The Complexities of Social Media Algorithms and How You Can Master Them

May 6, 2021 Johanna Andersson

LinkedIn and its algorithm can be a confusing subject matter – especially when it feels like you’re doing all of the right things. Is your great content not being read? Are your co-workers not seeing your posts? Or are you simply not seeing the engagement you desire on LinkedIn? Then chances are that you’re getting beat by the algorithm.

According to Pete Davies, LinkedIn’s senior director of product management, the mantra of the feed is “People you know, talking about the things you care about.” In simple words, LinkedIn prioritises personal connections based on interests.

In this article, we’ll explore how you can master the LinkedIn algorithm so that it can start working in favour of you.


How the Algorithm Works 

The LinkedIn algorithm has two primary goals; to prioritise relevant content and to promote engagement. Let’s explore the steps that LinkedIn follows to achieve these.


LinkedIn algorithm


LinkedIn Algorithm Quality Check 

Every time someone posts to LinkedIn, a bot is called to action and places your content into one of three categories: Spam, low-quality or clear. As you can guess, you want your content to be placed in the clear category to get through to the next stages.


LinkedIn Algorithm Testing

The post is then moved to testing. Once your content has been categorised by the bots, they send it to a small testing audience to see how popular the content is. The initial engagement on the post will determine whether you make it past the spam filter. But it can sometimes be tricky to know how to avoid getting flagged as spam. There are five important questions to ask;

  1. Are you posting too much content?
  2. Could your post be offensive to anyone?
  3. Are the people in your audience interested in what you are posting?
  4. Is the content professionally relevant?
  5. Are you providing content that will make an impact?

Once you have ensured that your content is in line with these questions the next step is content scoring.


LinkedIn Algorithm Content Scoring

Forget everything you have been taught about not keeping score, when you enter the LinkedIn world, keeping score is where you want to be. Think of this as a game of Bingo. For each engagement, you gain a point. For example, a like may only be worth one point but a comment could result in two. A share shows that the content is popular and thus the score will reflect this.

The score of your post will determine its fate and as a result, it will either be demoted or pushed in front of more people. This is how LinkedIn assesses low-quality vs high-quality content. Given your content has now been picked up as high quality, the bots are placed back on a charge while they wait for your next bit of content and real people step in to assess.

As your post’s engagement is inclining, it is passed along to genuine people at LinkedIn. These people read through every post and decide if the content should be shared out to more people or whether your post has seen the end of its day. If your content is doing well (think of the point system here) the editors will send the content out to people outside of your network and appear among trending content.


How to get into the VIP area of Trending Content

The end goal of most content producers on LinkedIn is to be classified as “trending”. To achieve that there are a few things you can focus on:

Personal connections. Always try to engage with your connections by sending them personal messages and linking them to the content you produce to drive interest. The LinkedIn algorithm will pick up this engagement and push your content out to them.

Engagement. Here is where your team is vital to the success of your brand. Notifying employees of each new post will send them a notification. Ask your team to engage within the first 60 minutes (known as the golden hour) of the post going live to increase the chance of having a high content score. Try to get 20+ engagements (reactions or comments) in the first half-hour.

 Joining groups. The LinkedIn algorithm picks up common interests and one of the first places it searches for these shared interests is in groups. Getting all employees to join relevant groups will increase the chances of your content being shared outside of your immediate audience.

All in all, the LinkedIn algorithm is all about engagement and relevancy. The one sure-fire way to beat this is to get your team involved and onboard in the company’s journey to becoming industry leaders. By Liking, commenting, sharing, tagging, and sending messages you can ensure to increase the visibility and reach of your content. When doing this correctly you’ll not only be seen by people in your network but also by their followers and connections.

Are you ready to refine your LinkedIn content strategy, get your team involved and start connecting? Contact Clockwise Marketing to explore how we can assist you with social selling and social media marketing.