Have you ever noticed how relevant and relatable the content we view on social media is to us? It’s almost as if there’s someone on the other side who knows the people as well as the content that we enjoy engaging with. Ever wonder why that is? Well, our online behaviour contributes to the posts we see when scrolling through our timelines. Not only is this great for social media users but for marketers who can utilise these algorithms to target potential customers.

Here’s the rub, social media algorithms are constantly changing and are notoriously mysterious so, we’ve taken the liberty of breaking them down for you.

Social Media Algorithms Explained

Let’s start with a simple definition. According to Hubpages, social media algorithms are a set of rules created to show people content that they are either interested in or likely to engage with. In layman’s terms, an algorithm is formed by analysing a user’s online patterns and then relaying content that they have a high possibility of interacting with.

Now for a deep dive into this topic, let’s look at which social media platforms use algorithms and how. Keep in mind that algorithms are constantly changing, therefore it is important to always be up to date with what is relevant on each online platform.

Read more: The Power of Paid Social Media


Jacinda Santora explains that Facebook prioritises content from friends and family over brand posts as it favours meaningful interactions. Furthermore, it ranks posts that have a high chance of being viewed based on how likely the online user will have a positive reaction to the content.

So as a marketer how do you go about making this algorithm work in your favour? Be a conversation starter. Customers enjoy online engagements and for this reason, marketers should strike a balance between advertising and creating content that fosters interactions.

Have a thorough understanding of who your target audience is and what content they’re looking for when browsing through Facebook. Once you’ve understood what your target market needs, formulate an interesting topic and couple it with attention-grabbing images and videos to increase your chances of landing at the top of their news feeds.


Twitter boasts a range of algorithms that assist in organising and delivering content based on what the audience would like to view at a particular time. Keeping up with the latest trends, creating amazing content, and knowing when to post can help marketers thrive on this social media platform. Here are some of the algorithms to look out for:

  • Home Timeline – the ranking algorithm rearranges posts and recommends what it believes are the best tweets. By consistently tweeting quality content, you can maintain an active online presence and gain knowledge on the popular topics that your audience needs more information on.
  • Latest Tweets – this shows a real-time chronological timeline from the people that you follow, therefore tweeting at the right time can give marketers the exposure they need. Have a look at your Twitter Analytics to discover when your followers are most active for improved engagement.
  • Customisable Timelines – the last method allows customers to use Twitter Lists from the latest topics and trends to modify their timelines. Marketers can succeed in this space by joining relevant trends that educate audiences about what’s going on in the online world.

Suggested Reading: Brand Storytelling: How to Engage Your Target Audience On Social Media


LinkedIn is similar to Facebook in that it ranks content from people, pages, or companies that online users frequently engage with based on which posts are going to get the most likes, comments, and shares. In addition to this, dwell time is a contributing factor to a post’s popularity as it represents originality, quality, and interest.

Since this channel is rooted in creating business connections, maintaining a high level of professionalism and relevancy within your content can draw you closer to the desired market.


Finally, Instagram algorithms. What makes Instagram stand out from the rest? The fact that it’s more technical, therefore ranking at the top requires more effort. For example, Later states that the Instagram algorithm looks at the audience’s online activity to determine whether they prefer photo or video posts and what type of content they enjoy consuming.

Furthermore, it looks at who posted the relevant content, when it was posted and the number of engagements it received. This clearly shows how a lot of elements come into play when looking to trend on Instagram. But don’t despair! By focusing on creating unique, authentic content with detailed captions and relatable hashtags that the algorithm can easily identify, you’ll be off to a good start.

In addition to this, marketers need to stay up to speed with the latest Instagram features and content formats as it can fast track them to reaching the top of the explore page section of the app.

While you’re here: 6 Instagram Features For Effective Digital Marketing

Now that we have some insight into how social media algorithms work, surely being able to manoeuvre around these online platforms is going to be easy right? Well, it depends. There’s more to this topic than what meets the eye but implementing a strategic approach with clear intentions regarding what you want to achieve on each social media platform can go a long way.

To sum up, social media algorithms are part and parcel of the social media world, and having a basic understanding of what they are and how they work is a great tool for growing your social media presence. As explained above, knowing how to beat social media algorithms can be a challenge as they are continuously evolving, however, brands who are willing to adapt to this change stand a greater chance of staying relevant and reaping great benefits!

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