Algorithms: the Breakdown of How Each Major Platform Ranks Content
Tuesday April 3, 2018
Algorithms - they are our best friends and worst headaches as social media marketers. But don't worry: you can understand them (at least partially) and use them to your advantage. Here's the breakdown of each major platform's algorithms and how you can best use them.
Facebook's algorithm is probably the most advanced out of all the platforms. That makes it pretty difficult to manipulate, and the recent changes that basically remove organic reach for business pages makes engagement a double-edged sword for businesses. But here's what you need to know: Facebook's algorithm determines what to show people based on 4 factors: Inventory, signals, and predictions.
Inventory is all the available content they could show you. Signals give information about how you relate to the user who posted the content - is it someone you engage with frequently, or have common interests with? Predictions look at your usage patterns to guess how likely you are to engage with the content now. Based on all of these factors, the algorithm gives the content a relevance score, which determines whether you see it or not.
So how does that affect the way businesses publish content. First of all, publish frequently so that you are always in the inventory of recent content. Next, post engaging content that your audience will want to like or comment on. That way, their usage patterns will continue to show them content from your page. Third, use paid ads to boost your page likes so that your connection base grows and you become a more reputable page.
Since Instagram and Facebook are owned by the same company, their algorithms are very similar. Both use usage data to make predictions about your likelihood to engage and weight posts accordingly. Instagram ranks content of people who you engage with, direct message, search for, and know in real life.
So for your business profile, share high-quality photos that are sure to grab your followers attention and use engaging captions. Also, since Instagram also weights content according to direct messaging, you can initiate conversations by messaging people to generate response messages. Both of these strategies will boost your content's visibility, which will in turn continue to boost engagement.
Twitter's algorithm was introduced relatively recently and is still simple compared to other platforms. When the algorithm was introduced, many users were upset that the platform was introducing an algorithm, but inevitably, it has helped performance.
The Twitter algorithm shows you tweets you'd like to see (according to its data) in addition to tweets from people you follow. It doesn't exclude posts like Facebook does. Since tweets are short, this system works well. To boost engagement, Twitter shows you the most popular tweets first in the "In Case You Missed It" section. It also shows you tweets liked by people you follow, which augments engagement since you probably have similar interests to people you follow.
As a business, how do you manipulate the Twitter algorithm? Of course, you want to share engaging content so people will like and retweet. The more retweets and likes you get, the more exposure you get. You also want to post often so you're always at the top of your followers' feeds. Once you start getting good traction on your content, your exposure multiplies exponentially.
Like Twitter, LinkedIn's algorithm is less complicated than Facebook and Instagram's algorithms, which makes it easier to manipulate. To determine what content to show, it takes into account your liking patterns and connection strength with individual users. Connection strength takes into account common workplaces and mutual connections. LinkedIn's commenting algorithm is very similar to engagement algorithms on other platforms - it takes into account who commented, the quality and relevance of their content, the popularity of the content, and the time they posted. LinkedIn is still refining their algorithm, but posting relevant content to your target audience, growing relevant connections, and engaging with relevant connections is a good starting strategy.
We hope this discussion has helped you understand these platforms' algorithms better and has given you some inspiration for moving forward in your social media strategy. If you're looking for more tips, check out our other blogs on boosting engagement and creating quality content. To connect with us, you can message us. We'd love to hear from you!