Here's Exactly How the Algorithms Work for Instagram, Facebook and TikTok

While the social media algorithms might seem elusive, they are more intuitive than you think! Read on to learn how to create content that meets the algorithms' standards.

Every social media post needs to cater to two audiences: your followers and the platform’s algorithms. 

Nailing down what resonates with your followers takes trial and error, but pleasing the algorithms isn’t quite as difficult as you might think. All it takes is some research and careful planning! 

In this blog, we are going to cover what algorithms value and reward right now for Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Let’s get started! 

1. Instagram’s algorithm

There are 6 core elements that the Instagram algorithms consistently monitor to personalize your scrolling experience. 

Those elements are: 

  • Your relationship with the person posting content
  • Your past interest in and engagement with the type of post
  • The timing of the post
  • How often you check and browse Instagram
  • How many people you follow
  • How much time you spend on Instagram per day 

As a business owner and brand, these elements are out of your control as you’re crafting posts. 

Here are the 9 algorithm elements you can consider when making your content: 

  • Increase your engagement with other creators and users
  • Prioritize creating Reels and video content using multiple filters and effects
  • Don’t repost TikTok videos with their watermark 
  • Always follow the Instagram Community Guidelines 
  • Post at strategic, high-traffic times during the day 
  • Make it easy for followers to interact with your posts through polls and questions
  • Research and use trending hashtags
  • Post content consistently 
  • Pay attention to your analytics and make improvements 

Overall, the Instagram algorithms reward accounts and posts that create engagement, spend time on the platform interacting with other accounts and use Instagram’s latest features (right now, that’s Reels). 

It’s important to remember that all social media platforms are becoming more video-centric. If your business’s social strategy is photo heavy, steadily increasing your video content is a surefire way to increase engagement and reach. 

Lastly, along with creating a cadence for yourself to implement analytics findings, it’s also a good idea to regularly check for algorithm updates and new platform features so that each of your posts gets the attention it deserves!

2. Facebook algorithm

Similar to Instagram, Facebook’s algorithm will fill your feed with posts from people you interact with most, the type of content you engage with most and posts that your friends have engaged with. 

There are a couple of features that Facebook offers to help you have a little more control over what kinds of posts you see. 

You can add accounts and pages to your Favorites list. The Favorites list is a list of 30 accounts and/or pages that you prefer to see first and most often in your feed. You can access and customize your Favorites list under Settings & Privacy and then News Feed Preferences. 

If you don’t like certain kinds of content, there’s always the option to click “I don’t want to see this” and “Hide post.” Taking these actions on posts will disincentivize the algorithms from serving similar posts to you in the future. 

The above algorithm workings aren’t things you can control when making posts. However, there are a few variables you can implement into your posts to give them the best chance of being seen by a wide audience:

  • Create content that’s meaningful, informative and truthful 
  • Interact with your followers and other accounts 
  • Prioritize creating Facebook Stories and Reels
  • Posting status updates is still valuable even amidst an increasingly video-centric shift

Again, don’t forget to prioritize video posts over photo posts and to consistently implement changes based on your account’s analytics data! 

3. TikTok 

If your business isn’t on TikTok, now is the time to create an account and start posting. Experts have speculated that there’s about two years left before the platform becomes saturated and explosive growth is much more difficult.

To help your business grow and thrive on this platform, here are the main algorithm values right now: 

  • Feeds populate with videos that have a high number of likes, comments, views and shares 
  • Posts are organized into categories that individual users gravitate towards
  • TikTok prioritizes content created locally to you 
  • Videos using trending audio are more likely to reach wider audiences
  • Using trending hashtags and keywords in captions increases the video’s reach 
  • Posts from accounts you’ve previously interacted with will be continually served 
  • A video’s watch time either incentivizes the algorithms to serve similar videos if the watch time is high or disincentivizes it from serving if the watch time is low 
  • Content equipped with “accessible” features will be served more 
  • Videos using new and multiple filters and effects are prioritized 

As with Facebook and Instagram, there are only a few of these elements that you can control when creating videos for your business.

The best ones to focus on are: 

  • Using trending audio
  • Niching down to increase watch time and engagement 
  • Making sure the video is accessible with text on the screen 

Final thoughts…

Pleasing the algorithms might seem like a daunting task, but if you focus your energies on creating content that’s original to your business and meaningful to your followers, odds are you’ll meet the algorithm's standards along the way! 

Effective social strategies are within reach when you have a team of experts behind you. If you want to learn more about what it’s like to have RevLocal handle your business’s digital marketing, check out our other resources or contact us for a free consultation!

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