19 min to read

The definition of Algorithm: How can you use it for your social media strategy?

Source: Unsplash.

Remember when you searched for NFTs on Google and suddenly ads from these cryptocurrencies started showing in your feed? Or that time when you talked with your couple about buying a new mattress, and suddenly, like a coincidence from destiny, different styles of bed started showing on Amazon?

What is happening here? Is it that the government implanted nanochips on our smartphones to spy on us and know every single move we make from day to night? Are those evil cookies that we accept every time we enter a blog? Do we have privacy? WHAT IS THIS?!?

Don't panic,  this is nothing but a technology called Algorithms that was invented to track and evaluate what we usually consume on social media platforms or search engines.

If you are into social media marketing, you may have heard this term a lot of times; it is almost everywhere on search engines and social media, but what is the meaning of algorithm? And, an even better question is how you can use it to crush it in your social media strategy.

Let's find out how we can get into the matrix of social media by figuring out how this technology works, and with that, using it to our business advantage.

But first, we must answer.

What is the meaning of "Algorithm"?

An algorithm is a set of instructions programmed to solve a mathematical problem or perform a function. Most computers and programs are full of these patterns to achieve all the activities we make with our computers or laptops.

When you look at programmers writing lines and lines of code, they are programming these computers to perform each task in a specific order or with a situational modality, where programs respond depending on the user's decisions.

Nevertheless, if we go back to the oldest times, algorithms have been used way before our existence. For example, Greeks invented the   Euclidean algorithm the greatest common divisor between two numbers, and mathematicians from Babylonia and Egypt used division algorithms 2.500 BC, and even Indian mathematics has been predominantly algorithmic.

Cool, so now that we know the core idea of an algorithm, as a digital marketing agency, we must answer...

Source: YouTube.

What is a social media algorithm?

Different from mathematical or programmatic algorithms, in social media, these programs are adapted to make users' experiences more fittable to their needs and tastes. These algorithms sort posts in your feed based on the likelihood you are going to interact with them.

So why do NFTs start showing in your feed after you search for them on Google? Easy because the algorithm perceived that you liked this type of content and sent it to you to make your navigating experience suited to your preferences.

But your search history is not the only thing in which algorithms take the info about yourself, close friends and accounts you interact more with will take a huge part in this analysis, and so they are more likely to be in your first spots on your feed. 

Chances are you’ve been recommended videos to watch on YouTube, right? This is again based on your behavior, digging into what you’ve watched in the past and what users like yourself are watching. Elements such as categories, #tags, and keywords also factor into recommended content on any given network.

Source: Unsplash.

But what is the goal of these social media algorithms?

Since the arrival of social media, creating and uploading content of all kinds has become much more accessible than when radio and Tv were the only communication platforms.

With so much content from such different niches, it becomes more difficult to reach your audience if no mechanism shows specifically what you want to see.

For this reason, the algorithm is excellent at selecting what you like, nothing more, and getting what you don't out of the way.

However, the algorithm is not without controversy. Times were those in which Instagram photos were displayed in chronological order, and overnight, the algorithm shocked us to start displaying photos according to our relevance.

This has made ads one of the most effective ways to reach our consumers, and in turn, the largest source of income for the creators of these social networks. Coincidence? No, we don't think so!

But algorithms are no obstacle for a digital marketing agency, in fact, in Codedesign we have our algorithm, but before showing our best weapons, we'd like to teach you something.

How to use algorithms to your advantage?

It's time! We will decipher the great secrets behind each algorithm for the most popular social networks.  So let's get inside the matrix of social networks and figure out how you can work with the algorithm of each platform and make your posts seen by all your followers.

Let's start!


Source: Unsplash.

Facebook's algorithm has a "personalized ranking" that determines what people see and what order content shows on feeds. Meta has a group of AI professionals working on the algorithm's capabilities to deliver relevant and popular content to their audiences. According to Facebook, they use their algorithm to:

"arrange all of the content you could see on [the feed, Search, Marketplace, Groups, and Watch] to show you the things we think you may be most personally interested in at the top of each surface."

