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A Guide to Navigating Social Media Algorithms

maze, labyrinth, algorithm

Social media algorithms can feel like mystical forces, controlling the fate of all our posts in the vast digital universe. Like wizards behind a curtain, these algorithms determine who sees our content and when. This blog of algo basics is for anyone who ever found themselves wondering why some posts go viral, while others fade into obscurity. 

Understanding the Algorithm Mystique

First, let’s demystify what an algorithm is. An algorithm is essentially a set of rules or calculations that social media platforms use to decide which content appears in users' feeds. Each platform has its unique algorithm, and while their inner workings are closely guarded secrets, we know they prioritize content based on engagement, relevance, and timeliness.

Think of algorithms as the magical sorting hats of the social media world. (Yes I’ve been reading the series to my son, so here we go with an HP reference regardless of how old school it is) So, they sift through millions of posts, deciding which ones will make it to the top of your feed, much like how the sorting hat decides which Hogwarts house you belong to. 

Now, in order to avoid being a complete Hufflepuff, read on about… 

Facebook’s Algorithm: The Edgerank Enchanter

Facebook's algorithm, known as Edgerank, is all about engagement. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Engagement:

  • The more likes, comments, and shares a post gets, the more likely it is to be seen. Facebook loves content that sparks conversations.

  • Tip: Ask open-ended questions and encourage discussions in the comments.

2. Relevance:

  • Facebook tries to show users content that is relevant to them based on their interests and interactions.

  • Tip: Know your audience and tailor your content to their interests.

3. Timeliness:

  • Newer posts are more likely to be shown than older ones.

  • Tip: Post when your audience is most active to maximize visibility.

Imagine Edgerank as a quirky librarian who loves gossip. The more buzz content generates, the more likely it is to be recommended to others.

Instagram’s Algorithm: The Visual Virtuoso

Instagram’s algorithm focuses on six key factors:

1. Interest:

  • If Instagram thinks you’ll like a post based on past behaviour, it’s more likely to appear in your feed.

  • Tip: Post visually appealing content that resonates with your audience’s interests. 2. Timeliness:

  • Like Facebook, Instagram favours recent posts.

  • Tip: Use Instagram Insights to find the best times to post.

  1. Relationship:

  • Posts from accounts you interact with frequently are prioritized.

  • Tip: Engage with your followers regularly through comments and DMs.

  1. Frequency:

  • How often you open Instagram influences the content you see.

  • Tip: Post consistently to stay in your followers’ feeds.

  1. Following:

  • The more accounts you follow, the more content Instagram has to choose from, so it narrows down to the most engaging posts.

  • Tip: Make your posts stand out with high-quality visuals and engaging captions.

  1. Session Time:

  • How long you spend on Instagram affects the variety of posts you see.

  • Tip: Create captivating content that keeps users on your profile longer.

Think of Instagram’s algorithm as a trendy art curator, always on the lookout for the most aesthetically pleasing and engaging pieces to showcase.

Twitter’s Algorithm: The Tweet Tactician

Twitter’s algorithm is all about immediacy and relevance:

  1. Recency:

  • Newer tweets are more likely to appear at the top of your timeline.

  • Tip: Tweet during peak times for maximum exposure.

  1. Engagement:

  • Tweets with high engagement (retweets, likes, replies) are prioritized.

  • Tip: Craft tweets that encourage retweets and replies.

  1. Content-Type:

  • Media-rich tweets (images, videos, GIFs) often perform better.

  • Tip: Use visuals to make your tweets stand out.

  1. Personalization:

  • Twitter tailors your timeline based on your interests and past interactions.

  • Tip: Engage with tweets and accounts that align with your niche.

Imagine Twitter’s algorithm as a hyperactive news editor, always seeking the freshest and most relevant stories to push to the front page.

TikTok’s Algorithm: The FYP Sorcerer

TikTok’s For You Page (FYP) is the holy grail of exposure on the platform. Here’s what TikTok’s algorithm considers:

  1. User Interaction:

  • Likes, shares, comments, and watch time influence what you see.

  • Tip: Create engaging and shareable content to increase watch time.

  1. Video Information:

  • Captions, sounds, and hashtags play a crucial role.

  • Tip: Use trending sounds and relevant hashtags to boost visibility.

  1. Device and Account Settings:

  • Language preference, country setting, and device type are also considered.

  • Tip: Tailor your content to your target demographic’s preferences.

  1. Completion Rate:

  • Videos that are watched to the end are more likely to be pushed by the algorithm.

  • Tip: Hook viewers in the first few seconds to keep them watching.

Picture TikTok’s algorithm as an enthusiastic DJ, spinning the tracks that keep the crowd (users) dancing and coming back for more.

Strategies for Mastering Social Media Algorithms

  1. Consistency is Key:

  • Regular posting keeps your content fresh and relevant. Consistency helps you stay in the algorithm’s favour across all platforms.

  1. Engage, Engage, Engage:

  • Interaction boosts visibility. Respond to comments, join discussions, and engage with your audience’s content.

  1. Quality Over Quantity:

  • High-quality content is more likely to be favoured by algorithms. Invest time in creating polished, valuable posts rather than churning out low-quality content.

  1. Use Analytics:

  • Leverage platform analytics to understand what works and when. Adjust your strategy based on performance data.

  1. Experiment with Formats:

  • Mix up your content with different formats like videos, polls, stories, and live sessions. Diverse content keeps your audience engaged and algorithms happy.

  1. Leverage Hashtags and Keywords:

  • Relevant hashtags and keywords improve discoverability. Research trending tags and use them strategically.

  1. Stay Updated:

  • Social media platforms frequently update their algorithms. Stay informed about changes and adjust your strategy accordingly.


Navigating social media algorithms might feel like trying to decode an ancient language, but with the right strategies, we can turn the tide in our favour. By understanding how these algorithms work and tailoring content to meet their criteria, we can increase reach, engagement, and ultimately, social media success.

Remember, while algorithms play a significant role, authenticity and genuine engagement are irreplaceable. Keep your content true to your brand, stay consistent, and enjoy the journey of connecting with your audience in the ever-dynamic world of social media. 

Fare Well 😊 


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