The Thinker’s Guide to Social Media Algorithms: Calculating the Value of a SMM strategy

Are you a digital media marketer who is passionate about social media marketing? Or, are you perhaps the owner of a small business, and you would like to market your brand on several social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter?

An essential part of designing a robust, successful social media marketing strategy is to gain a comprehensive understanding of how the different platform’s social media algorithms decide which posts to show and how posts are ranked.

Therefore, as part of this discussion, let’s first start with a definition of social media marketing (SMM), and then move onto a description of the inner workings of the algorithm employed by a social media platform like LinkedIn.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing as defined by is the “use of social media websites and social networks to market a company’s products and services.”

The wide variety of content types available on social media allows brands to reach new audiences, engage with existing customers, and promote the brand’s culture to an audience, that otherwise might not have realized that your brand exists.

It is also perhaps worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic, and its need for social distancing, have increased social media’s global penetration statistics. Facebook reported on 24 March 2020 that social media usage, especially video calls and text messages (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger), had increased by 50%.

LinkedIn statistics show that the platform currently has more than 660 million registered users, with 303 million active users. And, 90 million users hold senior positions in business and 63 million are in decision-making roles. It is also interesting to note that circa 95% of B2B content marketers use LinkedIn for long-form, organic content marketing.

Social media marketing algorithms

Now that the raison d’etre for adding SMM to your brand’s digital marketing campaign has been established, let’s consider how the LinkedIn algorithm decides how to rank and prioritise content. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to schedule specific types of content to attract your brand’s target audience. And, the number of comments and likes on your posts will increase dramatically.

In summary, LinkedIn’s algorithm’s primary function is to determine what content is prioritised in your newsfeed. This algorithm also has the capacity to teach itself about what types of news items you might be interested in seeing. And, its default sort setting is to ensure that new or top updates added to the top of your feed based on what your activity history.

And, although the LinkedIn algorithm does not prioritize certain post types like text, video, and image posts, it seems to rank posts that ask questions and engage with other LinkedIn users. In actual fact, it ranks any content that pursues active engagement and sparks conversations with other users.

Final thoughts

LinkedIn was primarily a driver of social media interactions between business professionals. However, it has started to attract more casual content, memes, and humorous content. Therefore, based on the content above, LinkedIn is a very good social media tool to harness as part of your social media marketing strategy.




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