Depending on their importance, this algorithm has ranking signals to add, remove or adjust any post or reel. By 2023, these are some of the recognized ranking signals:

  • Facebook connections are the people and users you interact with most.
  • Content type: Depending on what kind of content you like the most, it is what you'll get. If you watch more videos, you will get more of them; if you like photos more, that's what it will show you.
  • Engagement level: If your posts get more likes and engagement, Facebook's algorithm will boost your digital presence - even more if your engagement is from people you already have interactions with.
  • Content quality: The social media platform is willing to give more protagonism to those posts that they describe as "meaningful," "informative," "accurate," and "authentic."

You can also "train" your algorithm to indicate what you like. To do this, you can:

  • Choose favorites: You can select either pages or people you like more, so the platform will show you more of their content. Paradoxically, you can do the opposite and indicate to the algorithm those accounts you want to unfollow or snooze.
  • In-feed options: With this option, you can click on any post to either hide, snooze the user or remove these from favorites. This process helps the algorithm better understand what content you want to see more and less.

Your business wealth must be updated with Facebook's community standards, as this can block your content. By today's standards, the platform is reducing distribution of "content that people find objectionable," like "misinformation, a sensationalized health claim, or clickbait," so you have to take more effort into creating less spammy or salesy content and more informational or valuable ones.

As for specific words, you should avoid when working with Facebook, there are:

  • Threatening or violent language: Harassing language,  sexist, homophobic, racist, ableist.
  • Terms related to harmful stereotypes
  • Slurs

2023 Facebook feed algorithm

For the latest updates, Facebook has other factors to determine the people, brands and groups you can see in your feed. The program uses a four-step process to define it:

  • Inventory: This is all the content from people, pages and groups you follow, adding relevant ads and content based on your activity.
  • Signals: These are the ranking signals we mentioned above.
  • Predictions: With ranking signals data, the algorithm can make custom predictions about the content you enjoy most.
  • Relevance: Depending on each post's relevance and how many interactions it has, they get the highest score and show up closer to your feed.

2023 Facebook Reels algorithm

As the newest Facebook feature, there must be more information about how this algorithm works. Nevertheless, there are some good practices to make it work to your advantage.

As a video format, there is one golden rule for you to be successful with it: creating high-quality content. This means you make visually pleasing videos with good illumination and clear sound. The content may offer valuable and insightful information in the shortest amount of time, as this is similar to TikTok's feed format. Some things to upgrade your reels strategy are:

  • Be entertaining, show something worth watching and even re-watching, as the number of views is another ranking factor.
  • Start a trend or challenge.
  • Add music only if it doesn't take the focal point from your information. If you are going to show the features of your product, it would be great to put some music with it, but if it is an explanatory video, adding music needs to be more sense as this can distract your viewers. In any case, music can be at a low volume.
  • Record vertically

Things to avoid:

  • Horizontal video
  • Low-resolution videos
  • Watermarks

Now, we offer more tips to make your account more liked by this algorithm.

Create meaningful content

Rather than the old just selling, now it's important to deliver meaningful and informative content.

Facebook's algorithm doesn't want sales ads, it wants posts that move feelings in people, which can be expressed through Facebook's reactions. Your posts must:

  • Evoke good emotions
  • Answer your customer's questions, leaving a tiny bit of suspense at the end.
  • Generate a type of conversation in the comments.

We must emphasize making your users interact since it is the best way to show the algorithm that your posts generate real engagement.

Once your post starts receiving more love from your customers, the algorithm will pick your publications to be shown on everyone's feed.

So, instead of writing a generic copy like "We are the best SEO agency", try something like "Three secret SEO tips you didn't know", and just at the end of the post make a call to action to visit your website.

Leads and web traffic will grow like you couldn't imagine!

Schedule your posts to the best times.

Remember, we are not in the old days when posts were chronological. Nowadays, you have to post when your audience is more active. This is because Facebook's algorithm prioritizes posts with high engagement, which depends more on time than even the quality of them.

To do this, the platform has its statistics where you can find your higher audience hours, and platforms like Hootsuite or Sprout can help you schedule all your calendar.

