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By Lauren Beichner Outreach

Behind the Algorithms of Social Media

9 minute read
Behind the Algorithms of Social Media Featured Image

Given that there are 3.2 billion daily social media users worldwide, having a strong social media presence is a vital component to the success of any business. But, in order to generate a distinct social media feed that’ll actually get seen, you need to first have an understanding of the principles of how social media algorithms work, so you can alter your strategy appropriately.

Why Do I Need to Pay Attention To Social Media Algorithms?

Social media not only provides you the opportunity to engage with potential clients and turn them into leads, but it also helps drive traffic to your site. However, how do you know that the content you are posting and sharing is getting seen by social media users? This is where social media algorithms come into play. Social media algorithms are a way of sorting posts in a users’ feed determined by relevancy versus publish time. In other words, social media platforms give precedence to which content a user sees in their social media feed first by the probability that they’ll actually want to see it.

If you want to boost your business’s social media performance, then it’s important to take into careful consideration the role that social media algorithms play into your overall social media success.

Let’s Take A Behind The Scenes Look At Social Media Algorithms:

1. Facebook

Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes active interactions such as commenting and sharing over likes and click-throughs. Facebook gives precedence to content that it considers relevant, valuable, and interesting to users versus content that was posted more recently. The algorithm holds the concept that commenting, sharing, etc. require more effort from the user which means that those actions are more meaningful.

In addition, Facebook now gives context to why users see particular organic posts and ads. This emphasizes the need for businesses to encourage interactions from followers and increase engagement.

In a private Facebook webinar, Facebook specified that it’s algorithm prioritizes content which:

  • Sparks engagement between people – for example, a person commenting or like another person’s photo or update
  • Boosts engagement on publisher posts – publisher content that elicits a reaction from friends when shared
  • Prompts engagement between users within the comments, both on videos and publisher posts
  • Is shared over Facebook Messenger to start a conversation with a group of friends

2. Instagram

An estimated 71% of US businesses use instagram.

With a noteworthy statistic like that, it may seem overwhelming to differentiate your financial advising firm from the many others to rank higher in Instagram’s feed algorithm. However, we are here to assure you that is possible. For Instagram’s feed algorithm, what shows up first in your feed is primarily based on your own activity. In other words, posts show up on your feed based on what Instagram thinks you want to see, not just the newest posts first.

Increasingly the likelihood that people will see your content on their own Instagram feed may seem daunting, but these tips will help increase your chances of appearing in people’s feeds:

  • Publish consistent Instagram stories
  • Publish more video content
  • Use Instagram Live more often
  • Create more captivating captions
  • Utilize relevant hashtags
  • Post during peak hours

3. Twitter

Twitter’s algorithm works much like Facebook’s and Instagram’s by working behind the scenes to rank and prioritize tweets it thinks people want to see. Twitter’s Top Tweets is an algorithm-powered feed arranged by ranking signals. According to Twitter, Top Tweets are chosen “based on accounts you interact with most, tweets you engage with, and much more.”

Twitter has shared that when it comes to ranking higher in the Twitter feed, these components play a role in determining where a tweet ranks:

  • How many Retweets, clicks, favorites, and impressions a tweet has received
  • The tweet’s engagement relative to other tweets from the same user
  • How often people engage with the tweet’s author, through active engagements and impressions
  • The type of media the tweet includes (image, video, GIF) – and even polls
  • The type of media users tend to engage with

4. Youtube

When it comes to Youtube, what your video is about, how long it is, when you post, what keywords you put into your metadata, and what action your call-to-action calls for can affect not just your video, but how well your video ranks in Youtube’s algorithm. According to Youtube’s algorithm, a YouTube video earns one view when it’s watched for 30 seconds or longer. So, with that being said, a primary goal to improve your ranking in Youtube should be to create video content that people actually want to watch. Additionally, YouTube “follows” their audience, which means they track their users’ engagement with each video they watch to determine which videos and channels that users prefer to watch.

According to YouTube, the following are part of what determines the algorithm’s choices:

  • What people watch or don’t watch (a.k.a. impressions vs plays)
  • How much time people spend watching your video (watch time, or retention)
  • How quickly a video’s popularity snowballs, or doesn’t
  • How new a video is (new videos may get extra attention in order to give them a chance to snowball)
  • How often a channel uploads new video
  • How much time people spend on the platform
  • Likes, dislikes, shares (engagement)
  • ‘Not interested’ feedback

5. Linkedin

Similarly to the other platforms, LinkedIn’s algorithm has two main goals: to prioritize relevant content and to promote engagement.

Top 3 ranking signals of the LinkedIn algorithm:

  1. Personal connection: LinkedIn takes into consideration who you’ve engaged with directly, through comments, shares, and reactions. It also considers information on profiles, such as interests and skills, and who members work with.
  2. Interest relevance: the LinkedIn algorithm calculates a post’s similarity to someone’s interests depending on the groups they’re in, and the hashtags, people, and pages they follow. In addition, According to LinkedIn’s Engineering blog, the algorithm also takes into consideration the language of the post, and the companies, people, and topics mentioned in it.
  3. Engagement likelihood: LinkedIn algorithm estimates the probability that you will share, comment, or react to a post. This is measured based on the content you’ve liked, shared, and commented on, as well as who you engage with most frequently.

Let’s Sum It Up

Paying attention to social media algorithms can help you determine what kinds of content you should and shouldn’t be sharing on various social media platforms. We recommend that you take a look into your social media analytics to determine what is and what isn’t working when it comes to posting on your different social media platforms.

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