I’m sure you’ve already heard of the algorithm changes coming to Instagram and Twitter. What does it mean, how does it work and how should you change your social media strategy to compensate? That’s what we’re here to talk about!
What is an Algorithm?
An algorithm in general is a series of components that pull together to solve a problem.
More specifically within social media, an algorithm is known to take several different pieces of information into account that will lead to determining what each user is most interested in. Based on those results, the algorithm reorders what you see in your News Feed so you will (ideally) get the most enjoyment out of perusing the content of others.
In even simpler terms, the purpose of an algorithm is to bring the most enjoyable content to the top of your Feed.
What Goes into an Algorithm?
The platforms all seem to have a similar strategy in their algorithm changes. They pull in different components from two specific areas:
- Your behavior on their platform, and
- The results of each particular post to determine if it’s worthy of your sight
Being owned by Facebook–the social media algorithm pioneer– Instagram seems to feel very confident they know what we’d like to see.Why do algorithms exist & how should I adjust my strategy? Click To Tweet
In a March 15, 2016 blog post, they said:
“To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.”
Hm… I’m wondering how they determine what we care about most, aren’t you?
Well, they do give us a few hints. They mention that the three components they are looking at to determine whether or not you’ll love the content from those you follow:
- The likelihood you’ll enjoy the content,
- Your relationship with the user who posted it, and
- The timeliness of the post
Let’s break those three pieces down just a bit more…
1. The likelihood you’ll enjoy the content
We can assume the information they use to determine what content you enjoy includes data from the posts you’ve ‘liked’, clicked, shared or commented on.
That should bring a bit of pause before putting on the roll of the ‘sympathetic liker’. Think twice before clicking ‘like’ (or its equivalent) on posts just to appease someone or pump up their ego. This could change the results you start to see in your customized, algorithm-filled News Feed.Take pause before putting on the role of the 'sympathetic liker'. Click To Tweet
2. Your relationship with the user who posted it
Facebook, and now potentially Instagram and Twitter, are looking to see how fond you are of a user before throwing all of their content into your Feed. Do you follow them? Do you engage with their content? Do you tag them? Do you dress similarly? (Ok, just joking on that one!)
If isolating this piece of the algorithm calculation, it sounds like these social platforms are doing best to tailor these algorithm changes based on a categorization of best friends first, acquaintances last.