person using social media clicking play button

How Algorithms Work in Social Media

Social media has become one of the leading marketing platforms for businesses. They use the platforms to engage with customers, build brand awareness, and generate leads. However, it’s not easy to stand out when there are thousands of social media business accounts. You need the right approach to put you in front of your target audience before your competitors get there first. One of the fundamental ways to succeed on social media platforms is understanding how their algorithms work. They will give you insights into what kind of content will pop up in users’ timelines and win their hearts. Since each platform uses specific rules, this article will explain how the algorithms of five popular social media platforms work. You’ll also find some tips on how to optimize your content for these platforms.


With around 2.7 billion active users, Facebook is the most popular social media platform. It can be a huge potential market for your business. Moreover, this platform provides Facebook Shops to help create an online store easily.

How Facebook Algorithm Works

Users’ preferences are one of the main factors in ranking news feeds. The algorithm prioritizes types of content the users previously like, comment, and share. To make sure Facebook predicts correctly, it will survey people to ask if the content is meaningful.

Top Tips to Post on Facebook

  • Aim for more than likes. The algorithm weighs reaction buttons, including caring and anger, more than likes. Use storytelling through captions and visuals to build emotions.
  • Go live.Live videos gain six times more engagement than regular videos. Some live ideas include Q&As and interviews, live performances, and product tutorials.
  • Use Facebook Groups. To build community as it sparks a discussion between the brand and customers.


With its features like mentions and trending tabs, Twitter helps businesses interact with customers directly and share what’s happening in the company.

How Twitter Algorithm Works

Twitter used to display content in chronological order. Now, it has a mix of real-time and algorithmic content based on:

  • Recency. How recently a Tweet was posted.
  • Engagement. Refers to the number of clicks, favorites, retweets, and impressions.
  • Activity. Means how active users are – how long since they were online and how much they use Twitter.
  • Media. The type of media users engage with the most, like GIFs and images.

Still, many users enjoy the chronological order timeline. In 2018, Twitter allowed users to turn off the algorithm and let users see the latest Tweets first.

Top Tips to Post on Twitter

  • Follow Topics in your industry.  A topic lets users follow conversations about a specific subject, like Art and Sports, even if they don’t follow the accounts. To appear in Topic, keep up with the trends and current news, then create content related to them.
  • Respond to engagement quickly. The algorithm prioritizes engaged users and recent content. Try to respond to Retweets, mentions, and replies in the first 2-3 hours.
  • Pin Tweets. Pinned Tweets stay on top of your profile. It’s great to highlight calls to action and your best content.


If your target market is people under 35, Instagram is the perfect platform to use. It’s because the majority of its active users are younger generations.

How Instagram Algorithm Works

User behavior is one of the key elements that determine Instagram users’ timelines. They will get more updates from the types of posts and accounts they engage with the most. Now, the algorithm also considers words in the alt text and caption. It’s because of the upgraded Explore page that lets users search by keywords.

Top Tips to Post on Instagram

  • Publish consistent Instagram Stories. Drive engagement with stickers, like polls and questions.
  • Write engaging captions. Interactions are essential for Instagram algorithms. Try to use question-based and tag-a-friend captions to encourage comments. Try to include keywords so your post will appear on the Explore page.
  • Keep up with the latest features. Include Reels, IGTV, and Guides. They help vary your content and show that your brand is up-to-date.


Even though TikTok is relatively new, the user base grew by almost 800% in the last couple of years. Many big companies like Dunkin’ Donuts and The Washington Post use this platform very successfully. However, keep in mind that TikTok’s largest user base is young people. So think about your target audience before using this platform for your business.

How TikTok Algorithm Works

When delivering personalized content, the TikTok algorithm considers several factors:

  • User interactions. Refer to videos you like, comment on, and share.
  • Video information. Include details, such as captions and hashtags.
  • Account and device settings. Consist of your language preferences and country settings.

Top Tips to Post on TikTok

  • Keep your videos short. Videos with only 10 to 15 seconds tend to perform better because they get a higher completion rate.
  • Join trending hashtags or challenges. Research a hashtag that has a fire icon next to it. Then, think about whether it’s relevant for your content.
  • Use popular sounds and music. These elements can increase discoverability. Find them on TikTok’s video editor. Or go to Analytics and look for the top sounds your followers listen to.


YouTube is a perfect platform to grow a community and educate customers. It’s the most-used search engine, as many people enjoy watching videos more than reading. The visual and audio format makes any topic easier to understand.

How YouTube Algorithm Works

YouTube algorithm looks at the videos’ impressions and engagement metrics, like watch time, likes, and comments. It also pays attention to how often a channel uploads new videos and how much time the audience spends on the channel after watching a video. When recommending particular channels or videos, YouTube will look at what topics users are subscribed to and have watched in the past.

Top Tips to Post on YouTube

  • Optimize your videos. Include relevant keywords on all video elements, like titles, tags, and video and thumbnail name files. Research complementary keywords and write them in your description.
  • Keep viewers engaged throughout the video. Since view duration is the critical metric, make your videos interesting. Hook the audience in the intro and keep them engaged using compelling storytelling and editing.
  • Link to other videos on your channel. Recommend related videos using cards and end cards. Group the videos into a playlist to increase views.

Why Understanding Social Media Algorithms is Important

Users follow many accounts on many different social media platforms. It’s difficult for them to sift through all the content from those accounts. That’s why social media developed particular algorithms. These algorithms refer to specific formulas social media platforms use to sort all posts in users’ timelines. They aim to deliver relevant content to their users and make them satisfied when using the application. In this case, businesses need to understand how algorithms work and work together with them to reach their target audience. Because algorithms are constantly evolving, your content marketing strategies need to adapt to them continuously.


Social media algorithms are there to deliver the most relevant content to people. Knowing this will help you understand which content users see in their feed. Generally, social media algorithms work based on user behavior. They identify content that users have liked, commented on, or shared in the past. Social platforms also care about how recently the post was uploaded, so users know what’s new. To stay ahead of the competition, try to keep up with new features and algorithms as soon as they happen. Because they are constantly changing, subscribe to websites or accounts about social media.

Juliet Jones


Juliet is an Editor at, all in one content marketing agency. She loves creating articles about technology, innovative product reviews, and technical writing to help scale up digital growth. She is a writer by day and a frustrated singer by night.