Make video a huge part of your content.

Video is some of the easiest content to consume, which is why the popularity of networks like TikTok has exploded so massively.

So much so, that Mark was not going to be left behind, and like any good marketer, he has literally copied the TikTok format with his reels on Facebook, and obviously on Instagram. And it is that today, although it may sound worrying, people do not like to read, what is more, to a certain extent they do not like to think so much, and that is why these short videos in which capsules of information are condensed they are so addictive for consumers.

The addition of this type of content makes it one of the most likely to grow on Facebook, so taking advantage of stories and reels is great for you to achieve a good relationship with the algorithm.

Include your work team in your sharing campaign.

The best advocates are already within your brand, so you can save quite a bit just by including them in your promotion strategy.

Let's see, Facebook tries to be more friendly to families and friends, and who are the closest friends and family of your brand? Exactly, your work team.

If your team is in charge of sharing more content about your brand in this network, the algorithm will see this as a topic that will trigger debate and activity within the network, which will make it more visible to the followers of your workers.

Prioritize photos and videos over external links.

Facebook's source of income is in the number of hours we spend using the network, and if you include many links that take users out of it, Facebook will not like that.

We are not saying that you eliminate external links, but if you want the algorithm to choose you, take advantage of placing valuable content that makes people stay longer viewing or reading your post. Check this guide on investor outreach process.

However, as we said, it is more about visual content, that is not only liked by Facebook, it is loved by all consumers today. Check this guide on investor outreach process.


Source: Unsplash.

In this case, we see a difference from Facebook, as Instagram does not have a single algorithm but rather a combination of algorithms, processes and classifiers that build a personal experience for every user. The algorithm was chronological in the early Instagram stages - when everything was more uncomplicated. Nevertheless, in 2023 it is now a more sophisticated system to determine how to display content based on what each user cares about.

Instagram confirms that each app part has its algorithm, so the feed and explore page have different systems due to consumer behavior in the platform. For example, people will look at friends' stories, but they want fresh and new content on the discover page.

With this sophisticated ranking system, the platform ensures that every user will have a personal experience based on their preferences. This is great even if you manage multiple accounts, as all of them will have their preferences delimited according to your interaction.

How Instagram ranks feed posts and stories

Similar to almost every platform in this article, Instagram's algorithm will do its job to show you content from family, friends and brands you interact with the most. Nevertheless, ads will also be shown depending on what you look like. Returning to the example at the top of the article, if you look for NFTs, many ads will appear instantly in your feed, stories and even when you are checking someone else's profile. The ranking factors for Instagram to prioritize posts are the following:

  • Post information: Instagram will check the popularity of your posts in terms of likes and engagement. It also considers other details like post timing, duration (in the case of videos), and location (if any).
  • Information about the poster: To choose those accounts that will show up more on your feed, Instagram will consider those with whom you interact more constantly.
  • User activity: The platform evaluates the type of content you consume or how many posts on a specific topic you give a like to deliver more of it.
  • Interaction history: The platform can better understand your preferences by analyzing which accounts you interact with or comment on more - and vice versa.

Then, like Facebook, Instagram will predict how likely you will interact with any post. 

How the Instagram Explore page algorithm works

The Explore page wants you to discover new things, so based on your interests, it will show you posts you could like, but from pages you don't follow. Then, to organize content for your explore page, the algorithm will consider the same ranking factors as the previous one and will group accounts with topics and content that you might find interesting.

How Instagram ranks reels

 Reels are videos whose sole goal is to entertain you, and to dispatch them to your account Instagram will use similar processes to the Explore page to identify those reels you'll be willing to watch until the end. This format is an almost identical copy of the TikTok format; however, we will discuss its algorithm later. In the same way, as the audios are an essential factor in replicating videos on TikTok, Instagram will also consider your interaction with these audios to recommend some with which you can create your reels. Within the ranking factors for the reels, we get:

  • User activity: The platform evaluates the reels you interact with to send you more relevant to your taste.
  • Interaction history: Similar to the explore page, there is a high chance that you will see many accounts you don't follow on reels. So, depending on how much you interact with them, Instagram will send more or fewer videos from these.
  • Reel information: The social media platform will include info like audio tracks or popularity to rank videos.
  • Information about the poster: Regarding reels, Instagram tries to give an equal chance for any content creator to find their audience. Ideally, this is good for smaller creators or new accounts wanting to find their relevant audience. Like many platforms, video popularity is essential for any video reach.

