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Breaking Down The Biggest Secret to Social Media: Algorithms in 2022

A vector of people connected by phone, social media and the algorithm that shows content it deems relevant to each individual account
Photo by Geri Tech:

The algorithms that power social media platforms aren’t very secret at all, but the secrets of social media are in how the different algorithms are being used to shape what we see and don’t see.

The secrecy around these algorithms is why you might have one friend who hasn’t gotten over the election, another who only sees photos of puppies and kittens on their newsfeed, and a third friend who only sees content revolving around the NFL.

There’s no hiding it: Algorithms are the secret to social media.

For business owners, like yourself, social media probably feels like the boogeyman. It might feel like everyone knows what they’re doing except you or that there’s this invisible veil that separates your content from going viral.

For marketers, it’s a puzzle to solve. We thrive on figuring out the systems in place and working with them. It’s also something that’s always evolving. We have to keep experimenting with content, and changing marketing strategies as the algorithm evolved.

But, social media algorithms aren’t as scary as you might think.


How Do Algorithms Work?

The technology powering social media algorithms is a bit of a black box.

You may know that it’s there, and you know that it has some effect. But not everyone knows exactly how it works — or why it works the way it does.

This computer science stuff is pretty complex, that’s why these algorithms are kept secret. In some companies, there are strict guidelines on who has permission to see components of how content is selected and arranged in a feed.

So even the best "gurus" and mentors out there just make educated guesses based on what they observe and test. No one can really guarantee a certain metric of results.

This is the reality of the impact social media can have and you can’t just ignore it. This isn’t something that’s going to go away.

The sooner you understand why, the sooner you can get on board with the right strategies and tactics in place to drive measurable results for your company.

Different Types of Social Media Algorithms.

A vector design of a phone with social media icons around it for SEO, which shows content, algorithms, and social media platforms.

Most social media platforms make money by advertising. They need to keep users on their platform for the longest possible time to generate more ad revenue per customer.

There’s an incentive for getting people to stay for your content.

Beyond that, there’s also a ton of content being published every minute of the day. Without an algorithm to sift through all of that, it would be impossible for you or your audience to see everything from everyone.

Here’s how the different but popular algorithms work ⬇️

1. LinkedIn storytelling is top-notch content.

  • Hooks matter. People click to read the full post if your hook was interesting enough.

  • Engagement is the number one criterion for the algorithm.

  • Your posts' performance in the first hour after posting

  • Favours quality content and those that generate interactions.

  • Explicitly reduces the reach of spammy posts.

    • “We won’t be promoting this type of content and we encourage everyone in the community to focus on delivering reliable, credible, and authentic content,” writes Leung.

  • Hides posts where authors ask for likes or comments. Here are some examples of what this looks like:

    • “Leave a comment below to get a copy of my framework.”

    • “Let me know in the comments below”

2. Instagram says that they use “a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose to make the most of your time.

These are the 5 main ranking factors:

Will your audience spend Time on your post? How likely is it that they will Like the post? How likely are they to Comment on the post? How likely are they to Save the post? And how likely are they to Tap on Your Profile after seeing the post?

So, how do you achieve better engagement on Instagram?

  • Post and share more Reels - highest priority and takes up the most space on your Explore page.

  • Use IG story stickers that encourage engagement like polls, the emoji slider, and the question sticker.

  • Improve the copywriting in your captions to drive engagement.

  • Use hashtags.

  • Cross-promote your content on multiple platforms.

3. Facebook says, the Feed “shows you stories that are meaningful and informative.

This is how it’s judged:

  • Who posted it: Your friends, businesses, and the sources you regularly interact with will be prioritized in your Feed.

  • Type of content: People who interact more with video content will see more videos, and those who engage with text posts will see more text posts. The algorithm gives people what it thinks they like based on their usual engagement.

  • Interactions: Posts with more engagement and interactions will be prioritized on the Feed, in combination with the above 2 factors.

4. Youtube monitors 3 key metrics to determine if a video is doing well:

  • Click Through Rate (CTR): How many people click your video after seeing the thumbnail? Your title and thumbnail have to be captivating. This is where they matter.

  • Retention: How long do people stay and watch a video? This is a popular, and important engagement metric to measure audience retention.

  • Views and Impressions: Views are the number of times your channel has been viewed and Impressions are how many times your video thumbnail was shown to viewers

5. Twitter’s timeline algorithm is ranked based on several signals:

  • Recency: How recently was the tweet published?

  • Relevancy: Are the keywords used relevant?

  • Engagement: Does the tweet have significant likes, retweets, clicks, and replies? Is the topic trending at the moment? How many tweets are related to the trend and topic?

  • Rich media: Is there media in the tweet and what type is it?

In the end, algorithms are the technology powering social media and the reason your audience sees more of other posts and less of yours.

Remember that companies today are competing in a digital landscape that is constantly changing and evolving.

Big brands, small businesses, and even nonprofits are embracing social media as a cost-effective way to reach potential customers, partners, or followers. Social media allows users to interact with brands via their individual profiles, blogs, accounts, or pages.

The internet has given everyone access to an infinite amount of information, which means you need to stay ahead of the curve if you want to succeed.

Social media gives you an opportunity to connect with your audience on a more intimate level than before.

When used effectively, social media is an essential tool for building your company’s image and expanding its reach. If you’re not keeping up with the consistent social media behaviour, your competitors definitely are.

Our community is built from the ground up of experts and specialists who have spent years honing their craft.

We work hand in hand with you using entrepreneur-proven strategies to accelerate your digital growth on LinkedIn.

Take us up on a free 15-minute consultation for business leaders like you looking to scale your business — Book a call with us.

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