Understanding the algorithm in social media

By Emma Healy on August 16th, 2022

What is a social media algorithm and how can it impact your business?

As a full-service digital agency, we’ve got a whole team who are dedicated to social media. One of the questions our clients often ask is: ‘what is a social media algorithm and do we have to worry about it?’
Our short answer is that algorithms are complex and, while they might seem a bit mysterious, it is important to acknowledge their impact on your social media posts.
In this article, we’ll look at how an algorithm in social media can impact your brand’s visibility, before providing our advice on the best way to ensure your posts are seen…

Driving Traffic

First up: what is a social media algorithm?

With a vast amount of content being posted every minute, it is necessary for major social media platforms to filter that content in a meaningful way - instead of it simply appearing reverse-chronologically, new to old.

In answer to the question ‘what is a social media algorithm?’, an algorithm is a sophisticated piece of code that enables a platform to customise content, to provide the optimum user experience. Algorithms vary but they are largely based on a user's online behaviour. Content is ranked and ordered, before being made visible on an individual’s social media feed (or not).

So the purpose of a social media algorithm is to prioritise content to ensure that the posts that reach each user are the most engaging, meaningful and relevant to them, as an individual.

The effect of a social media algorithm on your engagement

Driving Traffic

The majority of businesses, large and small, use social media to market their products or services. However, a social media algorithm can drastically affect your content’s visibility and reach.

Posts that are deemed to be ‘high-quality’ appear first, while lower-quality posts will appear later in a feed - regardless of the publish time - or possibly not at all. In addition, an algorithm on social media may prioritise paid or sponsored posts over organically generated content.

This is why it is essential that you acknowledge the power of an algorithm in social media. In understanding the purpose of an algorithm, you can optimise your posts for maximum engagement.

So what are algorithms looking for?

As mentioned, algorithms are based on predictions which relate to past engagement with certain content, as well as the perceived strength of that engagement - e.g. commenting or sharing might be ranked higher than simply liking a post.

Although each platform is different, most social media algorithms display content based on:

  • Relevance
  • Recency
  • Engagement
  • Type of post

Respecting the algorithm on social media

Here at Vooba, we are skilled in creating high-quality content that is relevant and meaningful to our clients’ target audiences. We make it our business to stay abreast of any changes to the algorithm on social media platforms.

We believe it’s more sensible to understand how to craft posts that algorithms want to ‘see’ and balance this with what is compelling for the target audience.

Social media algorithms are in a constant state of evolution, becoming increasingly more sophisticated as they seek to provide the best user experience possible. As a result, digital marketers (or anyone who is trying to promote their brand on socials) must constantly adapt their content approach and strategy.

10 tips to improve your social media posts

Worried that your social media content isn’t very visible? Here are some ideas to help you create high-quality content to satisfy most social media algorithms:

  1. Post consistently - algorithms tend to favour accounts that post consistently over accounts that post now and then
  2. Think about the snowball effect and encourage engagement - liking, commenting, or sharing boosts the value and visibility of a post and will push it to other users
  3. Interact with your audience if they comment - this builds trust and nurtures a positive association with your brand: social media should be social!
  4. Post at the right time for your target audience
  5. Learn from your successful posts and do more
  6. Vary your content - short form videos are booming
  7. Consider how long a user spends on a post - this is important to social media algorithms. For example, video content is likely to keep users interested for longer
  8. Avoid heavily ‘salesy’ posts - algorithms can penalise this type of content
  9. Prompt meaningful interactions with your followers
  10. Demonstrate value by posting useful content

Creating organic content

Now that you have an understanding of the algorithm in social media, are you worried that you don’t have the time to create optimised content?

If you’re busy looking after your business then it can be hard to find the time - we hear you! We have a team of passionate social media marketing experts who are immersed in the art of engaging and connecting through social media. Visit our social media page to learn more about how we can help your business

Vooba: trusted digital marketing experts

If you would like some help with your social media content then we would be happy to discuss your business goals. With our proven skills, we will craft engaging social media content to ensure your brand gets in front of the right people.

Get in touch with our team today on 01798 667167.

(+44) 01798 667167