What You Need to Know About Social Media Algorithms in 2020
LSC Digital’s VP of Digital Operations, David Clemen, hosted a free webinar on Thursday, January 30 all about the top five social media platforms and their algorithms. While the most popular platforms have consistently been at the top, despite the popularity of Snapchat and Tik Tok, the algorithms have changed to reflect requested features and even advertising conflicts. In this webinar, Dave Clemen covers the algorithms powering Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube and the best practices your business will want to use in 2020. Watch the full webinar below and download the presentation here.
- Facebook is the most widely used social media platform. However, organic reach is continually declining.
- Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, has made statements regarding Facebook’s changing algorithm and policy: “We’re Making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” Most recently, Facebook has been cracking down on political and politically-driven advertisements. Even if a company or brand is not political, if ad copy involves political figures or political news, there are restrictions and extra verification steps to ensure the content is reputable and accurate.
- In 2018, Facebook’s referral traffic has decreased, impacting sectors, like personal finance, by as little as -6% to as much as -71%, hurting the arts and entertainment accounts on the platform.
- As in 2019, users usage of the news feed has seen a decline while the use of stories as seen an increase.
Facebook Algorithm in 2020
- The credibility of each user is a ranking factor. This means pages with complete information, established user history and active engagement takes precedent over newer, less established pages.
- Native content is better than owned content. Uploading text to posts or videos directly to Facebook has a greater impact than simply linking the content. Facebook wants to be regarded as a content source for brands.
- Live video takes priority. Live videos are well received, and a notification sends to followers for an added alert to this content.
- Posts that start conversations are preferred. As conversations start in comment sections and posts are shared in messengers, Facebook becomes aware that this is interesting and engaging content that should be shown to more people.
- Posting longer, engaging content frequently builds community and engagement on Facebook. We recommend posting 5 times a day.
- Don’t ask people to like, comment or share.
- Don’t use false or sensational headlines.
Facebook Best Practices 2020
- Be picky about what you share. No engagement means less credibility, and less credibility means fewer engagements.
- Facebook wants your content on Facebook. This goes back to native content being superior to linked assets.
- Video is preferred. Facebook has been consistent about preferring video.
- For more organic reach your content must be able to start conversations. In 2020 especially, if it doesn’t generate shares and comments your content will not gain exposure.
- Recently, Twitter has started used algorithmic timelines. These are designed to provide users with the most relevant content based on previous use of the platform. There is still the option to switch your timeline to a chronological timeline.
- Remember, Twitter has updated its character limit from 140 to 280. It’s key to take advantage of this character limit increase; however, the average tweet length is still 35 characters.
- According to Yoel Roth, Head of Site Integrity at Twitter, there has been a significant crack down on Twitter bots: “The use of any form of automation (including scheduling) to post identical or substantially similar content, or to perform actions such as Likes and Retweets across many accounts that have authorized your app (whether or not you created or directly control those accounts) is not permitted.”
Twitter Algorithm in 2020
- The more characters the better! Use as many as you need to get your message across. There’s a direct relationship between using more characters and engagement rate.
- Like Facebook, credible profiles are favored. Fill out all the details in the Twitter bio, add a sufficient profile photo and location. Obviously, verified accounts have been confirmed as credible profiles by Twitter.
- The time someone spends reading a tweet is important. The longer someone spends looking at a tweet becomes a component of engagement. This is why longer tweets tend to have higher engagement rates.
- Timing is everything. Due to Twitter’s ephemeral nature and fast pace, understanding when to tweet is critical to getting more engagement. Twitter’s analytics provides resources to determine when followers are active.
- Just like Facebook (and most other platforms) native content is preferred.
- Engagement is king – the most likes, replies and retweets earned by a tweet determine how often Twitter will show that content elsewhere.
Twitter Best Practices 2020
- Find out when followers are active and post at the right time.
- Develop a following around a specific topic. Find out what your followers are interested in and cater to those interests.
- Find your brand’s voice and niche and cater to that topic – your account will develop a following and get more engagement.
- Engage with followers, join conversations and don’t wait for people to engage with you. Make the first move!
- Tweet on a regular basis. Daily and engaging tweets will generate the best results from Twitter’s algorithm.
- LinkedIn is very transparent about its algorithm. Its engineering team has a blog dedicated to updates and offers insights on how to boost engagement.
- LinkedIn uses three factors to rank profiles:
- Identity: who are you? Where do you work? What are your skills? Who are you connected with?
- Content: how many times was the update viewed? How many times was it “liked?” What is the update about? How old it is? What language is it written in? What companies, people or topics are mentioned in the update?
