People everywhere rely on social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep them connected with their loved ones as well as admired connections like celebrities and organizations. However, each time you log onto these networks it isn’t impossible for you to see every single update from all your connections, which is why today’s social channels have gravitated towards an algorithm-based feed to better the experience for each user. 

What is a social media algorithm?

A social media algorithm is a compilation of rules and data that work together to decide what a user will see on their chosen platform. Each social media website utilizes a unique, ever-changing algorithm for every person’s account, which means that no two people will possess the same updates, news, and posts on their feeds. 

How does Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm work? 

Facebook is the largest social media platform to date, studying user’s behaviours to ensure that the content shown is what that person is most interested in. But, how does Facebook know what its users like? Well, the Like button works as the epicentre of Facebook’s user experience, allowing each user to personalize it based on who and what they enjoy most. The Like button also works as a form of positive reinforcement, allowing users to click like on content that’s shared by friends and family. Over time, all of this data governs how each newsfeed operates. 

How does Twitter’s Timeline algorithm work?

Below is a breakdown of the data that determines the social media algorithm:

  • Relevancy score: There are hundreds of variables that an algorithm takes into account when it picks each user’s posts. Things like the user’s history of likes, clicks, comments, shares, hides, or marked spam are all stored and used to predict future content. More specifically, the algorithm predicts outcomes by giving content a relevancy score, which sorts your social media content and places it on your feed for optimal engagement. 
  • Prioritizes friends: Did you know that you can boost the posts that you want to see more of on your account? The people you interact with most often on Facebook are given priority over other Facebook users, which means that you won’t be concerned about missing important updates from the friends and family members that you care for the most. This is done by categorizing a person or page by clicking “see post” and unfollowing the people or pages that you don’t want to see as often. 

Your Twitter Timeline consists of a stream of tweets from the users you follow. If you’re very active on Twitter and have a lot of celebrities and friends that you care about, then your algorithm can be organized based on two approaches: “Show Me The Best Tweets First”, “Best Tweets” or the “While You Were Away” feature.

Below is a breakdown of the data that determines the social media algorithm:

  • Show Me The Best Tweets First: This feature ranks your content based on relevancy rather than listing tweets chronologically. Based on what you’ve liked or engaged with recently, Twitter will put the tweets that it thinks you will find most interesting at the top of your timeline.
  • Best Tweets: This feature requires the user to opt-in and select content from specific users to indicate these will be the best tweets. Then, the user can refresh the timeline to have any of these tweets added to the top of their feeds.
  • While You Were Away: This feature has been added to allow users the flexibility to be away from checking their feeds without FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s completely determined by user engagement and can be turned off for users that don’t check with Twitter feeds often.

How does Instagram’s feed algorithm work?

This quickly evolving platform is becoming a hot spot for digital marketing, which means that it’s important for small businesses to understand how the social media algorithm works for this channel. 

Using machine learning to aggregate six key factors, Instagram determines the content that’s the most relevant to the user.

  • Interest: This is based on prediction data that measures the type of content of posts you engage with most often. 
  • Frequency: This is measured by how often you use the app to determine what posts you want to see when you open the app again. 
  • Following: The more accounts you follow, the less likely you’ll be to see everyone appear in your news feed. 
  • Recency: How recently was the post published? This impacts if it will appear in your newsfeed. 
  • Relationship: Who shared the post and what connection do you have to them or their content? This can easily be influenced by tagged photos, engagements, or direct messages. 
  • Usage: The time you spend on Instagram also has a great effect on the content that you see on your feed.

Do you need someone to help you to manage your company’s social media networks? Trek Marketing offers a social media marketing management service for businesses that want to outsource their social content and have a team member available to answer customer questions and comments. 

Which of the above three social networks do you spend the most time on? Drop a comment below to share.

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