Social Media Algorithms

  • Introduction

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Instagram

  • LinkedIn

  • Conclusion


Put simply, social media algorithms are ways of sorting content. Nowadays, algorithms more often than not work based on relevancy rather than time of publication. 


Social media platforms are trying to ensure that the content they deliver to users is the content that will matter the most to them


It means that users get what they want. Due to the extensive growth of social media platforms, it’s easy to find your feeds getting taken over by content you don’t really want to see or care for. Social media algorithms are designed to stop this and make it so you only really see the content you care about and want to see.

Algorithms are constantly changing and being updated. It’s all about keeping up-to-date with what’s happening and understanding how it affects you and your social media account for a particular platform. Social media algorithms will give you something to focus on to ensure your content gets seen.


In January, Facebook changed its algorithm in a way that prioritised content from “friends, family and groups”. The algorithm focuses more on active interactions such as commenting and sharing. Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, states that this algorithm means people will “see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media”. Essentially it’s all about keeping users newsfeeds personal, with the content they want to see from their connections.


So what are the top ranking factors for Facebook’s algorithm?



This in particular will affect pages that rarely get comments on their posts. The lack of comments will mean the posts rankings will decline and those pages whose posts get commented on regularly will be ranked much higher. 

Essentially, this means that people and pages need to focus on posting content that will spark conversations and comments. This way, your page will be ranked higher through the interactions.



When it comes to reactions, a “love” is ranked more than a “like”. When a post is made and users react to it with a “love”, it will get a small boost on people’s newsfeed and will be ranked higher. This is the same for all reactions; all reactions besides the usual “like” are seen as active and therefore ranked higher in newsfeeds.


Comment replies

This is similar to how it favours comments; the algorithm also favours replies to those comments. It simply signifies a conversation and essentially, a meaningful interaction. You need to try and focus on sparking these conversations through your engaging content.


Sharing links over Messenger to friends 

Someone taking the time to share links to your content with their friends is one of the best meaningful interactions possible. If your content is really that good that someone has taken their time to share it amongst their connections; the Facebook algorithm will really favour this.


Engagement on shares

Facebook will also go as far as to favour those posts the most that not only get engagement on the original post, but also get engagements on the shared post.


So how do you increase your reach on Facebook now, organically?


Focus on video and live video

Facebook still favours posts that are videos, but more so now favour live videos. Live videos, according to Zuckerberg, “lead to discussion among viewers”. It’s also said that live videos get six times as many interactions than regular videos do. Live videos can help you gain more engagement and more meaningful interactions, which overall leads to a higher ranking due to the algorithm.


Avoid forced engagement

All too often, pages may force engagement on their posts. For example saying something like “comment if you like ice cream!”. These forced engagements are not the meaningful interactions Facebook are looking for, and therefore will rank them a lot less higher.


Keep creating quality content 

You cannot just stop posting content that you know your audience like because of the new algorithm. In fact, posting content that you know will gain you these meaningful interactions that Facebook so favours. You need to research into your audience and become truly familiar with what they like to see and what content they like. The more you know about your audience, the more you can tailor your posts and gain the engagement levels Facebook is looking for simply through your quality content.


Encourage people to like your page

Don’t ever be too shy to encourage people to like your page. Promote your page as much as possible and get people to like it. You can also encourage people to click “See First” in their newsfeed preferences on your page. This way, they will definitely see your posts first and foremost, regardless of the algorithm.


The Facebook algorithm is all about engagement and having interactions that mean something. It’s about having conversations with people and increasing levels of engagement you receive on posts.

Facebook only wants to show its users content that matters to them, so it’s important to create content that matters to people.




Unlike Facebook changing its algorithm only every once in a while, Twitter changes its algorithm constantly. The product manager of Twitter actually stated that the algorithm “changes on an almost daily to weekly basis”. The Twitter algorithm actually divides itself up into three sections…


Ranked tweets

This particular section will appear at the top of a users timeline. It will include only tweets that Twitter deems relevant to them. These tweets are, or should be, ordered in chronological order.


“In case you missed it” 

This section shows users tweets that they may have “missed” while they were away, and that they may miss completely without this section due to them being in the old timeline. These tweets are ordered according to their relevancy.



