The social media marketing discussion is now dominated by algorithms – almost everywhere you engage, within almost every platform you use, machine learning and data sorting is used to decide what it is you see.
Now social platforms are in much the same position, which adds a more complex, technical element to the social marketing process.
With this in mind, what do you need to know to ensure you’re on top of the latest social algorithm shifts, and how can you best prepare yourself, and understand the focus of each platform to maximize your business page performance?
Here’s a quick overview of the current state of each platform’s algorithm, based on what I’ve studied of their workings.
The most influential social algorithm is Facebook’s. The Social Network was the first to implement an algorithm feed, in response to the flood of spammy posts and junk which had taken over the app as its popularity grew.
Facebook’s algorithm aims to show you the content you’re most likely to engage with – though obviously there’s a lot more to it than that.
To best understand Facebook’s algorithm, you first need to get your head around the basic engagement equation Facebook uses.
Facebook’s News Feed chief, Adam Mosseri, explained this in several webinars, conferences and online publications last year, comparing their selection process to choosing a meal for a friend at a restaurant:
This process, says Mosseri, is essentially utilizing an algorithm within your own head – Facebook’s system simply transfers these though processes to a machine, shifting the same core elements into more technical factors – Inventory, Signals, Predictions and Scores.
Here’s the same calculations with Facebook actions replacing restaurant options:
Facebook rates each post based on your individual usage patterns, which, along with a range of other measures, enable it to come up with a score for each post. That score then dictates where each will appear in your feed.
Sound confusing? Yes, it is. These algorithms change constantly so studying and keeping up with the social channel’s updates are crucial to any business social media marketing plan. In basic terms, Facebook measures the likelihood that you’re going to take a particular action which their data suggests is the most engaging, then shows each story to you based on that probability.
Twitter’s algorithm is less advanced than Facebook’s, but they are putting increased focus on their machine learning efforts to boost engagement.
Users were initially outraged that Twitter would even consider changing to an algorithm, but the data has since shown that the system has helped the platform boost performance – as algorithms have on virtually every platform.
Twitter’s main objective with their algorithm is to show you more content you may be interested in – similar to Facebook, though Twitter is more about showing it to you in addition to the other tweets you might see, as opposed to “instead of”.
Even with an algorithm in place, Twitter can still show you almost every tweet, due to the real time nature of the feed. Nowadays, when you first login into Twitter, you’ll see tweets you may have missed, which are basically the most popular tweets from the people you follow. Twitter has also been working to boost engagement by showing you tweets that people you follow have liked, too.
Instagram is one of the hottest social platforms at the moment for social engagement. They have now also implemented a Facebook-style algorithm. Facebook actually owns both platforms now, so the algorithms are almost exactly the same now. Like Facebook, Instagram’s algorithm is based on your likelihood to engage.
Like Twitter, LinkedIn’s algorithm is not as advanced as Facebook’s. A good example of how LinkedIn’s feed algorithm works is their comment sorting tool – LinkedIn recently published an update on how comments are displayed on each post, based on engagement.
In my opinion, and the opinion of many other LinkedIn users, their algorithm needs some work. You’ll often see posts from weeks ago in your feed but they are refining their data, and working to show you more relevant content, slowly but surely.
The last platform has a constantly evolving algorithm to uncover more relevant Pin matches. Their goal is to keep you searching and their system has been upgraded from its initial matching efforts to better highlight relevant content.
Do you have ideas of how these social platforms might improve their algorithms in the future? Tell us in the comments!
Why Your Business Needs A Paid Facebook Ad Budget
Author: Stephanie May - email@example.com
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