewards, it often leads to sustainable growth and a dedicated follower base.

Walking the Content Type Rope

The key is to find a balance between adapting to algorithmic trends and maintaining creative integrity. This means being aware of algorithmic preferences but not letting them dictate every content decision. Brands should aim to create content that not only performs well on platforms but also resonates with their audience and reflects who they are.

Strategies for Balancing the Two:

  1. Lean into Your Team’s Skills: Use your team’s strengths and creativity to produce algorithm-friendly and creatively fulfilling content.
  2. Hire for Desired Skills: If needed, bring in talent that can bridge gaps between algorithmic savvy and creative prowess.
  3. Understand Your Customer’s Platform Behavior: Analyze how your audience interacts with different types of content and platforms. This insight can guide a balanced content strategy.
  4. Avoid Copycat Strategies: While it’s tempting to emulate successful content from others, strive for originality. Authentic content stands out more than imitations.

I know having a piece of content ‘hit’ organically can feel great or like you’ve hacked the algorithm. But in reality, the only way to long-term success is to lean into your own creativity and ideas.

Account for the algorithm, but don’t let it steer your content strategy.

Start using the Social System 1.0

If you’re struggling to create content, try our Social System 1.0.

This is a notion template you can copy for yourself and start to use to create content and grow your following.