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Everything You Need to Know About How Social Media - Part 1

Pepper Content
· 27 min read

Part (1/2) of Everything You Need to Know About the Evolution of Social Media

Table of Contents

History: From Orkut and Myspace to Facebook and Instagram: How Social Media changed with time

1.1 Introduction 1.2 How did the idea of social media come into existence in the first place 1.3 If Orkut and Myspace existed before FB, what made FB what it is today? 1.4 Why Instagram is more popular among women 1.5 Evolution of FB from inception to what it is today (infographic) 1.6 Channel wise number of users and what it means for brands 1.7 Conclusion

Product Psychology: The Product Principle behind Social Media: Which Principles did FB, Insta and Twitter Adopt to Develop User Habit?

2.1 Introduction 2.2 Using Consumer Psychology how did social media become an addiction 2.3 The Hooked Model by Nir Eyal and how social media platforms found the sweet spot to design hooks 2.4 Conclusion

The Growth of Social Media Giants from early days to 2020: FB, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram

3.1 Introduction 3.2 Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram in their early days 3.3 All major algorithm changes and pivots by FB, LI, Twitter and Insta (Infographic) 3.4 How does Instagram algorithm work in 2020? 3.5 What is the Facebook News Feed Algorithm and how to outsmart it? 3.6 Conclusion

How to Succeed in your Social Game- Boost Engagement in FB, LinkedIn and Instagram

4.1 What is the difference between Like, Share and Comment and how does it affect reach? 4.2 How to create content in which your users will engage?

1. History: From Orkut and Myspace to Facebook and Instagram: How Social Media changed with time

Introduction

It is 2020 and social media is our wholesome supplier of content and information. It is the culmination of all our social needs- we express, consume and inform ourselves through it. Over the years, it has become a platform for connecting communities, discovering art and literature, and driving empowerment and self-growth.

With sensitive fields like mental health, gender inequalities and LGBTQ+ finding voice and acceptance on social media, communal inclusivity has reached a whole new paradigm. But, as naturally as it fits our life today, it has had a fairly exhaustive journey of its own.

This article discusses:

INCEPTION OF SOCIAL MEDIA: The origin of social media- how it evolved from the simple Six Degrees to Friendster, Orkut, MySpace, etc. The rise and fall of these early players in social media, and what assets did they bring to the table.

THE STORY OF FACEBOOK: The gradual decline of the old players and the inception of Facebook. How it went from being a Harvard-only website to a global brand.

INSTAGRAM: Concluding insights into the popularity of Instagram and social media demographics. Also, what makes Instagram so famous with women?

SOCIAL MEDIA AND MARKETING: What can social media platforms do for businesses and how can brands make the most of their marketing on these platforms? How does the tone of the campaign have to vary as per the platform?

Social media- The Inception

How did the idea of social media come to existence in the first place?

Social media is an online platform that is open to all and facilitates public expression across the world, instantly.

We don’t realize how frequently we engage with social media- be it messaging-based apps (Whatsapp), video-based apps (YouTube, TikTok) or profile-based apps (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn). However, it is important to observe that these platforms are recent, while social media is not.

Back in the late 1980s, when personal computers (PCs) came alongside the rapid growth of the Internet, social media was born. So, when 1990 saw the emergence of blogging, people were run over by the idea of social networking. The mere possibility of a regular person engaging with literally anyone, at any time, was groundbreaking. Communities extended beyond geographies to become world-communities, and the significance of the internet was established.

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One of the first players in the field was “Six Degrees”. Launched in 1997, it allowed you to sign up with your email address and add friends to your profile network. It could not run strong at that time and was discontinued in the year 2000.

Then came Friendster, that allowed users to not only make profiles and add friends, but also post videos, photos, and comment on other profiles within their network. It later rebranded as a social gaming platform in 2011. This move helped for a while, after which it suspended services in 2015.

MySpace, which started as a spin-off of Friendster, launched in 2004. In just a year, it had 20 million users, who could make personalized profiles to write posts, stream music, and interact via comments and messages.

