22 Feb 2017

The War of the Algorithms: How Major Social Media Channels Work

Social Media, as much as it is talked about has become an essential tool in both the consumer's and the merchant's life. It has an enticing grip over everybody through the internet, with the power to allow people to engage with each other in a chain like manner. Take the example of Facebook, which has some 1.23 billion active users on a daily basis.

Connectivity between people has never been better before and it seems to go on increasing. Social Media Channels are constantly looking at ways to better their apps for the gigantic mass of people using them.These channels have cut down the time to find the right products at the right time in half. But are you, as a business using the right strategies to be present on the right screen in the right time at the right place?

There are various social media channels, both, existing and emerging. That being said, it simply means that there are various set of rules that should be considered to make the most out of what you can get from that little device in the palm of one's hand or on their desktop. These rules can be given the name of Algorithms.

Watch your Algorithms:

The Wikipedia definition of an Algorithm is "In computer systems, an algorithm is basically an instance of logic written in software by software developers to be effective for the intended "target" computer(s) to produce output from given (perhaps null) input."

Meh. Boring. When it comes to social media, Algorithms are basically a set of instructions that computers, social media channels, search engines follow to simplify user experience in lesser time. How and why does this matter?

  • There are tons of websites on the internet, most of which are not relevant to what one is looking for.

  • Some algorithms are time-specific. Some are image and content specific. These algorithms work on social media best.

  • Algorithms' basic need is to sort out and present to the user relevant information which is as precise as the user expects it to be. They are meant to give the user some sort of clarity if they are unable to use words well.

Algorithms are essential for speedy and efficient display of results. Let's find out how different Social Media Channel work with their tailor-made algorithms.

  • Google:

    When it comes to search engines like Google, algorithms work in the form of keywords that the user keys in. If you key in, "best business trends on 2017" there will be a number of some 10-12 results on the first page which Google believes is the best for the user to go through. This works through this feature in Google called page-rank.

    One of Google's first and best known algorithm is the Page-Rank. Page-Rank is an algorithm which allows Google to rate a page and its usefulness according to the links and the content being shared by the website on their website. It ensures the authenticity and the relevance of the websites which can be further on grouped together to hit that spot in the top two-three result page. That bracket is where you want all your blog-posts and your websites to pop-up. The more links that you refer to, in your website, to a more popular website, the better is your page rank.

  • Instagram:

    Though Instagram is one of the birth places of the "hash tag", it has taken to a very different kind of algorithm that is quite similar to Facebook, which is after-all, its parent company. When you hit the little magnifying glass icon on Instagram, (otherwise called explore) you will see a bunch of different posts. When you tap on some of the posts, there will be a little disclaimer that says, "Based on the posts you like."

    Without any further explanation needed, this basically means that Instagram tracks and arranges content according to your interaction with the people you talk with on Instagram, the content you post on Instagram, the content you like on Instagram and yes, the hashtags you use in your profile. If implemented correctly, this can be a great way for any business to make full use of the easy-going, free and mass driven app to market them. This algorithm also follows whenever one hits the follow button on somebody's profile, which shows them other accounts a person can follow which are of similar tastes, nature or work.

    The other algorithm, Instagram swears by is the hash tag. Hash tags are a brilliant way to group together millions of pictures under one area, quit like a folder, if you will. Hash tags are fast, easy and manageable.

    But yes, sometimes, the misuse of hash tags can lead people to switch off from your profile. So, you want to be very careful with them. Hash tags follow a slightly different route, however. When you key in a hash tag, for example, let's say, #businessman, first you will see the top posts, which is a sum of nine posts having the most likes and comments. What you want to do is to go to each of these nine posts and figure out what made them get the number of likes they got. Go to the comments, the caption, and the bios of the profile and see what you are missing out on.

    The second algorithm of how hash tags work is a no brainer. Hash tags are time-based. The moment you upload, the moment the world can see. These are all the other posts which make it under the Top Posts section. Be careful, there are seas of images in which you can get lost in. The perfect trick to conquer that sea-storm? Post at a time that suits your target audience. For example, if you are catering to clients in the UK but are sitting in the US and you post in the US time-zone, it won't get you the attention from your UK clientele.

  • Facebook:

    Being the parent company of Instagram, it should be quite obvious that Facebook would be following the same pattern as Instagram's algorithms. That is true to an extent. However, one must not forget that Instagram is a purely audio and visual platform while Facebook is both, an audio and visual and a content-rich platform, making it the prime marketing tool for businesses. Facebook, if used properly can be of great help to you based on the types of features it offers. Facebook has slowly become the chosen source of distributing content, from breaking news to live tv videos. Facebook has revolutionized digital media by giving it the wholesome edge which not most of the social media channels have been able to achieve.  Here are some features of Facebook that often remain under-utilized by majority of businesses.

    • Live Videos are fun, interesting and exciting. They move in real-time allowing consumers to have a sneak-peak of what really happens behind the closed doors of a business.

    • Facebook Pages are a great way to market your content to various different parts of the world and distribute content accordingly.

    • Creating picture albums on Facebook engages your audience and lets them take a look at the products and services you have to offer.

