For many, social media algorithms are a big question mark.
Algorithms are not the easiest of things to crack but there are a few things that you can do to further your understanding.This blog discusses what algorithms are and what they do as well as more detail on ‘cracking the code’ for Facebook, Tik Tok and Instagram.
So what actually are social media algorithms?
Algorithms are a set of rules specifying how a group of data behaves.
The priority of algorithms is to filter out irrelevant content or content that’s not of high quality. Essentially, social media algorithms analyse a user’s behaviour, sifting through endless content, and prioritizing the content they see as relevant to the user and what they are likely to want to see.
Before the switch to algorithms in 2015, most social media feeds would display posts in reverse chronological order, showing the most recent posts first. Many social platforms enforced this rule of algorithms because platforms wanted to give the user more control.
Why do social media algorithms exist?
There are approximately 4.95 billion internet users and about 58% of the world’s population are social media users.
The amount of content that is being uploaded each minute is more than anyone can handle, let alone monitor.
With that being said any content has the risk of being buried or hidden from feeds if it doesn’t fit the platform’s criteria.
What is it that algorithms factor in when prioritizing content?
There are many different factors that help the algorithm decide what it is you want to see. Your behaviour on social media is what shapes the algorithm, pulling through what it believes is relevant to you.
The main topic is engagement, everyone’s favourite word! Engagement is a very broad term however, this involves many actions such as:
Anything you do or interact with on social media is a form of engagement.
Socials are quick to pick up on what you are engaging with the most which structure the user’s feed.When you first create an account on any platform, there can be quite a mix of content that it is showing you, then once you start to engage with the content that interests you, the platform is quick to notice and that’s when the algorithm starts to pull in content it believes you are interested in.
- Time on platform
Goes hand in hand with engagement. The more you are engaging with content the more time you are likely you are going to spend on that platform. This means that the platform then has more insight into your preferences, purchases, and habits.
Now, the main reason we are all here, how Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok’s algorithms work.
Facebook Algorithm Tips
Facebook’s team of engineers are constantly monitoring and studying users’ behaviour. This gathers information and signals to them what content you are most interested in.
Like many of the other algorithms, Facebook filters out the content that they don’t believe you are going to engage with.
Facebook’s algorithm is the most advanced and mature of the three that we cover in this blog.
In November 2007 Facebook introduced the Like Button. Nowadays you can do so much more. You can now react to posts in so many different ways. The collection of reactions include: like, love, care, haha, wow, sad and angry. I like to think of it as an extension of the Like button.
By you giving the time to react to these posts, this gives the Facebook team more of an understanding as to what you like to see and engage with.
Facebook’s algorithm will predict whether a user will Like, click, comment, share, hide or even mark the post as spam. The algorithm will predict any of the above with a matter of confidence which is given a rate, that is known as a relevancy score. This score is specifically for you and that post.
This isn’t any different for ads that you see on your news feed. Ads are also given relevancy scores in order to likely make you react and engage with the content. This is because Facebook wants you to have the best experience while using their platform. The positive and negative feedback on ads also influences this.
The big question
how can brands maximise their ROI in relation to the algorithm? ,
Based on the way Facebooks algorithm works here are some tips that your brand should be testing:
- Creating content that is a mixture of media and formats.
Videos, Images, Text, GIFS and Lives. Live has a lot of demand on Facebook however, Video is the current leading champion. Definitely keep a mixture of media.
2. Regularly posting
Along with posting when your audience is likely to be online. This is crucial because you won’t be on the recency. Personally, I would say minimum three times a week.
Tik Tok Algorithm Tips
Like many other algorithms what you interact with is the main factor for the algorithm; this is how it decides your interests. Everything a user interacts with, likes, saves, the creators you search for, videos you report or hide and even content you create. Tik Tok’s algorithm takes all of this into account.
The information you label on your Videos:
- The effect(s) you use
- Trending topics
All of these are also huge aspects of the algorithm.
How can brands maximise their ROI in relation to the algorithm?
- Create content for your niche audience
Tik Tok doesn’t care if your previous five videos go viral or if you have thousands of followers. Their algorithm wants creative and engaging content that they believe isn’t spam.
2.Post when your audience is activeMake sure you are posting when people are most active. Whether this is scheduling your posts for the evening, or during lunch hours This is because you are more likely to fall under the radar if you are missing when people are most likely to be online.
Instagram Algorithm Tips
Instagram’s algorithm is one that has got everyone talking. Before their change to an algorithm, Instagram was based on the times that posts were being posted; in reverse chronological order. However, in 2021 Instagram decided they wanted to change this and now their algorithm is based on five factors:
- Relationship with user,
- Time spent on platform
- Time posted
Want to maximise your ROI and maximise Instagram’s algorithm?
- Post consistently
Posting consistently is the key to mastering Instagram. People get bored easily and if you aren’t posting regularly and keeping your audience engaged, you will likely see your following drop. As well as this, make sure you are posting your content when your audience is online.
2. Engage with your audience
Regularly engaging with your audience, replying to comments and DMs is a good way to get your content in front of your following as well as keep a good relationship with them.
3. Encourage engagment
Using hashtags will increase your discoverability and having giveaways will encourage people to engage with your post and potentially follow.
4. Mix of media
Carousels get three times more engagment than other types of posts however, Instagram’s newest feature Reels, is currently being pushed the most. Don’t be afraid to mix up the content and try new features, this will grow your following and engagement.
Time for You to Beat the Social Media Algorithm
For marketers, the key thing to remember is to post entertaining and relevant content to our target audience. This gives the best chance of getting shown to users and our target audience. Social networks are regularly tweaking their algorithms to improve the user’s experience, therefore, keep up to date with changes and new features.