Adaptability and staying informed should be your top priorities when creating a career in social media, especially since platforms are constantly changing. I talked about this in How to Become a Social Media Expert in 2024: Your Path to Success. To take it a step further, in order to create a career in social media, you need to be well-educated on algorithms. I understand that this topic can feel daunting for social media professionals at times, mainly because the algorithm controls whether your content is pushed out to thousands on social media or to only a few of your followers. Instead of dreading the algorithm, let's think of it as your best friend. Not convinced? Keep reading to find out how to work with the algorithm rather than against it. 

Unfortunately, we are in the year of the selfish scrollers. People log onto social media to a) Get educated, b) be entertained and c) get inspired.  If you are not providing people with these appeals, then you are going to have a hard time getting people engaged with your content and even following you. Customers will keep on scrolling, which will result in low engagement, along with low reach and impressions. This means zero growth.


In today's social media landscape, the focus has shifted from driving users to external links to keeping them engaged within the platform. Why? Platforms like LinkedIn prioritize content that keeps users on their site, as it aligns with their goal of maximizing user interaction. 

Similar to others, LinkedIn's algorithm aims to highlight content that fosters meaningful discussions rather than pure self-promotion. This strategy aims to improve user experience and boost engagement on the platform. Understanding the LinkedIn algorithm involves considering factors such as the quality of posts, user engagement levels, member activity and relevance to the audience.

So what does this all mean? To succeed on LinkedIn, you must create engaging, high-quality content that resonates with your audience. Period. Traditional promotional content is less effective in today's social media landscape. Instead, users prefer relatable and authentic content from brands they follow. For example, try repurposing existing content pieces into interactive media formats that users like, including carousels, short videos, text posts, GIFs and polls. Plus, instead of using an external link for every post, try experimenting with your call-to-action by asking a question to engage people more with your content.

The better your content quality and engagement, the higher the chances LinkedIn will share it with a larger audience. It's like a mutual benefit: You create great content, and LinkedIn helps it reach more people. 


In simple terms, the Instagram algorithm analyzes content like reels, feed posts, and stories, along with user interests and behavior, to show users the most relevant content. Its main goal is to enhance user experience by showing content that users are likely to enjoy. 

Instagram's CEO refers to the algorithm as "ranking" and emphasizes its role in making the platform more valuable to each user. It's important to note that Instagram doesn't rely on a single algorithm but rather multiple algorithms to tailor content for users.

Here are a few tips:

  • Consider reels as your growth tool for reaching new followers. In contrast, stories and grid posts are more for engaging with your current audience.
  • Carousels tend to drive more engagement than single posts, whereas single images can be less predictable in terms of engagement. Meta recommends using 3-8 relevant hashtags, along with specific ones related to your niche. Opt for hashtags with fewer than 2 million followers for increased reach.
  • Trending audio is also impactful and a good opportunity for expanding your audience. While original audio is preferred, using trending audio can also be effective, as the algorithm doesn’t favor one type over the other.
  • Story views are less predictable, so it's beneficial to add trackable engagement elements like polls or questions. For better performance, allow your stories to expire fully after 24 hours.


So what about Facebook? Similar to Instagram, the Facebook algorithm organizes content on the platform by determining what users see and in what sequence. Referred to as "personalized ranking" by Facebook, this algorithm assesses every post, ad, story and reel, assigning a score based on individual user interests. The content is then displayed in descending order of relevance each time a user refreshes their feed. Facebook uses algorithms across various areas, such as feeds, search, marketplaces and groups, to prioritize content based on what they believe users will find most personally engaging.

Suggestion? Try repurposing the content that you are pushing out on Instagram to Facebook and see what resonates with your audience, and build upon that.


The advantage of placing your content on YouTube is that people do not necessarily have to follow you to see your content, thanks to its successful search engine. YouTube says, “Our algorithm doesn’t pay attention to videos; it pays attention to viewers. So, rather than trying to make videos that’ll make an algorithm happy, focus on making videos that make your viewers happy.” 