Orkut, too, ran along a similar timeline, where the Google-launched service saw its golden days dominating countries like Brazil and India. It fed off the sudden affordability of internet-services, with about 18.7 million users in 2010. Orkut was discontinued in 2014 because of low-engagement and high competition.

However, considering the widespread acceptance for social media platforms (like Facebook and Instagram) today, why is it that some of these did not stand the test of time?

TLDR?

  • Social media was incepted alongside the internet and PCs in the 1980s
  • Six Degrees is credited as the first social media platform, launched in 1997. It allowed you to sign up with your email address and add friends to your profile network.
  • It was followed by Friendster (2000-2011, introduced comments and image and video posts), MySpace (2004-present, introduced customisable profiles, music streaming, etc.) and Orkut (2004-2014, gained massive popularity in Brazil and India)

Facebook- The Success Story

If Orkut and Myspace existed before FB, what made FB what it is today?

Facebook’s ground-sweeping success can be partially attributed to the shortcoming of the old players that it was able to overcome. If we are to analyze the failures of the once-legends- Friendster, MySpace and Orkut- each one of them had their setbacks. However, one can underline some common inconveniences that made users quickly shift to Facebook.

Friendster overlooked the basics of social media: the ‘social’ in social media. Their interface was plain, non-interactive and lacked an engagement platform (what we call News Feed today). Meanwhile, Orkut stepped on user-privacy. If added by the user, it allowed anyone to view his or her profile and contact information. You could also see who viewed your profile, which is great on LinkedIn, but not on social media. MySpace faced a decline due to its poorly organized interface and buggy technology. All these shortcomings were smoothly addressed by Facebook- few at the very start and rest, later, via updates.

Nevertheless, Facebook wasn’t always the star that it is today. It went from “basic” to a global-giant over an eventful journey.

The prodigy’s first messaging app

When the founder Mark Zuckerberg was 11, his parents hired a software-developer to tutor him, who, to this day, calls him a “prodigy”. Following his interest in programming, he developed an internal instant messaging system, ZuckNet. This program helped his father (who ran a domestic dentist clinic) to communicate with his receptionist without her screaming through the house.

A major in Psychology

After excelling in studies at an elite boarding school ‘Phillips Exeter Academy’, Mark surprisingly turned down two of the biggest tech companies in the world. Instead, he went to Harvard to major in Psychology, alongside minoring some computer science subjects. Psychology might come off as an unlikely choice. But when you think about Facebook’s true intent of being addictive and engaging; you can notice an understanding of the human mind.

An invasive website

His time at Harvard became particularly eventful in 2003 when he created Facemash. Controversies followed as the website allowed Harvard students to critique the attractiveness of others to reveal rankings. The site did get 22k photo views in a few hours but was shut down in a few days. Well, he used the students’ photos without permission and so, was rightly hauled at and nearly expelled by the Harvard Administration Board. A public apology later, he moved on towards his next big project- Facebook!

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Zuckerberg worked for a similar project with a group of three classmates- Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra- which he quit to pursue Facebook. However, as they claimed that their concept was shared and hence stolen by Mark for Facebook; each person of the trio was settled with 1.2m shares of the Facebook Company in 2008.

The drop-out

Initially, Facebook was open to only Harvard students, which later expanded to more and more universities in the US and Canada. With its increased popularity and investments pouring in from all directions, Facebook became an official company; complying with which, Mark dropped out of Harvard, to become the CEO of Facebook. Eventually, it opened up to more and more high-schools and universities around the world. The platform became open for everyone in September 2006, and Facebook officially went global.

Acquisition spree

The successes that followed spoke for themselves. With continuous improvements in the interface- provisions of liking comments, tagging people, business pages, privacy measures and everything that the good-old players were not able to deliver, Facebook became the most popular social media platform. It did not intend to stop there. It went on further acquiring Whatsapp, Instagram, and even Oculus VR.

TLDR?

  1. Old Players like Friendster, Orkut and MySpace declined due to shortcomings like- unattractive interface, buggy technology, lack of privacy and modes of engagement.

  2. Facebook, on the other hand, acted as a fresh platform that understood the psychological needs of human interaction.

  3. Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook during his time at Harvard after he nearly got expelled for his website “Facemash” that displayed students’ photos online without their valid consent.