    • The news feature on Facebook gives you an advantage by allowing you to demonstrate your viewpoint about a particular topic.

    • Advertising on Facebook is unmatchable as one can really make use of the keywords used by an individual and place an ad on the sidebar of their newsfeed to get maximum reach. If you take serious measures to make the best use of these features, your target audience is surely going to be impressed and you will receive a more enthusiastic audience.

  • Snapchat:

    Another revolutionary app, Snapchat has become one of the most fun social media channels out in the market. With disappearing videos and pictures, the rush one gets from using Snapchat, not to forget the urgency and attention a user gives to each snap received is noticeable. Snapchat, with all its fun filters and features like rewinding and fast-forwarding videos has become a great way to spice up normal audio-visual clips.

    With the occasional usage of new filters for a particular day or festival, Snapchat gives its users the opportunity to connect with a global audience and to see how a particular event or festival is being celebrated around the world. Snapchat now also provides a storage system built in the app itself, allowing to store precious memories that one does not want to fade away—or would want to showcase sometime in the near future. Snapchat also includes a great feature of providing the news to people once they subscribe to a particular channel. These channels are exclusive to Snapchat itself, making it a great marketing tool for business catering to the youth.

    But you have to be careful with Snapchat. Since it provides users with the sense of urgency and rush, one has to be constantly uploading content that is dynamic and visually appealing, so the audience does not get bored. If they do get bored over a period of time, they will unsubscribe to a channel. The algorithm for Snapchat is not too methodological but instead very simple, i.e. Fast, current and interactive. Keep these three words to be your motivation for your Snapchat audience and you will hit a good amount of subscribers. Snapchat's feature of letting you keep a track of who are the customers watching you also gives you an advantage over other social media. It is this very concept that Instagram has been accused of copying in the form of Instagram stories which disappear in 24 hours, just like Snapchat stories do.

  • LinkedIn:

    LinkedIn, a professional social media channel is a great way for business to share their thoughts, ideas and viewpoints from a business stand-point.  LinkedIn allows businesses to connect with the same kind of people who are in the same profession. The way LinkedIn works is very simple, but you have to be mindful that it is for people who are thoroughly involved in business. No fun and games on this channel.

    LinkedIn, the best way to gain a following and respect is by posting articles which follow your viewpoint, bring up your business narrative and follow your business ethics. LinkedIn, if used correctly can gain you a bunch of clientele who are willing to work with you or are willing to purchase your products and services. You want to sound professional and business centric on LinkedIn, since there is a lot of CEO's who are knowingly on the lookout for talent they can trust and incorporate with their businesses.

    Another great way to use LinkedIn is to connect with businessmen and have a chat about their ideas about what you have to purchase. Having and putting out their viewpoint in a blog-post about your products or services will make a huge impact on them and also on the other business men who are looking at your articles. This gives them a sense that you are responsible, responsive, innovative and creative; the four integral characteristics of a good business man. The algorithm of LinkedIn however is slightly different than the other Social Media Channels mentioned above. Here's what's different:

    • LinkedIn is the mother of the "People you may know" concept adopted by Facebook and Instagram later on. Use this feature to increase your connections and find out who you are missing out on.

    • Reposting articles and content on your LinkedIn profile makes you seem fresh and a go-getter.

    • Getting featured on different LinkedIn channels means that you have a huge chance of getting your article read and reposted by a huge number of people. Do not miss out on channels.

    • Strategic and targeted ads have worked brilliantly on LinkedIn. Placing an ad at the right time in front of the right people will get you major traffic.

    • Keywords, keywords and keywords. LinkedIn thrives on Keywords and you should know how to use them properly. It is very easy to go overboard, which is what switches people off. Don't be caught up in the hassle of figuring out if it's right or wrong, hire a social media expert to do it for you. It's worth it.

    • You want to share your LinkedIn profile on other social media channels like Facebook and Instagram so that you have a good enough coverage of people who might be missing out on your LinkedIn page.

Social Media Channels and their algorithms are not hard to crack, but yes, a lot of strategy, time and effort has to be put in to reap maximum benefits. It is not an easy job. Going viral does take a lot of patience and the right kind of social media experts who are committed to get you to where you wish to be. A social media expert cracks down all the technical know-hows and does all the hard-work for you and provides you with the end result of all the hard-work in the form of a good amount of followers.

We here, at BluEnt, are always willing to work with fresh-blooded businessmen who are daring enough to try out new ways of doing the same things their competition does—but in a much better, fun and efficient way. If that sounds like something you are all about, contact us today.

Maximum Value. Achieved.



Your Citation

Bluent Tech. "The War of the Algorithms: How Major Social Media Channels Work" BluEnt Byte, Feb. 22, 2017, https://www.bluent.net/blog/how-social-media-channels-and-algorithms-work/.

Bluent Tech. (2017, February 22). The War of the Algorithms: How Major Social Media Channels Work. Retrieved from https://www.bluent.net/blog/how-social-media-channels-and-algorithms-work/

Bluent Tech. "The War of the Algorithms: How Major Social Media Channels Work" Bluent Tech https://www.bluent.net/blog/how-social-media-channels-and-algorithms-work/ (accessed February 22, 2017 ).

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