What Instagram avoids recommending

While social media platforms try to give freedom of speech to their users, there are always guidelines you must follow to avoid getting punished by Instagram. These are some of the content that the platform doesn't like:

  • The Misinformative content by third-party fact-checkers. These are shown a lot in feeds and stories.
  • Upsetting or sensitive content, for example, consumption of authorized drugs like tobacco or alcohol.
  • Political content that focuses on political parties as well as government officials.
  • Low-resolution or watermarked videos.
  • Low-resolution or watermarked

Now that you know more about this topic let's see how you can take advantage of it.

Create reels. This is the ultimate algorithm magnet.

The competition is fierce regarding social networks, and since TikTok has become one of the most popular platforms, Instagram and the other networks will not sit idly by, instead, they copy the same format.

Like Facebook, Instagram promotes its reels as the most shown novelty within this platform. That's why you need to create videos of this type so that the algorithm gives visibility to your content.

The idea is to seek to adapt audios that can be adapted to your niche and have over 5,000 videos. You must create short videos that have the potential to be viewed many times, which gives you more viewing time and increases your chances of going viral.

Schedule your posts at the right time for maximum reach.

Same as Facebook, if you want followers to interact with your posts, you have to make them at the hours with more user interaction. You can check all of this on statistics if you turn your Instagram profile to professional.

Post consistently

The fact of constantly uploading content is essential for the algorithm to notice that you are a user engaged with the platform.

However, uploading more than 3 photos in a row on the same day is outdated. This makes a lot of noise on the platform and looks like spam. 

We are no longer in those times when we upload albums of 20 photos on Facebook, in which case we could upload a carousel with several photos, but doing them separately usually disengages.

But don't despair, as the  Instagram chief, Adam Mosseri, commented at Instagram Creator Week 2021 that the proper pace is 2 posts per week and 2 stories per day.

Source: YouTube.

Respect the community guidelines.

Whenever you make a post, follow the Community Guidelines of the app since the algorithm limits content visibility against these rules. To do this:

  • Avoid upsetting or sensitive content
  • Political posts
  • Misinformation or fake news
  • Low-resolution media

Write captions that generate conversations.

Comments and likes help you rank better on Instagram's feed, so how you can do to generate more of these.

Well, try writing engaging captions!

Similar to Facebook,  the idea is to create content that generates a debate or any type of conversation, so, instead of a lame and simple caption try to give extra information about your brand or your post's topic. Then, ask for your follower's opinions and see how they react. At the end of your caption make a call to action, which can be leading them to the link on your bio or your website.

Information from Hubspot says that captions with over 500 characters get the most feedback from their followers.

Create a contest or giveaway.

Contests and giveaways are hugely popular, and this is because we'd all love to win a prize with the minimum effort. So whether it's a created hashtag or user-generated content, these posts generate a lot of engagement for your profile.


Study analytics

Finally, it's time to go to your analytics and evaluate which are the posts that have had the most interaction for your brand, to replicate its success or renew certain ideas. If you want to access these, switch your Instagram profile to professional and then go to the Insights tab to see all your account activity.


Source: Unsplash.

LinkedIn's algorithm goal is to bury any spammy content and highlight relevant and high-quality content.

In essence, the B2B social media platform punishes these types of content:

  • Spammy: Poorly written (bad grammar), full of outbound links and any "bot-y" content. Also, avoid basic hashtags such as #follow or #like.
  • Low-quality: While this is not spam, the platform perceives this type of content as irrelevant.