  4. Facebook was first open to only Harvard students, which later expanded to other high schools and universities all over the world. The platform was opened to all in 2006.

  5. It was established as a formal company in 2008. Since then, it has taken over WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus VR.

The next big thing: Instagram

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When Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched Instagram in 2010, they couldn’t have realized that they created a phenomenon that would sweep social-media off its hook. It came through with a clear objective as an app solely to share photos and videos in a square format: a restriction that was later dissolved in 2015. It also allows the users to write a bio with their visual feed and send direct messages. The growth and popularity of Instagram grew exponentially since it was launched. Today it has more than 1 billion active users, with a striking 51 per cent of females. As we delve into the nuances of this app, let us scrutinize why it continues to win over women more than men.

Visual aesthetic

Instagram is an app based on visual aesthetic: a stimulus that women are known to engage with more. It is no surprise that women form a larger base of visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, while men constitute more of the text-based platforms like Quora and Reddit. Since visuals also communicate concepts like beauty and makeup better, women gravitate more towards it.

Content: Of the users, by the users, for the users

Instagram lived up to more than just its attractive feed. With updates such as stories, highlights, explore, live sessions, beautiful and quirky filters and IGTV- it has changed the scenario for social media. It is the one-stop-shop for communication, aesthetic and visual appreciation, videos, live sessions, and so much more. One revolutionary step is the Explore feed that shows content according to what you tend to like or follow and what interests you. A concept similar to that of Facebook (human psychology) it really strikes the right chord with the fleeting youth, with content that is automatically delivered to you as per your needs.

TDLR?

  • Instagram gained massive popularity due to its fresh interface, innovative medium and highly aesthetic, visual medium.
  • Out of over 1 billion active users, 51 percent are females.
  • This is mainly because of its visual interface that is known to appeal more to women.
  • Instagram broke grounds with innovative features, like live sessions, IGTV, Stories, Highlights, etc.
  • What could social media do for brands
  • Channel-wise number of users and what it means for brands

With its widespread accessibility and inclusivity, social media offers huge reach and influence. This has created a platform for brands to reach out to 42% of the world’s population, which accounts for a whopping 3.2 billion people.

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But, with so many unique platforms to choose from, marketing can be tricky. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are all-powerful platforms for outreach. The nature of businesses and the type of marketing content will determine what platform serves you best. The tone and voice of your content will also depend on the platform and the age-group it caters mostly to. However, going through such a huge demographic needs all that time that a social-marketer doesn’t have.

So, we have sorted the hay for you.

Facebook:

Having around 2.45 billion monthly active users (86% of which age between 18-29), Facebook is the number one platform for adults. On average, Facebook users spend 35 minutes on the app, which gives you a good window to get their attention. Facebook is a great place to share a photo and video-based content.

Instagram:

Instagram has 1 billion monthly users. It offers a range of mediums to market- from photos, short videos, IGTV, to stories. If your business identifies with a female-dominated audience, Instagram should be your weapon of choice (51% of users on Instagram are women). Instagram also hosts a variety of youth influencers, ranging from high-profile celebrities to macro/micro-influencers. These often associate with businesses, which is an effective strategy as people relate to the influencers they follow consistently.

LinkedIn:

With 303 million active monthly users, LinkedIn is the top B2B social media platform. A majority of its users lie between 30-49 years of age, so it offers an exclusive reach to the middle-aged working population. However, an average user spends 6 minutes and 7 seconds per session on LinkedIn; hence your content needs to be perceived loud and clear.

Conclusion

Walking through an intensive and exhaustive journey, social media is finally here to stay. The evolution from Six Degrees to Facebook and Instagram suggests that people constantly look for a sense of security and ease of use when it comes to social media. They gravitate towards a convenient medium of communication that aligns with their personal likes and preferences.

To some extent, it has generated support and communal appreciation for all forms of art. The vast influence through social media has created a new era of marketing where the user is in bright light. As each app brings its own assets to the table, markets have the opportunity to choose their platform according to the nature of their business, targeted age-group, and medium of content.

Product Psychology: The Product Principle behind Social Media: Which Principles did FB, Insta and Twitter Adopt to Develop User Habit?

