We’ve got a special guy we’d like you to meet. You may not be looking for anyone new, but he’s actually already in your life. In fact, he’s been all up in your business lately. You’ve probably heard his name before. He’s quite the social butterfly, after all! Meet Al Gorithm (as in the infamous Facebook algorithm).

Meet Instagram's Al Gorithm

Waiiiiit… Don’t stop reading now! Sure, you (and almost every other business owner in the world) have a love/ hate relationship with him, but hear us out. We think he’s gotten a bad rap, and he’s worth getting to know.

In fact, we suggest you get serious with him pretty quick… like maybe consider getting engaged?? That’s right! Social engagement is the best way to have Al Gorithm start working for your business and increase your social media success.

Here’s why:

1. He’s a real go-getter… and a bit of a workaholic.

He’s been organizing your customers’ Facebook news feeds since 2010, and he’s recently gotten a second job at Instagram. Whether you like it or not, he’s becoming increasingly important to delivering your social media content to your customers. If you don’t have a good relationship with him, he could be a bit of fatal attraction for your business.

2. He’s quite the VIP.

Sometimes it feels like ’ol Al is just using you for your money. After all, social media algorithms can force you to pay for ads or boosted content to increase your reach… especially if your engagement is low. But face the facts. Facebook users have liked more pages than their capacity to consume the information that comes from them — around 1,500 posts at any given time, and Instagrammers miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. If a feed is too overwhelming, users won’t see a thing. That’s why Al has become a Very Important Poster (and so well paid too!).

3. He’s a good guy.

Deep down, he really cares about what is important to you and your customers. The goal of the social media algorithm is to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time. On Facebook, he narrows those 1,500 posts down to the 300 or so that users are most likely to find interesting. Nice guy, right? No word on his start date at Instagram and how exactly he’ll work, but since Insta is owned by Facebook, he’s bound to operate similarly.

So do you heart him now? Then it’s time to say, “YES!” and get engaged on social media.

Our bachelor beau, Al Gorithm, is going to operate on Instagram very much like he does on Facebook. Al will be checking out how engaging a post is, as well as information about photos each user has liked, accounts they follow, and anything going on in their network.

Here’s what he will be looking for in engaging prospects specifically:

  1. How often users interact with the account
  2. The number of likes and comments a post receives from the world at large and from users friends in particular
  3. How much users have interacted with the type of post in the past
  4. Whether or not users and other people across the platform are reporting a given post

The bottom line is… the more engaging the post is, the more people will see it in their feeds.

So how can you be more engaging? First of all, don’t look desperate! We don’t recommend asking your followers to ‘turn notifications on.’ It’s really annoying to have your phone ding anytime someone posts on Instagram, and it’s a quick way to turn followers off.

Next, figure out what turns followers on! Use an analytic service (we heart Iconosquare) to determine what types of posts perform best and when your audience is most likely to interact with them. Apply what you learn as you plan your future content calendar and your consistent follower interaction is sure to wow Al.

Show Al that you’re a good conversationalist by asking your followers questions or using a call to action like encouraging them to ‘double tap’ if they like your post. Fill in the blanks are one of our favorite ways to start a conversation. Fill in the blank style posts get NINE times more comments than other posts, yet less than 1% of retail brands use them. Your turn… Smart retailers are planning to start using fill in the _______ style posts!

And finally, we have some really good news about this courtship… Al is a pretty cheap date! Allocating a small budget towards paid ads to increase your audience reach can actually help your engagement too. Nerd alert! Studies have shown that followers gained from paid campaigns are more valuable than followers gained for free. Brands are reporting a 32% increase in their audience after a 30-day paid campaign followed by a 25% increase in engagement. Talk about a match made in heaven!

Like every good relationship, this one is going to take work. As soon as you get comfortable with Al, he is sure to change. But one thing is for sure, paying attention to him and getting engaged will pay off in the end and together you’ll live happily ever after!

This info originally appeared as a two-part series on the AmericasMart blog. See the original posts by clicking here (part 1) and here (part 2).