If you want to write great LinkedIn posts that will make your account more desirable for LinkedIn's algorithm, follow these tips:

  • Make it easy to read: Offer valuable information, but don't make massive walls of text, as readers can get tired of it. In this case, redirect users to your blog if you want to offer more information.
  •  Use around three hashtags: try to mix your hashtags with highly popular and the ones belonging to your niche so that you can expand your reach.
  • Don't include outbound links: as with any algorithm, the program wants users to stay on the platform, and if you put outbound links in your caption, the algorithm won't be happy with it. Nevertheless, experts say that if you put the link in the comments, it doesn't seem to affect your post's reach.

Now let's see how you can build a better relationship with LinkedIn's algorithm.

Choose the right time to post

It sounds repetitive, we know, but this is 101 in social media management, you should always post when your users are most active. 

According to an article by The Balance Small Business, 50% of users connect more after hours, so if you post at 2 am or during work hours, it will most likely take a long time to receive even one like. 

The article gives us more information and shows us that the best times for this platform are usually:

  • Most clicks and shares: Tuesdays, 11 AM-12 PM.
  • The worst time for LinkedIn: Sleeping hours (10 PM-6 AM) 
  • Best Times to post 7-8 AM; 5-6 PM.
  • The peak time of use during an average day: noon; 5-6 PM.

Create the type of content Linkedin likes

As we said before, Linkedin is like Facebook's uncle, a businessman who is there only for B2B, no memes or dancing reels.

Linkedin's algorithm craves for two types of content:

  • Job offers
  • Information that provides value to your business or other's

So, on this platform, you want to show your biggest accomplishments and how good of a business you are. When you reach many users in your profile, Linkedin's algorithm will shake your hand like the wolf of wall street.

Use LinkedIn's publishing tool

If you don't have a tool to schedule your articles, don't worry, the same social media offers it to you and gives greater momentum to the publications you make.

The Editor-in-Chief at LinkedIn says Publisher posts show up in the feed for your connections and followers based on time.


Source: Unsplash.

TikTok's algorithm may be the friendliest of them all, and perhaps that's why it's so popular over its predecessors. But then, what is this algorithm about?

Everything revolves around the for you page, which is like the feed of this social network. Depending on the tastes and interests that you select when entering this social network, it sends you endless videos that are according to your tastes, and as you interact and follow more accounts, it refines it more, offering you only the things that you like the most. 

This is quite similar to the others, even the factors to show you or not are similar in terms of the amount of reach or likes, but there is something that makes it the friendliest of all. 

You'll ask us, what is it? 

Well, unlike the others, TikTok's algorithm does not give preference to the accounts with the most followers, instead, it does a great mix of popular accounts with others that may be just starting. Therefore, at one point in the feed, you can see a 15k video just below one of only 3, giving more opportunity to all kinds of creators. But this is not the only thing that makes it friendly to its users since the posts do not expire due to time.

When you post a photo on Instagram, it will peak in popularity and then be forgotten, where only your stalkers can give it a rather indiscreet like. Meanwhile, it does not matter if your video is 3 months old. The algorithm will be able to show it later, making it not lose relevance.

TikTok algorithm ranking signals.

  • User interactions: Similar to most of the platforms, the algorithm will base its recommendations based on your interactions with content on the app. This evaluation goes from videos you liked and didn't, accounts you follow and interests you've expressed by interacting with organic content ads.
  • Video information: This information is based on the type of content you seek out through discovery or search. This factor includes captions, sounds, hashtags, effects and trending topics.
  • Device and account settings: your personal information from language preference, country, type of mobile device and categories of interests that you choose as a new user.

What is not included in the TikTok algorithm?

The algorithm will NOT recommend the following types of content:

  • Duplicated content
  • The content you've already seen
  • Content the algorithm flags as spam (including videos "seeking to increase traffic artificially")
  • Potentially upsetting content (for example, "graphic medical procedures" or "legal consumption of regulated goods")

So, let's see how we go about handling this algorithm.

Find your subculture

On TikTok, there is a niche for everyone, from those of us who like digital marketing to those who love to collect action figures. The idea is to identify which branch your brand specializes in and start sharing about it.