Once users have seen these two sections, they will see the rest of the tweets on their timeline in reverse chronological order. Users may also find retweets, promoted tweets, etc.


The algorithm will actually study your user account each time you look at Twitter, and will factor in things such as:


From the tweet itself

How recent it was posted, media (images or video), overall engagement


The tweet’s author

Your past interactions with said author, strength of connection with them, origin of mutual following



Tweets you found engaging in the past and how often you use Twitter


So how you increase reach on Twitter?


Re-use your top posts

It’s completely acceptable to re-post your posts. Think about this tactfully and re-post your top posts. Re-post the ones that gained you the most engagement and interactions. Popular tweets can spread further due to the algorithm. So don’t be afraid to post something twice if it performed very well, but perhaps think about altering it slightly.


Experiment with posting times

It’s important to experiment with posting times and find when your audience are the most active. Knowing when they’re the most active enables you to post at these times and hopefully gain higher levels of engagement than before. Essentially, experimenting with posting times and finding the optimum time enables your posts to be seen by many more people.


Try videos

This goes for any social platform. Videos are extremely effective as they grab the attention of users easier and quicker than plain text or images. There are plenty of video types you can adopt and fit around your strategy. They’re a brilliant way of catching people’s attention and getting them hooked.


Use hashtags 

This should be a tactic people use, regardless of the algorithm. Hashtags are one of the best ways to connect with new people and get your content in front of new audiences. Hashtags can also be branded and create a community. Hashtags allow people to discuss topics that interest them and this allows you to get involved in these discussions and create potential relationships.


The Twitter algorithm is a lot easier to work around and it still is easier than ever to be seen by the right people. Twitter makes the platform very accessible to everyone and allows communications and connections between anyone and everyone.

It’s still all about creating quality content that your followers will want to see and content that they will enjoy. You need to remember to keep them in mind and post what they want to see, to get the engagement you want and need.




Instagram’s algorithm change was not welcomed with open arms, but it stated that “users now see 90% of the posts from their friends and family, compared to 50% before”. This shows that the algorithm works in favour of some.


Every users feed is different. Here are the three factors Instagram uses to make up a feed…



This is based simply on the interactions a user has made with similar posts in the past. Instagram takes a guess as to how much the user will care about a certain post and rank it. This essentially means that the more engagement you get from users, the more chance your content will get to be shown high up in that user's feed again.



Instagram announced that their algorithm is going to “ensure that newer posts are more likely to appear first”. This essentially means that you need to experiment and do your research and discover what times your followers are most active and using Instagram to ensure you appear on their newsfeed.



This factor goes a lot deeper than just engagement. It analyses the relationship users have with you. It sees how often users tend to engage with your posts, in terms of liking and commenting and such. The more users engage with your content, the more chance they get of seeing your content ranked highly in their newsfeed.


So how do you exploit the algorithm and make it work for you?


Create great content 

This is one of the most simple steps to take. You need to continue creating great content that you know engages your audience and performs well. The more quality content you post, the more engagement you’re going to acquire and the higher you’re going to rank. You need to keep your audience interested in your content.


Know your followers

This is key to pretty much everything on social media or anything you do. You need to know your followers. You need to understand their needs and wants and what engages them the most. Instagram insights will give you some information on your followers such as gender, age, etc. and this will help you begin to build up a persona of your audience. The more you know about your audience, the better you can cater your content towards them.


Be engaged

It’s important for you to engage with your followers, too. You need to engage with them and get involved in conversations. The more social you are and the more you interact with people, the more of a motive it gives people to interact with you too.


Write captions that encourage engagement

Try writing captions that encourage discussions and conversations. Often, people love giving their opinions and thoughts and so giving them the opportunity to do so will work extremely effectively. However, you still need to remember to be authentic and don’t force interactions. Let conversations flow steadily and naturally.


Be relevant

You need to remember to keep your content consistently relevant. Keep it relevant to who you are, what you stand for and the message you’re trying to convey. Staying consistent allows your followers to really and truly get to know you and your values. You can also stay relevant through the use of hashtags; discover what hashtags people use when they’re in your niche or interested in what you have to offer, and use these hashtags to your advantage.