Principle FB, Insta and Twitter did make it a habit

Introduction:

In this guide, we focus on consumer psychology as we try to understand how a certain part of our brain, called the reptilian brain, drives customer behaviour through its decision-making process. We observe how this phenomenon is exploited by social media platforms to create an addictive environment which we become a part of without even realising.

We also look at the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from a marketer’s viewpoint to understand how social media appeals to and benefits off our innate desire of being part of a community and our need to feel included. Furthermore, we look at Nir Eyal’s Hooked model used by habit-forming products that increase user engagement and understand how it fits in the overall equation.

This article discusses:

  • Using consumer psychology, how social media become an addiction
  • The Hooked Model by Nir Eyal and how social media platforms found the sweet spot to design hooks
  • Using consumer psychology, how did social media become an addiction?
  • Don’t we often wonder why we tend to use particular products or particular services more than others? What is it that applications like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, etc. are more popular than an app which makes us do yoga at home, for instance? Why is it that social media platforms observe tremendous engagement rates compared to other platforms?

The nuances lie in neuroscience

In order to understand this, we need to first understand how our minds work. Neuroscience has offered tremendous insights into the workings of our brain. From its structure to the various functions it has, our brain is more complex than one can imagine. Over the years, several theories and models of the brain structure have come into limelight and one such model, devised by neuroscientist Paul Mclean, elaborates upon three dominant structures in the human brain.

The Triune Brain Theory:

The neocortex area is responsible for all our rationalistic thoughts. The Limbic part oversees all the emotional aspects of our lives. However, it is the reptilian part that is the most interesting among the three. According to Mclean’s model, the reptilian area is the oldest part of our brain and is responsible for our instinctive actions and our survival. The focus of the reptilian part is to avoid pain. Thus, it acts as the decision-making part of our brain. Marketers leverage this aspect of our brain by centralizing their value proposition around ‘avoidance of pain’. The reptilian brain seeks to avoid pain more than deriving pleasure out of a particular situation and devotes all its energies towards it. But why does our brain function this way? What is the singular most thing that drives our brain to behave in a certain way when it faces any situation? Understanding the motivational drivers in consumer psychology In order to explain this phenomenon, we need to understand the motivational drivers behind the actions we take and the decisions we make. Abraham Maslow, a 20th-century psychologist, created what is known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a progressive five-tier model that explained the various needs that all human beings require to be fulfilled.

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Figure 1 - Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

According to Maslow’s theory, the different needs presented on the pyramid can be segregated into two sections. Starting from the bottom, the first four levels can be categorized as deficiency needs and the final level is termed as growth needs.

For the bottom-four levels, what motivates individuals to fulfil these needs is the apparent deficiency of the same. As the level of deficiency increases for a need, the drive to fulfil it increases. This is where the reptilian brain comes into play and drives us to act in order to avoid deficiency.

In today’s world, our ideas of community building and a sense of belonging have moved to the realm of the virtual. With the advent of social media, everyone seeks to have an online ‘connect’- whether these are friendships or more intimate relationships that one is looking for. For us, social media acts as a trigger and a remedy for our ‘fear of missing out’ (nowadays, widely regarded with the acronym- FOMO, trending on social media), and to avoid this pain, we resort to engaging with other users on multiple social platforms.

More than the joy of camaraderie that users experience on social media, it is the fear of not being able to be a part of such a community that drives our reptilian brain to engage with it. Sounds intense, right?

Everyone loves anything ‘free’

Another aspect that draws users towards social media is the free nature of its usage. Applications like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp do not charge users anything. What this aspect essentially does is remove any obstacles between the drive (to use social media) and the alleviation (avoidance of pain) that the whole process creates. As we can see, there is a cyclical pattern to this entire process that keeps us hooked to social media. But there is more to this pattern, and we will address it in the next section by understanding Nir Eyal’s hooked model.

The Hooked Model by Nir Eyal and how social media platforms found the sweet spot to design hooks:

Think about what makes us open a social media app like Instagram. Perhaps it’s an internal trigger, where we get the fear of losing out on the ‘stories’ posted on the app. Or, maybe, it’s an external trigger when we get a notification about someone interacting with one of our posts.

