All About Algorithms

by | Jun 10, 2022 | Social Media

Whether you are a small brand, an independent creative, or simply a human that uses social media, you probably have heard the term “algorithm” before. An algorithm is a buzzword entrenched with pretty much all activity on the internet! 

As of October 2021, there were approximately 4.5 billion internet users, and of these users, about 57 percent of the world’s population use social media. With this many users to manage and monitor, an automated system is crucial. So, an algorithm is used!

 

 

What is an algorithm?

 

An algorithm is a mathematical set of rules specifying how a group of data behaves by sorting posts in a users’ feed based on relevancy instead of publish time. Algorithms can be developed to keep you on a website for longer or return to it everyday. The good news for you as a creator is that algorithms also are created to encourage engagement. 

How does an algorithm work?

Computerized devices use algorithms to perform its functions in the form of hardware- or software-based routines, making the algorithm artificially intelligent and programmed. However, algorithms dont work alone, they often have the help of humans to customize the user experience. This collaborative process involves users to use functions built into platforms to customize their own experience (such as filters or turning recommendations off/on). Also, although the algorithm is a machine, people within companies  have the power to tweak the algorithm for their platform.

 

How to beat the algorithm.

The ability for companies to change algorithms at any given time can be frustrating for creators and users of a website/platform. For example, with Instagram changing their algorithm to favour video content over photos, photographers and visual artists have to change their strategy for reaching their audience. One way to beat the changes to the algorithm is to make high quality content in the first place. Know your target market and make your content for them!! Creating content that your audience enjoys will increase probability of engagement, thus telling the algorithm to push something forward that is popular or rising in popularity. Ensure your content is relevant and appealing while keeping an eye on any algorithm changes to see if you need to tweak your social media strategy.

What does this mean for you?

Algorithms are not perfect, and each one for each platform has different criteria that determines which content it propels forward. Brands and businesses on social media need to understand the algorithm for the platform they are using. It is also important to know the implications of algorithms. Even machines can have bias. The TikTok algorithm has been criticized for having bias to what content it shows users. Because algorithms have so much control over what is shown and what is not, it is easy to become biased as a user as well. Algorithms can decide what you see, but also what  you don’t see, so it is important for internet users to be aware of this and seek out information outside of their filter bubble.

As we begin to dissect algorithms, stay tuned for the coming weeks, where we will delve into each algorithm process of today’s top social media platforms to help you master the algorithm in your business!