How Do Social Media Algorithms Sort Content?

When you hear an algorithm, you probably think of Google, Bing, or another search engine. Businesses spend a lot of time and money on SEO strategies that improve how their website appears in search engine result pages (SERPs). Fortunately, there are endless resources on tactics you can employ to improve your placement on SERPs. From improving content to website speed there are a plethora of good strategies. But what about social media. Like Google, social platforms rank content through an algorithm. And if your business has a presence and a following on social platform you will likely want your content to rank well.

Relevancy, Recency, & Resonance

For a while there was a myth many consumers believed (and some still do) that when they open Facebook or Instagram they are just seeing posts in the order they were posted. On the business side, this meant posting was only based on an ideal schedule. You want to post right before “rush hour” right when people are likely to be on their phone (i.e. a lunch break) but before they will post something that drowns out your post. But in reality, there is a lot more on Facebook & Instagram’s ranking algorithm than just recency. On Instagram, the first filter is relevancy; what is the likelihood your content would interest the user. The description of the post, hashtags, the account’s bio, and name are all considered in this relevancy metric.

The second framework that is used is recency. Recency is all about when the post was made. Scheduling is still very important, although if you scroll through Instagram you will likely see posts from a few days ago. And that is because of the third metric: resonance. If you look up any Instagram account or Facebook page with thousands of fans, you may only see tons of likes on their posts. This is because if posts aren’t interacted with consistently, the posts stop being ranked in user’s feeds. If User A doesn’t like a business’s posts ten times in a row, the social platform will stop ranking the posts highly.

Best Practices For Social Media

What can we learn from relevancy, recency, and resonance? First, engaging content matters. Facebook is a business first and they make a lot of money on social ads. There isn’t a high priority for them to make it easy for businesses to rank on their platforms for free. Additionally, the over-saturation of business accounts on Facebook & Instagram have likely driven some users away from the platforms. That is two separate incentives for Facebook & Instagram to not cater to businesses looking to rank organically on social media. So an algorithm that can filter out businesses on the basis of relevancy or resonance is beneficial to them. (This is why every time a post does marginally better you will get a notification asking if you want to “boost it”). Here are the key takeaways.

  • Post Density: Instead of worrying about when to post, we should really consider how often we should post. Overposting can decrease our likes per post and phase our account out of our followers’ feeds.
  • Engaging Content: It goes without saying, but you should make sure your posts are engaging. Reposting old content or relying too heavily on stock images can decrease your engagement rates.
  • Using Stories: Another effective tactic is to use stories to reach followers who might not be seeing your posts. Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook have story features that allow users to choose which stories they want to view.

For More Information Contact Boston Web Marketing

The team at Boston Web Marketing is determined to provide realtime social media strategies based on the best practices. Often times agencies argue for simply more social media or do not track analytics for posts. We know that the key to success is data-driven strategies. For more information please contact us.

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