We can observe that the same thing happens with Facebook. We get the urge to post about a new experience- whether it’s travelling to a new country or trying out a new restaurant. All these actions increase our probability of being ‘hooked’ to the app. Let’s look at the different components of the hooked model- trigger, action, variable reward and investment.

Figure 2 The Hooked Model

The Hooked model is all about increasing the probability of a user engaging with a product. How it achieves this is by creating a habit amongst users to check their social media accounts constantly. For this, certain components are involved which create a cycle that users become a part of, and eventually, form a habit. Let’s look at the components one by one:

Trigger:

Triggers are external or internal in nature. External triggers are cues in our environment or immediate context that lead us to take action. For instance, a pop-up notification on our phone from an app like WhatsApp or Facebook triggers us to engage with the social media platform. Internal triggers are cues that are independent of any external factors.

They are our own desires or thoughts that lead us towards action. For instance, think of a scenario where we are leaving for home after a tiring day at work. We feel hungry, and we’re wondering what to eat. Suddenly, we open an application like Zomato and start checking out various restaurants and dishes that we would want to try. Here, it’s not the application but our own desire that led us to take action. Action: Action is the various means with which we engage with social media. Creating a Facebook or an Instagram profile, liking pictures, commenting on videos and sharing posts are all considered to be actions that we perform on social media.

Variable Reward:

Variable reward is the result of our actions that we perform on social media. The variable nature of this reward is what keeps us hooked on to a particular app. If rewards for our actions were fixed, there would be no unpredictability when it comes to the results of our actions, and it is this variable nature that sustains our interest and keeps us hooked.

For instance, we never know which tweet of ours would go viral or which Instagram upload would receive tremendous likes. This makes us continuously come back to the platform to receive greater hits of dopamine whenever a post is well-received, or a tweet goes viral.

Investment:

Investment is the time and data we invest when we use a social media platform. What it essentially does is create a sense of ownership in our mind. For instance, when we sign up for a Facebook account, we undergo the experience of creating and nurturing our own profile. Another instance is when we leave a review of our experience on an application like Zomato after ordering a meal. This investment in the form of time and effort and providing our data to social media platforms helps understand user experience and creates a cycle wherein we go back to perform the same actions repeatedly.

Conclusion:

So, what we learned in this chapter is what our mind comprises, and the various segmentations present in it. Then, we understood how our reptilian brain is responsible for our decision making and what motivates human beings to use social media. Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we understood how social media fulfils our desire to feel included and a part of communities and how implementing the hooked model instigates us to develop habits wherein we are constantly engaged with social media.

3. The Growth of Social Media Giants from early days to 2020: FB, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram

Introduction

Social Media has had a significant impact on the lives of many people. We can’t imagine a day without browsing through at least one of the social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. All these platforms were built on the Hooked model. This model is all about building habit-forming products that trigger the users to use the product repeatedly.

These social media platforms have their respective USPs and unique sets of audience. Some of the platforms like Facebook and Instagram had a completely different vision at the time of their conception. Also, many features of these platforms lost their relevance over the years and had to be discontinued. Some platforms took drastic measures like modifying their algorithms altogether on how the content is displayed to the users.

But, how did these platforms begin? Were they used for a different purpose as compared to today? Let us discuss the growth of these platforms in detail in the following sections.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram in its early days

Facebook

Conceived in 2003, Facebook was initially called ‘The Facebook’ and the access to the platform was restricted only to the Harvard students where it was started. Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes were the initial founders. The platform allowed you to create a profile, upload a photo and share interest and connect with other students at Harvard. Over the years, Facebook added various features and also discontinued many because there were no takers for them. Some of the features were Virtual Gift, Facebook Questions, Facebook Beacon, etc.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn was officially launched in 2003 by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly and Jean-Luc Vaillant. This is one of the few social media platforms that has stuck to its original vision and mission to connect professionals of the world to make them more successful in their careers. However, various features have been added to the platform over the years. To name some- who has viewed your profile, easy apply, etc., and some features like LinkedIn Answers and InMaps retired.

