20 years ago, who would have guessed that mathematical algorithms would dictate so much of how we do business, market products, and interact online? Just as technology has changed fields such as medicine, so has it revolutionized marketing.
As a business owner, you’re probably already well aware that the social media algorithm dictates who sees what you post. But did you know that this mathematical equation differs from channel to channel?
If you’ve ever asked the question, “How does social media work?” then this blog post’s for you. Read on to learn more about social networking algorithms and how to harness their power to put your company ahead of the pack.
The Facebook Algorithm
Facebook’s latest social media algorithm was introduced in January 2018. It places a premium on “meaningful interactions.”
But what the heck are “meaningful interactions,” and how can you use them to pump up the volume on this popular channel? Meaningful interactions refer to shares, comments, and reactions.
Why has Zuckerberg and Co. decided to go this route? In an attempt to put the “social” element back in social media. And the golden goose remains getting lots of interaction from family and friends.
In fact, Facebook keeps a record of your personal interactions with brand pages and friends. Then, the algorithm uses this to predict what users would like to see, putting similar posts at the top of their news feed.
Oh, Those Meaningful Interactions!
The result? If you want to make it on Facebook, then you’ve got to put out posts that get people talking. A solid Facebook marketing strategy urges people to comment, react, and respond in some way.
That means you must always go for comments, shares, and reactions. Easier said than done?
Focus on content, like open-ended questions, that trigger conversation. Consider topics that stir up a little controversy.
And always, always make time for live videos. Why? They’re a high-engagement format that receives six times more participation than normal videos.
The bottom line remains simple. The more your followers participate with the content on your page, the more they’ll see of you in their feeds.
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The Twitter Algorithm
Released in February 2016, the current Twitter timeline algorithm works somewhat like Facebook’s. It keeps a record of your interactions with those you follow.
Then, it recommends tweets organized into an “In case you missed it” section. Listed in reverse chronological order, Twitter wants to help followers catch up. Especially when they haven’t visited in a while.
Of course, not everybody’s a fan of all these “catch up” tweets. So, Twitter includes a “See less often” option as well as another to turn off these notifications completely. That way, users can choose their level of personalization.
It’s impossible to know the level of personalization each of your company’s Twitter followers has opted to see. So, how do you crack Twitter’s code? It’s all about personal relevance.
It’s All About Personal Relevance
As a marketer, the best way to get attention on Twitter is with a two-pronged approach that considers engagement and time. In other words, craft content that’s highly engaging and then publish it when your followers are most active.
But you also need to understand how Twitter’s search algorithm works. Officially rolled out in December 2016, it provides searchers with uber-relevant results.
How? By relying on logic to determine tweet position and relevancy score. This means you have to know your audience inside out and then produce content highly relevant to them.
The Instagram Algorithm
From March 2016 to March 2018, Instagram toyed around with a relevancy algorithm like Facebook and Twitter. But user feedback indicated that followers wanted posts that felt fresher and more up-to-date.
So, they reverted to a time-based feed in March 2018. While this algorithm doesn’t completely override other factors such as post engagement, you need to consider posting time carefully as a marketer.
Pay attention to peak usage times. Especially when posting your most engaging, interactive content.
Personal Activity Considered
Timeliness means everything when it comes to publishing new content on Instagram. But when it comes to Instagram’s search algorithm, you need to consider a different approach.
Instagram’s search algorithm centers on personal activity. So, the people you follow and the posts you like have a direct impact on your search results. As users alter their online behaviors, so their feeds will change.
That means you need to know your audience and their online behaviors thoroughly. Only when you understand what your customers want to see online can you ensure they consistently interact with your posts and keep your company top-of-mind.
When you understand what your customers want to see online can you ensure they consistently interact with your posts and keep your company top-of-mind.
The LinkedIn Algorithm
LinkedIn’s feed algorithm takes thousands of factors into consideration when searching for relevant content for its users. But these factors can be organized into three major categories:
- Personal behavior
- Content engagement
- Personal identity
Your personal behavior refers to the posts you’ve liked and shared in the past. It also takes into account your time spent in your feed and your interaction frequency.
Content engagement refers to your total likes, total views, and post recency. It also considers things such as language, the people and companies you’ve mentioned, and your update topics.
Finally, your personal identity includes your individual LinkedIn profile as well as your skills, connections, and workplace.
Productivity & Success Remain Key
The team at LinkedIn developed this algorithm to ensure its users enjoy a productive, successful experience with each use. By analyzing a variety of signals (rather than just click-through alone), LinkedIn provides highly customized user content.
So, how do you use this knowledge to effectively market on LinkedIn? User engagement remains crucial to success on LinkedIn coupled with time spent with shared content, comments, and likes.
LinkedIn’s search analyzes the user’s search history and activity to find the best results. It also considers other users who’ve searched similar words to hone the best results.
Digital Marketing and the Social Media Algorithm
When it comes to the social media algorithm for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, relevance matters most. As for Instagram, you’ll need to factor timeliness into your marketing strategy.
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