Ah, social media algorithms.
For some marketers, they’re like little data puzzles just waiting to be solved.
But if you’re like most businesses trying to tackle social media, they’re a sort of boogeyman. The great “unknown” that’s holding your content down.
Algorithms might seem helpful and mostly harmless to the average social customer, helping sift through content and deliver only “relevant” content rather than random posts.
However, marketers that don’t fully understand what algorithms are or how they work will find themselves facing a constant struggle.
The good news? Social algorithms aren’t as mysterious or spiteful as you might think.
In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about social media algorithms and how to rise above them to show up in more people’s feeds.
What are social media algorithms, anyway?
Let’s kick things off with a kitchen table social media algorithm definition.
Social media algorithms are a way of sorting posts in a users’ feed based on relevancy instead of publish time.
Social networks prioritize which content a user sees in their feed first by the likelihood that they’ll actually want to see it.
Before the switch to algorithms, most social media feeds displayed posts in reverse chronological order. In short, the newest posts from accounts a user followed showed up first. This is still an option on Twitter to set your feed to chronological order…
…and the same rings true on Facebook.
By default, social media algorithms take the reins of determining which content to deliver to you based on your behavior.
For example, Facebook or Twitter might put posts from your closest friends and family front-and-center in your feed because those are the accounts you interact with most often.
Chances are you’ve been recommended videos to watch on YouTube, right? This is again based on your individual behavior, digging into what you’ve watched in the past and what users like yourself are watching. Elements such as categories, #tags and keywords also factor into recommended content on any given network.
Why are social media algorithms so controversial?
This all probably seems…