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How algorithms rule the world

Social media algorithms; a data puzzle waiting to be solved. Their role is to deliver ‘relevant’ content however it is the great ‘unknown’ on how to beat them.

In this blog, I am going to break down everything you need to know about social media algorithms and the best way to beat them.

1. What are they?

Social media algorithms are the order of posts in a user’s feed, based on relevancy.

Meaning they prioritise which content the user would like to see based on the likelihood that they’ll actually want to see. This is based on behaviour patterns for example, your closest friends and family posts are always at the top of your feed because they are the accounts you interact the most with.

2. Why do they exist?

Millions of posts, photos and videos are published every day however without social media algorithms it would be impossible to view all of the content that is put out there. Algorithms deliver what you want and remove the content that is irrelevant or of poor quality.

They are constantly evolving and trying to create the best user experience, meaning we have to adapt quickly in order to stand out.

There is a lot of talk around algorithms existing to push brands to pay a premium for social advertising because they can’t reach their audience organically however this is yet to be confirmed.

3. How do they work?

Data science and mechanics! They rank posts based on set criteria.

Some of the bigger platforms e.g. Facebook clearly stated what they expect from accounts who want to stay at the top of the algorithms and it’s a pretty simple concept ‘have a meaningful interaction’. Whether that is in the form of likes, comments, shares, videos, be meaningful.  

Historically platforms have been vague about the formula behind their algorithm however through testing we can guess what the process compiles of and apply accordingly.

4. How to outsmart them!

Outsmarting an algorithm is very simple when you break it down, create content that algorithms want to see:

1. Ask questions

2. Tag other accounts in your posts

3. Focus on the right hashtags

4. Optimise your post timing

5. Work out your posting frequency

6. Publish more video content

7. Measure your performance

To note, most platforms favour native content. This means they prefer the content staying within the platform and not linking out to your own website.

Each platform’s algorithm is slightly different…

Facebook

Facebook is focusing on helping users understand the algorithm and take control the below ranking signals:

1. Who a user engages with the most

2. The type of media in the post

3. The popularity of the post

Start conversations, post when your audience is active, post different types of content with a focus on video, post consistently and empower people to advocate for you.

Twitter

There are three different sections in the Twitter algorithm that you need to know:

1. Ranked tweets which are recent and relevant

2. ‘In case you missed it’ which is for older but relevant tweets

3. Remaining tweets in reverse-chronological order

Timing is critical on Twitter, as users have the option to turn off ‘show the best tweets first’ which means that the timeline will appear in reverse chronological order.

Maintain an active presence, tweet at the right time, add hashtags purposefully, use photos, videos and GIFS, try a poll, repackage top content and reply to followers.  

Instagram

Is about showing as many people as much information in a day as possible.

People are more likely to find your content if your posting is consistent and of quality.

Step up your photo quality, publish consistent stories, publish more video content, go live more often, run a competition, use relevant hashtags, post during peak hours and post more often.

LinkedIn

Recognised as a leader in B2B marketing LinkedIn is dedicated to networking rather than building followers.

LinkedIn’s mission is to serve you content from “People you know, talking about things you care about”.

Add relevant hashtags, go live on video, publish an article, tag people into your posts and express yourself using the reactions tool.

Find Out More

If you have any questions about any of the above or simply want to get ahead of the algorithm, we can help!