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What Is an Algorithm in Social Media?

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If you’re one of the people who heard about the term “social media algorithm” or even used it in conversation, but still don’t understand what hides behind these words, then welcome to the club. The basic understanding of what an algorithm is in social media can help you to use it for your advantage, and raise your social media marketing to a new level. Here’s what you have to master for this complex term.

Define Social Media Algorithm

In simple English, a social media algorithm definition is a set of rules used to rank, filter and organize the content for users within certain social media platform. Its major role is to show users the content according to their preferences and previous activities on social media. This algorithm is unique for each network and is fairly complicated. For example:

  • Facebook was the first social network to effectively introduce social media algorithms for its users. In 2018 this platform made a new step towards posts prioritization through a focus on showing more posts from family members and friends. Personal interaction is in the center of this new social media algorithm and marketers have to keep a close eye on these changes to remain relevant for users. You have to keep track of comments, shares and other elements that actively engage users. To stay up-to-date, any company has to provide engaging and valuable content that people are likely to share with their close relatives and friends.
  • Instagram uses feed ranking criteria as its major algorithm on social media. Its main elements are interest, recency, and relationship. Interest refers to the Instagram prediction of how popular your post will be determined by your attitude to similar posts in the past. Recency refers to the time when the post was shared and prioritizes new posts over older ones. Finally, relationship determines how close is your communication with the post’s owner on the basis of comments and shares of his previous posts.
  • Twitter places the most relevant posts within your timeline following your interaction with other profiles. The most important criteria for placing your posts at the top are credibility, originality of content, engagement and time spent on the account. Remember that the posts created exclusively for Twitter appear on the top of the news feed.
  • LinkedIn places the content within your timeline according to its relevance (based on keywords in your profile), amount of shares among other users, engagement and credibility.
  • Pinterest applies smart feed algorithm to decide which pins to show to its users. If you want your content to appear in the news feed, you should care about its quality and relevance to users. Grow the popularity and engagement on your pins to raise the quality of your account and add keywords to your pins to increase your authority within this social network.

How to Use an Algorithm on Social Media to Your Advantage

Start with engaging content for your users. If your content is valuable, it will be placed on the top of the news feed. Your role as a company aiming to maximize the customer experience is to focus on the following tactics to use any algorithm on social media for your advantage:

  1. Encourage interactions – organize quizzes, write provocative posts, prepare questionnaires
  2. Tag target customers and users
  3. Share content relevant for certain customer groups – investigate your audience, learn who are your buyer personas and adapt content for each customer group
  4. Analyze and optimize – learn what type of content works well for your audience. The proper social media analytical tool will streamline this work for you and make clear where to move next

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to use social media algorithms to your advantage, but the tips above raise the popularity of your posts, engage with a relevant audience, and get more from your social media marketing efforts.

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