Twitter

Founders Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams started Twitter in July 2006. Some thought it to be a social network, some thought it to be a microblogging platform, and the rest thought it was a replacement to the SMS feature of mobile phones with a hint of a social element to it. Since the beginning of Twitter, features such as ‘While you were away’, ‘Instant Timeline’, ‘Quality Filter’ etc. have been added to the feature list, while not many have been removed from the original design.

Instagram

Instagram was started as ‘Burbn’ in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, which was a mobile check-in app. But, due to the similarity with another app called Foursquare, it was renamed as Instagram, with a focus on photo-sharing. The biggest change in Instagram came recently when it announced a complete shift in its algorithm to determine the order of posts on the feed. Let us see what this change is all about in the next section.

How does Instagram algorithm work in 2020?

Instagram is one of the top platforms to advertise your business. Research has shown that marketers in the US are planning to spend 69% more of their advertisement money on Instagram as compared to last year. As of today, Instagram has cemented a place amongst the top 5 social media platforms in the marketing world, just behind Facebook and WeChat.

To achieve this stupendous success, Instagram has constantly evolved over the years. First of all, they changed their aesthetics, then the logo, and finally their algorithm, which turned out to be a game-changer according to us.

Instagram shifted to an algorithmic way of showing content instead of the usual chronological way. This change was announced in 2016 when it was said that Instagram would prioritize the feed for users based on the moments they care about the most. This meteoric shift resulted in a lot of heartburns, especially amongst many influencers who started to lose their audience one by one. But soon enough, they caught up with the algorithm, and things started getting better for them.

Here are the four parameters that play an important role in the new Instagram algorithm–

Your Likes

Instagram constantly keeps a tab of the content you like and shows a similar type of content when you land up on the app. This is because Instagram wants to show you the content that you are most likely to engage with and tries to predict the content that you care about based on your likes.

Engagement with your followers

Your engagement with your followers is another important factor contributing to the latest algorithm. For example, if you are tagged in your follower’s posts or comment on their posts often, you will fall under the important bucket of that person. This sends a signal to Instagram that this follower is quite close to me, and I wish to see more of his/her posts in my feed.

Frequency of your posts

This is arguably the most important factor and is about how often you visit Instagram and how much time do you spend on it. The more you spend, the fresher the content it shows to you. If you are someone who visits Instagram sparingly, then there are high chances that you will be shown the most popular content of the day rather than fresh content.

Instagram has not lost its relevance even today, as it keeps changing itself to adjust to the latest trends. Its latest change in the algorithm only confirms this fact. The new algorithm shows content to a user based on their engagement with followers, their likes to a post, and also their frequency of using Instagram. Mastering all these factors will help marketers across the world to use Instagram to effectively market their products.

A similar decision was made by Facebook recently, on how the posts are displayed to the user. This shift in the algorithm had impacted the users of Facebook too. Let us dig deeper into this massive decision by Facebook.

What is the Facebook News Feed Algorithm, and how to outsmart it?

Facebook, in early 2018, shocked the world when it announced that all the branded content would take a backseat hereafter. Small businesses felt the most heat as they relied massively on Facebook for their sales. According to this change, Facebook users will find only relevant content in their newsfeed to have more meaningful interactions. As a result, you will find more content from your friends, family, and groups and less content from businesses, brands and the media. A further update to the News Feed algorithm was made which focused on the following –

‘Why do I see this post?’

Facebook started offering a context to why a user sees an ad or post in their newsfeed. This was an important way to ensure that the businesses target their audience correctly and encourage interaction with their followers.

Preventing misinformation

Facebook is constantly fighting fake information and misleading content. Though there will not be an impact directly for businesses, it shows that Facebook values trust and transparency. If you start posting anything spammy, there are high chances that it will never be posted.

Personalization

Facebook has been using surveys to gather feedback from its users on the relevancy of the content they see, as a measure to bring in more personalization. Businesses have to work harder to garner likes and comments to show that their content is relevant to the users, and as a result, it will find a place in their newsfeed.

Having seen the fundamental principles on which Facebook news feed works on, you must be wondering if there is a way around for businesses to market their products on Facebook.