YouTube’s search engine is very robust, but I like to think of YouTube as another form of Google. For example, if someone searches ”How to change your tire?”  my guess is that 10/10  most people would click on a YouTube video to learn how to change that car tire and fast - especially if you are in that current situation. 

YouTube is the ideal platform to house all of your longer forms of video, especially educational content. YouTube recommends leaving videos that are 2-3 years old on the platform because they will still receive traction from users. If you spend time creating good SEO for your videos, your content will stay relevant among the crowd of video content. Best practices include conducting keyword research on topics that are relatable to your video. The following elements you should focus on are titles and descriptions, thumbnails and tags. YouTube favors videos that are receiving high engagement. TIP: You can upload your video to YouTube and use the video link to promote it on other platforms. This will help you increase visibility to your YouTube channel and the video you are promoting, plus you will be repurposing your video for different platforms. 

So, how does YouTube’s algorithm work? It aims to provide users with the most relevant and useful content amidst the massive influx of uploads, focusing on factors like relevance, engagement, quality and user history. Additionally, YouTube Shorts, a newer format, encourages storytelling over specific video lengths and emphasizes quality content creation for optimal performance. It operates on a distinct algorithm that prioritizes diversity in content and user engagement.


Now, let’s jump into TikTok! As a reminder, this is also a great platform to increase brand visibility because people can see your content even though they might not follow you. Plus, vertical short videos SHINE on this platform. Repurpose those longer educational videos as snippets or create short reels of behind-the-scenes content, which is a great way to create engaging content on the platform. 

TikTok’s algorithm primarily considers user interactions, video information and device and account settings to determine content recommendations on the platform. User interactions, such as likes, shares, follows and comments, play a significant role, followed by video information like captions, sounds and hashtags. TikTok avoids recommending duplicated or spam content and doesn't prioritize content based on follower count, offering equal opportunities for all users to gain visibility.

Algorithm Takeaways

  • LinkedIn’s Algorithm: It prioritizes content that keeps users engaged within the platform, focusing on meaningful discussions over self-promotion. Creating high-quality, relatable content is essential for success on LinkedIn.
  • Instagram’s Algorithm: Works by analyzing content like reels, feed posts and stories, along with user interests and behavior, to show users the most relevant content.
  • Facebook’s Algorithm: It organizes content based on individual user interests, utilizing personalized ranking to display content in descending order of relevance.
  • YouTube’s Algorithm: Focuses on providing relevant and useful content to viewers, prioritizing engagement and quality. 
  • TikTok's Algorithm: Considers user interactions and video information to recommend content, offering equal visibility opportunities to all users.

Stay Educated on Algorithms

So, how do you stay up-to-date with algorithms and the latest platform updates? This is an important question! A few of my favorite resources to stay current on social media insights are 

Be sure to follow Matt Navarra on social media! He’s a social media consultant with 20+ years of industry experience. He’s worked with some of the biggest brands, including Google, BBC, ITV, the United Nations, the U.S. Government and 10 Downing Street. Plus, in 2018, he founded Geekout, a newsletter community specifically created for social media professionals in mind.

Staying current on algorithm functions and emerging social media trends is essential to keep your company’s social media strategy on pace. With the right approach and strategy, you can be ready to create content that resonates with your target audiences and keeps them engaged with your brand. 



About the Author:

Marketing Specialist, Caitlyn McArthur, heads Cella’s social media marketing strategy. She leverages the trends and metrics that enhance engagement, generate leads and drive revenue to continually grow the company’s social media presence. She produces and manages high-quality content for the corporation’s social media channels, including LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, X and YouTube. A veteran of Cella’s Marketing team, Caitlyn is HubSpot certified and excels in content strategy, social listening, employee advocacy, campaign planning, trend monitoring, analytics, reporting and audience research. She is an active member of Cella’s DEI Council and holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies from Minnesota State University, Moorhead, and studied at the University of Hawaii at Hilo through the National Student Exchange program.