Essentially, Instagram is all about remaining consistent with beautiful content that engages people and encourages them to interact with you and your post. You need to really get to know your audience and understand what they like.



LinkedIn algorithm is actually designed to make the homepage feed more enticing and user friendly. To begin with, your feed has a spam filter, which determines whether your content shows up in the feed, how far an audience it reaches and whether to take you down as a spam user. These are the stages your content goes through in their algorithm…


Content is posted and passes a filter 

Each time you post on LinkedIn, a bot will put your content into one of three categories: spam, low quality or clear. Clear is the one you’re aiming for. If you get placed into the low quality category, you only have a slim chance of making it to the next stage in the content algorithm.


Content is left on feed temporarily to measure engagement

This stage is all about the levels of engagement from your audience. The more your audience like, comment and share your content, the better. If people begin to flag your post as spam or hide it, the algorithm will see this and you’ll have little chance of making it to the next step.


Content passes a virality check

If your content makes it through to this step, the algorithm looks at the quality of your account and your network. This is because, technically, a spammer could have posted and acquired hundreds of likes and comments from other spammers. At this stage, your content may also be checked for relevance and usefulness.


Content is reviewed by human editor

This stage is where your content is reviewed by real people to determine whether your post is valuable enough to continue displaying in the LinkedIn feed. It’s all about if your post gets high amounts of engagement, the cycle will continue and it will keep being shown.


So how do you beat the LinkedIn algorithm?


Understand the type of content LinkedIn wants

The LinkedIn algorithm aims to show users news, job posts and popular content related to your career. Content can be images, videos, article posts, webpage links or text. It’s said that any content you post should be…


Be of value to someone’s career

Offer a tip related to business growth

Inspire someone in their work life

Be relevant to the industry in which you operate in

Come from a credible source


Build your audience strategically

Relevance, credibility, followers and connections all play a big part in the algorithm. This is why it’s so important to be growing your audience on LinkedIn. To help grow your audience you can do things such as…


Fill out your profile as much as possible and keep it updated

Add connections

Encourage employees to show that they work at your company on their personal profiles

Follow others

Participate in LinkedIn groups

Give recommendations

Join conversations and be active


Strive to be an influencer

An influencer is to LinkedIn what a verified tick is to Twitter. They’re, essentially, credible users that write content that is approved by LinkedIn editors. To become a LinkedIn influencer has become much harder, it used to be a matter of applying to be one - but now it’s described as a “select club of invite only users”. LinkedIn has given advice on how to get one step closer to becoming an influencer.


Optimise content for engagement

When you post content on LinkedIn, it needs to be optimised for engagement and quality. LinkedIn gives tips for producing the best content…


Include puns or fun jokes to make professionals laugh (usually at their industry)

Provide useful, career related tips

Show impressive industry or company stats

Keep it short and include a link, image or video

Evoke an emotion


It’s about creating content that is engaging, interesting and entertaining.


Post at the right time

It’s all well and good producing great content, but if you’re posting it at the wrong time, what’s the point? If you post your content at a time where no one, or at least none of your audience, is online, then no one is going to see it. It’s important to post at a time where the majority of people are online and browsing LinkedIn. It’s more often than not a matter of experimenting and determining what posting times get you the most engagement.


Share peoples posts

Be kind to others and they’ll be kind to you, simple as. Share other people’s content, engage with them, build connections with them, etc. Chances are, they’ll reciprocate your effort. This, in turn, increases your profile popularity and potential reach.


LinkedIn is about building connections and sharing relevant, useful information and content to your audience. You need to remain professional as well as being friendly and authentic.




All social media algorithms are different. They all have their own unique way of ranking and showing posts in users newsfeed, and knowing all these unique ways ensures you know how to get the best out of social media.


It’s important to always remember that social media is for being social


It’s about having interactions that mean something and having high engagement levels, not just from your followers but from yourself, too. You need to interact with your followers and encourage discussions and conversations. You also need to remember that the better quality content you create and post, the better results you’re going to acquire. 

Social media algorithms are changing constantly. It’s recommended to keep updated with the most recent changes to ensure you maintain your high performing social media pages.