Keeping Up With The…Algorithm

By: Joie Ryan

As social media applications have evolved in both popularity and new features for users, so has the ongoing discussion of “algorithms”, specifically for Facebook and Instagram. About 2 years ago, Instagram adopted a software algorithm so that users will “see the moments [you] care about first”, rather than how they are posted chronologically. In the years following, Facebook started crafting users feeds to “put family and friends first.” And for the Instagram algorithm, users now see 90 percent of “friends and family” posts, compared to the 50 percent that was being seen in the chronological feed.

Therefore, this has sparked a question for many businesses: does this new, strategic filtering towards “friends and family” posts leave social media marketing content lost in the algorithm?

As an active user of Instagram and Facebook, I find the idea of “friends and family” posts much more appealing. With the exception of a few influencers and some “funny accounts,” I don’t typically like seeing posts from people or brands I don’t know; and this algorithm is great for keeping these accounts filtered. But coming from a business standpoint, these developing features could be detrimental to their marketing strategies.

For Instagram specifically, this algorithm has been a hot topic for users all over. Much of what this algorithm involves is crafted by the engagement with a certain profile, direct messages, searches, user following, timeliness of posts, and how long users spend viewing a certain post. In short, this means that Instagram wants to see users interact with posts or accounts. Thus, it is important for businesses to craft a strategic plan in order to keep their content in their targeted audience’s particular algorithm.

While for some, this may seem like common knowledge, some tips to keep this marketing content relevant include:

  1. Keep posting consistent and timely  
  2. Post quality photos or videos
  3. Engage users in posts (i.e., contests, giveaways, captivating captions)
  4. Use the “story” or “live” features
  5. Use consistent and strategic hashtags
  6. Know the audience you are posting for  
  7. Analyze and dissect the results of your social media channels/posts

Although each brand or account is different, it is important to make sure that an account is being developed to optimal efficiency. Through utilizing these active and engaging tips, brands can work to engage their target audience and make sure that their social media posts will be consistently shown, without having to invest solely in ads.

Twitter: @joieryan23

LinkedIn: Joie Ryan

This Article Has 10 Comments
  1. Taylor Kissinger says:

    Hi Joie,

    Great article with awesome insights! I remember really resenting the Instagram algorithm change when it first came out. Even now, I still wish that the feed was in chronological order. I find that the accounts that I follow with the most followers often appear first on my feed, and I would prefer to see what my closer friends and family post first.

  2. ari rassouli says:

    Hi Joie!! I totally agree with you about only wanting to see my friends, family, and a few other exceptions on my Instagram feed. However, I do like to see posts in chronological order. I have found that I miss a lot of posts even from my friends. I think people miss my posts too because I have observed a downward slope in interactions on my posts since the algorithms came about. Great post!

  3. Molly Mair says:

    Concise and helpful blog post.
    I think the checklist provided is useful. Knowing your audience is crucial to any marketing campaign. An overarching idea in the checklist is consistency, use of hashtags, post quality, overall “voice” of the business. It all seems so simple, yet there are many examples of businesses trying to be too much all the time.

  4. Isabelle Shattuck says:

    Hi Joie, your blog post is very relatable and current to everyone who uses Facebook or Instagram. I know I like to see friends and family posts as well as accounts who have a “perfect” aesthetic or YouTube influencer posts. You did a really nice job of telling how the algorithm works and why it is a thing. I also really enjoyed the check list that you provided; I hope this blog will help people gain a better understanding of how Facebook and Instagram work!

  5. Rui Sun says:

    Hi Joie, your tips are very useful, and you also clearly explained what the algorithm is and how it interacts with social media. I really like what you mentioned in your blog. Although each company operates differently, understanding and attracting audiences is something that every company should focus on and takes time to study.

  6. Natalie Stone says:

    Good afternoon Joie,

    Thanks for sharing your tips on keeping social media marketing more relevant. I believe that many of the tips you included in your list are recommendations that any social media user should take into consideration. I would have to disagree with you though when it comes to seeing posts in chronological order because I miss this feature on Instagram and Facebook. Now more than ever, I feel as though many posts I would like to engage with get buried deep below other posts on my feed, and I miss posts more often. I think you make an interesting argument when you said that the algorithm is great for filtering accounts, but isn’t that what the unfollow or mute feature is for? From both a business and personal standpoint, I really wish Instagram would consider reversing their chronological software.

  7. Madelyn Dwyer says:

    Hi, Joie. Thank you for sharing on algorithms. I agree with you that I would rather see posts from people I know like friends and family. However, I overall have mixed feelings on algorithms. It is sometimes annoying when I am scrolling through my feed and posts that were posted a few days ago are near the top. In general, I think it seems more natural to have things more chronological. In addition, from the perspective of a company or blogger, algorithms can be discouraging in that your content can easily be missed.

  8. NUCHWARA YOUNGCHAROEN says:

    In my opinion the friends and families post might be quite difficult for companies to tackle because it would diminish a chance for a company’s post or ads post to be viewed by customers. However, if the customers seem to spend sometimes go through some influencers a lot. That influencers stories might pop up in the customers’ eyes more often. This can be a great solutions for companies who want to advertise products or services to the customers after those platforms incorporate a new algorithm. Companies can emphasize on influencers rather than just an ads posts. All in all, the companies would need to spend more time selecting influencers, who would be seen more often by their customers and who would be able to provide the most authentic communication that customers can resonate well with. This is a very good blog in terms of business standpoint to address the challenges within these platforms and inevitably the content providers need to think through it carefully in order to deliver affective contents and create engagement from customers.

  9. Kaytlyn Lozano says:

    Hi Joie!

    Great post. The algorithm is very frustrating for me as a social media user because I feel like I do not see all of my friends’ posts as they happen; I sometimes see them a day later. Instagram should really take a poll to see how their users, both personal and business accounts, feel about the new algorithm. Personally, I believe the algorithm is tailored for businesses and influencers to succeed while personal interactions remain limited. Thanks for the helpful tips!

  10. Meghan Schroeder says:

    Hi Joie,
    Thank you for your post. It was very well written and to the point. Your tips were very helpful and I cannot believe how social media applications have evolved. I agree with “friends and family” idea because I only pay attention to those accounts. Likewise, I do follow a few funny meme accounts and my favorite sports teams. However, I am unhappy when a random ad or suggested post comes up in my feed. I think your tips would help organizations attract more traffic without bothering individuals.

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