- Behavior: what have you liked and shared in the past? Who do you interact with most frequently? Where do you spend the most time in your news feed?
LinkedIn Algorithm in 2020
- Going viral on LinkedIn requires second and third degree contacts to see your content.
- When a first degree connection shares your content and a connection’s connection shares your content, the snowball effect takes place and content circulates to larger audiences.
- Like all other platforms, LinkedIn prefers native content. Sharing a short video clip in a post and further linking that video to a YouTube channel, for example, will generate more engagement than simple linking the video.
- Content will be shown to the most relevant people in your network. This is where building your network is crucial. If you’re a digital marketer and you have local plumbers in your network, your content may not travel as far. (Not that we don’t love plumbers).
- Content will be shown to people that have engaged in the past. Like understand your Twitter following’s interests, it’s important to keep track of what your devoted connections are sharing and liking so you can further cater to what they want to see.
LinkedIn Best Practices 2020
- Start from the beginning: create a relevant network. The person with the most connections doesn’t necessarily win if contacts are not centered around a specific industry or sector. This could hurt profiles: the lower the percentage of your connections engage with your content the lower exposure your content gets.
- Actually engage with your connections. Be a valued community member and like, share and comment on other posts. When you engage more, your business page will suggest content for you that fits your interests. This is a great way to find third-party content for sharing to your feed.
- As always, post more native content than links. LinkedIn also wants your content.
- Instagram, like LinkedIn, favors three factors:
- Relationships: Instagram keeps track of who leaves comments on your posts, who has notifications on for your content and other interactions like frequent DMs and tags. According to Instagram, users will see 90% of posts from “friends and family.”
- Timeliness: Instagram prioritizes recent posts.
- Interests: the algorithm predicts the posts that will be the most relevant to you. This is based on the all powerful hashtag.
- The time someone spends reading your content is important. Like Twitter, posts with longer captions generate more engagement.
Instagram Algorithm in 2020
- Posting regularly will place content higher on timelines. Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, frequent posting without engagement does NOT harm credibility.
- Comments are weighted more than likes. While likes are good too, comments show that someone had more to say about a post.
- Unlike Facebook, using stories and going live does not impact engagement. The feed’s algorithm is not impacted by story engagement.
- Also unlike every other platform, Instagram does NOT prioritize video.
Instagram Best Practices 2020
- Research relevant hashtags and use them. If you can get to the explore page of your target audience, you can gain more engagement and followers.
- Publish content at the right time. Instagram business profiles have insights on when your followers are most active.
- Engage with similar profiles. Leaving comments and messaging similar pages helps establish connections and could build out a profile.
- Post regularly. Even if your daily content is not earning millions of engagements, daily posts will show the algorithm that you have fresh content that will get preference in the feed.
YouTube Algorithm in 2020
- YouTube uses two main factors to determine quality channels:
- Frequency: consistent participation and deciding when to share content is important. Developing a schedule and adhering to that schedule will improve status.
- Total watch time: like with Instagram and Twitter, the amount of time someone spends watching a video is weighted in determining how often the video will appear. The optimal length for videos is somewhere between seven and 12 minutes.
- The more subscribers, views, like and comments on your channel, the higher the priority.
- Title, description and tags are important ranking factors. Using SEO knowledge and keyword research, develop meaningful titles and descriptions so your videos will rank for the desired keyword. Using the appropriate keywords in tags will also generate better results.
YouTube Best Practices 2020
- Optimize your title, description and tags. Use keyword research to give some SEO value to your content. Remember, YouTube is a part of Google.
- Create longer, in-depth videos. Like SEO best practices, in-depth, meaningful content will take your channel far. Videos with longer watch times also get ranked higher on YouTube.
- Stick to a posting schedule.
- Build your subscriber base using the ?sub_confirmation-1 suffix when sharing the link to your YouTube channel.
- And, as always, engage with other channels and users. Respond to each comment on your channel and leave comments on similar videos. The more engaged users are with your channel, the higher the chances that your videos will make it into their notifications.
Bringing It All Together in 2020
- Native content is king.
- Be actively engaged with your audience.
- Be active on a regular basis. Stick to a schedule.
- Focus on a specific topic and stay relevant to your audience.
- Get a video strategy together.
This is an updated version of “What You Need to Know About the Social Media Algorithms in 2019.” LSC Digital hosts informative webinars monthly – and they’re free! Sign up for the next webinar here. Need help getting your 2020 social media strategy together? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at (203) 743-2600.