July 2, 2018


By Madeline Balicoco

Algorithm. When it comes to social media marketing, it’s an elusive concept that many of us strive to keep up with — and if this isn’t on your radar, it definitely should be. Simply put, an algorithm is a set of guidelines that describes how to perform a task. For social media channels, it determines how posts are delivered to our feeds. As digital marketers, this is a crucial element for us to understand so we can optimize our content to gain positive engagement and impactful reach. That’s why we’re giving you a quick run-down on what you need to know about social media algorithms:


So how does Facebook’s algorithm work? According to Social Media Today, it’s made up of four key elements:

  1. First, it looks at inventory, which is the entire collection of content you could be shown.
  2. Then, the algorithm assesses a range of signals, like your previous engagement behavior, who the post came from and when it was posted, to determine how important the post will be to you.
  3. Based on these assessments, the algorithm makes predictions on how likely you’ll comment, share or engage with the content.
  4. Finally, the predictions are weighted and converted into a number that represents how valuable the story is to you. These scores determine where each post will appear on your feed.

Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it’s focusing on encouraging more person-to-person engagement. This means that the algorithm puts a heavier emphasis on placing posts that spark conversations between friends and families.


Like Facebook’s algorithm, Instagram creates a unique feed for everyone based on past interactions. According to TechCrunch, the visual-centric platform relies on three main factors for its algorithm:

  1. Interest: Based on your past engagement, the algorithm will determine how interested you’ll be in each post. Additionally, it uses image recognition tools to assess the visual content of posts.
  2. Timeliness: It also considers when the post was published, prioritizing recent posts over ones that are weeks old.
  3. Relationship: Lastly, it factors in your relationship with the post creator based on how much you’ve engaged with them in the past. This could include comments and likes, direct messages and how much you’ve been tagged in their posts. A higher frequency of back-and-forth engagement will lead to an increased likelihood of your content being incorporated into each person’s individualized feed.


Believe it or not, the real time platform does use algorithms. Although they’re much less advanced than Facebook’s, they also aim to foster engagement.

  1. The “In case you missed it” section highlights the most popular tweets from the people you follow.
  2. Its algorithm also shows you tweets that people you follow have liked or responses to tweets from people you engage with.

This means that likes and replies to your own tweets will help spread it to those users’ followers, which boosts the value of engagement even more.

With each major platform’s algorithm, you can see a clear trend — encouraging authentic interactions. That’s what puts the “social” in social media! It’s all about creating genuine relationships and offering valuable content. If you’re ready to make that happen, shoot us an email at info@olivecreativestrategies.com.