Social Media Algorithms – 4 Hacks for Your Social Media Strategy

social media algorithms - key points to design social media strategy

As a business owner, you know that social media is a powerful tool to reach new customers and grow your brand.

But did you know that the algorithms of different social media platforms can affect how much of your content people see?

It’s important to understand how these algorithms work so that you can design a social media strategy that will reach the most people.

In this article, we will discuss the algorithms of three popular social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. We’ll also give you some tips on how to optimize your content for each platform. Let’s get started!

Social Media Algorithms – How Do They Work?

The algorithm of a social media platform is the set of rules that determines what content people see in their feed.

These algorithms are constantly changing, as the big tech social media companies are constantly trying to tweak them so that users are on their apps longer.

The longer users go scrolling on Instagram or Facebook, the more money Meta (the owners of Facebook + Instagram) makes.

How do they keep users on their apps longer? By suggesting content the user wants to see, so they keep clicking and scrolling.

How do they know what content the user wants to see?

  • They use tracking cookies to track what the user is interested in
  • They can see the user behavior to see what they clicked on, engaged with, etc.

They then use this information to optimize what the user sees and to keep them engaged.

Facebook Algorithm

The Facebook algorithm is constantly changing, but there are some key things to keep in mind when designing your social media strategy.

First, Facebook favors content from friends and family over businesses or brands. So if you’re trying to reach a new audience on Facebook, it’s important to create content that is shareable and that will encourage people to tag their friends.

This might be:

  • Giveaways
  • Content that’s funny or entertaining in some shape
  • Content that educates, inspires or gives users a new perspective

You can even consider using a personal profile, as they naturally have higher reach because Facebook wants to make businesses pay for ads.

Second, Facebook favors medium-form content and images over short posts or videos.

In terms of video content, Facebook favors native video content over links to external videos or articles. Again, this is because Facebook wants to maximize advertising revenue, so they aren’t trying to push people off their platform.

So if you’re sharing a video on Facebook, make sure it’s hosted on Facebook itself.

However, there are a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to Facebook videos:

  • They should be under three minutes, as people have short attention spans online.
  • The video should be visually appealing, with bright colors and engaging visuals.
  • The sound should be off by default, as many people scroll through Facebook without sound.
  • There should be a clear call to action at the end of the video.

Content that performs best: Videos, images, and medium-length written content

Instagram Algorithm

The Instagram algorithm favors visual content that catches attention easily. Most users on Instagram have a low attention span, so unless it’s posted on a topic or from someone they are really interested in, they will not go out of their way to read it.

Meaning: You should make your content visually appealing and easy to consume. We see some brands upload photos that are really a wall of text.

This doesn’t catch attention, so it’s likely not going to get engagement, and, therefore, won’t get picked up by the algorithm.

Generally speaking, the algorithm will promote posts that have a high engagement-to-impression ratio. Therefore, it’s important that you get as much engagement as possible so that the Instagram algorithm is taking your content and sending it to more feeds.

Here are some ways you can increase your engagement:

  • Ask questions/Fill in the blank posts
  • Post milestones/Happy announcements that people will like/congratulate
  • Create Challenge posts where users return to see the next post

Most importantly, the best way to reach your audience on Instagram is by using stories and reels.

When Instagram releases a new feature such as stories or reels, they often promote that feature in the algorithm, so creators use it more.

This is because most of the new features that Instagram releases directly compete with other social media platforms like Tiktok (IG reels) or Snapchat (IG stories).

And Instagram wants to become the most used platform for those formats too.

LinkedIn Algorithm

The LinkedIn algorithm is different from other social media platforms as it favors content that is timely and relevant to users’ professional lives.

It suggests the content by looking at which groups you’re in, who, and also what hashtags you follow.

From there, it suggests popular content – similar to other platforms.

As a creator, you’ll want to ensure you are posting content your audience is interested in, i.e. what they find helpful. You can also share milestones and company news as “feel good” content often gets good engagement.

Low engagement will trigger content quality filters to not suggest content.

Therefore, it’s important to:

  • Create engaging content (Blog posts, short-form stories, images, and videos all work well on LinkedIn)
  • Relevancy: Ensure your content is relevant to the audience to ensure you get engagement

Content that performs best: Medium to long-form content, photos with captions, and videos. Professional tone.

YouTube Algorithm

The YouTube algorithm is heavily based on watch time, so it’s important to create content that keeps people engaged.

This means your videos should be one of the following:

  • Entertaining
  • Educational
  • Informative
  • Funny

Ultimately, It should spark some type of emotion or hook the viewer.

You can also encourage engagement by:

Asking viewers to like and comment on your videos works, but it’s most effective when done in a creative way that catches their attention.

The other big factor for the YouTube algorithm is the click-through rate (CTR). The more videos you click, the more ad revenue YouTube makes, so they optimize by finding videos viewers are likely to click on and show them to them.

What does this mean for you?

  1. Create great eye-catching thumbnails
  2. Make the title interesting but don’t let it give away too much

You must also optimize your YouTube videos with the right keywords to get your content suggested to the right audience.

Bonus tip: YouTube shorts can be effective too as YouTube has a specific section for them now. You can check out our full article on YouTube shorts.

Designing a Social Media Strategy? 4 Simple Hacks To Keep in Mind

Finally, we wanted to walk you through some “algorithm hacks” that you can keep in mind when designing your social media strategy.

1 Repurpose Content to make it native to the platform

Every platform is trying to keep their users on their own platform so they make ad revenue. The content that performs best is native-form content, as it’s:

  • Not taking the user away
  • Optimized to the characteristics of the platform

Repurpose your content to make it native to every platform.

2 Run Questions, Giveaways, Controversy, etc.

Questions, Giveaways, etc. are a great way to get users to engage, which leads to the algorithm picking it up. You can also consider using controversy, and if you want to remain neutral, you can simply ask the audience if they agree or disagree with (Hot current/Controversial event).

3 Engagement bait people but don’t try to trick the algorithm through bots

There are many ways you can bait people into engaging. There are endless opportunities, whether it’s asking a controversial question or asking the audience to share their opinion on a topic.

And it works, the social media platforms will see that people are spending their attention on your post. Therefore, they will suggest it.

What doesn’t work: Buying botted followers or likes, as the platform will quickly be able to notice and won’t suggest your content to the next people.

4 Understand what your audience has emotional attachments to

One of the biggest algorithm hacks is to actually understand the people-side of it. Social media platforms try to suggest content the user is likely to click on because of intrigue, interest, and the will to feel good.

Understand what your audience:

  • Has emotional attachments too
  • Finds interesting or wants to learn
  • Gets entertained by

Once you understand this, you can adjust your content for this, and will naturally get a lot more engagement, so the algorithms will pick you up more.

Conclusion

Social media algorithms are important to understand because they heavily dictate how many people your content reaches.

The most important part of any social media platform is that you’re creating the native format of the platform and creating content the user actually wants to see. Because this way, they’ll engage with it, and the social media platform will keep sending it to the next person’s feed.

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