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Social media algorithms

In this article we will dive deeper into the algorithms used by different social media platforms and why understanding them is very important.
A person scrolling through their smart phone

Now you have learnt about some great top tips for social media, let’s look at what social media algorithms are and how they can guide your posting activity and contribute to the success of your social media management strategy.

Social media algorithms are an automated set of rules that rank and organise content on a user’s feed based on relevancy and the likelihood that they will like it. Social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok, will prioritise which content a user would see on their feed based on user behaviour. For instance, you may see posts from your closest friends and family first as you interact and engage with those accounts the most. Think about some of the videos you have been recommended on YouTube. These are almost always based on what you have previously watched or liked.

Algorithms differ across the different social media platforms. Businesses should take into account the key differences between these algorithms when thinking about their social media strategy, especially when deciding on when to post content, as this can have a large impact on the traffic received by the posts.

For example, on TikTok the algorithm suggests content to users based on their unique preferences. The system recommends content by ranking videos based on a combination of factors – user’s interactions, minutes watched, language preferences, country settings and device types. Neither the number of followers nor the account’s highest-performing videos are direct factors in the recommendation system. In essence, the platform provides the same visibility to all sorts of creators, from small profiles to the most popular ones.

In terms of your strategy, it’s just a matter of having the right idea, producing a video that is both catchy and interesting, and using the right techniques for advertising it, such as writing engaging captions and using the right hashtags for your audience.

On the other hand, the Facebook and Instagram algorithms highlight more of the same sort of content the users previously liked, which means that your content will reach users who are generally interested in the type of content you produce.

As a brand, it pays off to learn about the algorithms for the different social media platforms to ensure your content reaches your target audience. Understanding algorithms is a lot of trial and error but there are simple tactics you can use to figure it out. Make sure you are constantly monitoring the performance of your content, experimenting with different content types and posting hours; and engaging with your audience through tagging, liking, sharing etc., to find the right balance between what an algorithm requires and what content your audience wants.

It is also important to note that while creating content according to the algorithm is important, being authentic to your brand is equally essential as it helps the audience connect with the unique elements of your brand. It must, therefore, be a combination of the two that leads to a successful social media strategy. Finally, remember that social media algorithms are constantly changing, and staying ahead of these changes is a must in order to maximise the benefits of your social media strategy!

Have you seen different algorithms on the social media platforms you use? Have they changed over time whilst you have used them?

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Digital Skills: Social Media

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