Unlike the networks explained above, where users tend to interact more with the accounts they follow, people on TikTok spend more time on the for you page, where they have endless content about the things they usually enjoy. Your idea is to be able to infiltrate those for your pages so that you become one of those followed.

Do not seek to stand out in saturated markets, instead, look for those subcultures in which your content and information can be appreciated and start researching what hashtags are related to these.

Don't sell. Instead, share and have fun

Although selling is our ultimate goal, there are different ways to achieve this goal, and in a social network of funny videos and dances, a typical advertisement will not work.

TikTok users are interested in learning or having new information in the shortest possible time, without the need to read a book or watch a long YouTube video. Therefore, once you have defined your subculture, you must now share all your knowledge in short doses of information that position you as an authority within the platform.

Once the algorithm notices that your videos are successful, it will start to show you more in FYP, and as you grow in the audience it is obvious that you will grow in leads and new clients.

Go Pro on TikTok

The main benefit of the pro account on TikTok is that it will give you all the information about your metrics and primetime, which will allow you to evaluate which types of videos are working best for you. To do this:

  1. From your profile page, tap the three dots icon at the top right of the screen.
  2. Tap Manage account.
  3. Select Switch to Business Account and choose the best category for your business.

Use trend sounds and create yours.

Similar to what we said with Instagram reels, you should look for trends on TikTok and see how you can mix them into your type of content. Search among the most viral sounds and find out how you can associate them with the style of your brand, this will give you a good chance for the algorithm to start showing your videos even to people outside your subculture or public. This can be good for introducing new people to your kind of culture.

But, if you want to go even further, try creating your viral sounds because according to a TikTok article, 65% of users would prefer to see videos from brands featuring original sounds.

Interact with other TikTok accounts

When you interact with your community the algorithm we'll perceive you as more suitable for its platform, since you generate more conversation for this social media.

Luckily, TikTok is one of the most variated platforms to interact with users because you have options like:

  • Duets
  • Stitch
  • Video replies to comments

With duets you can comment on other creators' videos or even interact with them in singing or acting challenges, it is pretty fun to do. Then, if you create video responses this allows you to create more content based on others' opinions, expanding your audience reach within this video platform. And if you want other creators to duet with your content just go to the privacy settings section and adjust to your needs.

Source: YouTube.

Use the FYP hashtags.

Any content creator wants their videos to be displayed on the For You Page, as this is where consumers spend the most time on this network. TikTok has seen a trend of for you hashtags, which are used by many creators, and although we cannot guarantee that this can completely manipulate the decision of the algorithm, it is still worth trying these tactics used by great content creators. These hashtags are: #fyp, #foryou, and #foryoupage.

The Codedesign algorithm

Finally, we have arrived here! Our algorithm!

As a digital marketing agency, we are at the same paste with every new technology out there, because in business like this if you don't adapt to new trends you get obsolete. As we needed more data on customer behavior we decided to build our own AI tools, and so we have our algorithm to better understand your target audience and find what your business needs from a digital marketing perspective faster than anyone else.

Our Augmented Analytics tools enable trend technology advances like machine learning and AI to assist with data preparation, insight generation, and insight explanation to augment how your customers explore and analyze data in analytics and BI platforms. It also augments the expert and data scientists by automating many aspects of data science, machine learning, and AI model development, management, and deployment.

With a catalog of satisfied clients, we have been able to lead their businesses to financial success with our advanced technology tools and the high knowledge of our digital marketing specialists. If you want us to do the same with your brand, contact us and let's talk about business!

Until your algorithm returns us to your search, see you in a new article!

About CodeDesign

Codedesign is a digital marketing agency specializing in e-commerce and B2B online marketing. Our digital team utilizes the latest digital marketing tools and strategies to help clients reach their business goals. We offer comprehensive services such as website design, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, performance marketing, social media marketing, CRM and marketing automation, email marketing, and more. Our experts create and implement customized digital marketing campaigns to increase website traffic, generate leads, and drive sales. Our expertise in e-commerce and B2B marketing allows us to understand the nuances of the digital marketplace and create effective marketing solutions tailored to their client's needs.
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