For such businesses, we have compiled a list of best practices that will help you outsmart the Facebook news feed algorithm. Here they are–

Post frequently

Like Instagram, Facebook always takes into consideration the frequency of your interaction with it. Ensure that you space out your posts in a day instead of pushing all the content at once.

Share high-quality content

If your post is spam and has low-quality content, the chances of your post finding a top spot on the newsfeed are very low. Instead, post content that engages your friends to rank higher in the news feed.

Use Analytics

Use Facebook Analytics to determine some of the key parameters that will help you drive more engagement with your friends. For example, find out the time when most of your friends are active on Facebook. Post content during that time as it will help in driving maximum engagement with your content.

Respond to others’ posts

Facebook believes that interaction should be a two-way path, and as a result, it gives you higher points when you comment or like your friends’ post. When you do that, it understands that your relationship with that person is close and starts displaying more of their content into your newsfeed.

Conclusion

Social Media is a phenomenon that is not going to die down any time soon. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter quench the thirst for a social life for many people.

These platforms had humble beginnings, often with a different mission and vision from what they stand for today. They have evolved over the years to suit the likes and interests of their audience, often scrapping various features that were part of the original design. Even drastic steps such as changing the entire algorithm of how the users engage with them were taken by some of them. For example, Instagram and Facebook have modified their system to reward those who engage more often with their respective platforms and show only relevant content to them instead of showing all the content in chronological order. This has often resulted in difficulties for various businesses that used such platforms for their marketing activities. But, outsmarting this algorithm is not tough, and some changes in the way you interact with the platform are all it takes to master it.

4. How to Succeed in Your Social Media Game- Boost Engagement on FB, LinkedIn and Instagram

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Social media can make a world of difference to your business. You may have amazing content, but till you don’t know the tricks of the trade, it is likely that even your best content might tank in terms of engagement. On the other hand, even with tier two content, knowing how social media works can make your brand a household name. So, at Pepper, we have decided to let you in on a couple of our secrets to success on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram! Read on for a comprehensive guide on how to amp up your social media game.

What is the Difference Between Like, Comment and Share, and How Does Each Effect Reach?

Understanding Facebook: The Edgerank Algorithm

For social media managers, working around the “Facebook algorithm” has been all the buzz for a couple of years. To put it simply, the Edgerank algorithm is a cluster of mathematical computations that determine what you get to see on your News Feed and in what order. Over the years, it has developed in order to take into account a variety of factors. While Facebook flaunts its algorithm as the key to giving its users a highly personalised experience, there are scores of factors that go into it.

Moreover, ever since Facebook took over Instagram, the latter has also started working with the same algorithm. The equivalent of the share option on Instagram works through stories. Here’s how you can use the Edgerank algorithm to give your content an engagement boost:

Likes, Comments or Shares: Which Is More Important?

For years, social media marketing experts have argued that shares and comments are much more important than likes. Some even go on to put these into two different categories- while likes are considered interaction, comments and shares are what count as engagement. While that is true to an extent, it is not the endgame when it comes to the Edgerank Algorithm.

It is worthwhile to understand the importance of likes when it comes to engagement. A higher number of likes certainly boosts the post higher up on to the news feed. To add on, likes and reactions are a great way of measuring positive feedback to your posts. Comments and shares, on the other hand, have a much heavier weightage for a better place in the Edgerank algorithm.

Within this, sharing with written content in the shared post works the best. So, it is best to understand whether the kind of content you are putting out can garner a comment, be it agreement (preferably) or otherwise. This is where clickbait content fails miserably. The ideal content will always be that which a user would like to pass on to others with a comment of their own.

Know Your Audience

Making sure your content is directed towards a specific target audience is very important to work with the algorithm. More than the number of shares and so on, the Edgerank algorithm intends to give every user a completely personalised feed.

This means that users get to see the content that they are interested in, before everything else. A key element that the algorithm uses to identify such content is the time a user spends on a particular type of post. The more time one spends a kind of post, the more likely they are to see similar ones. This is where working with top-notch content creators comes handy.

First of all, you need to identify a specific target audience that you would like to aim your content towards. For example, if we were to put out a post for quick tips on losing weight in a week, we would be looking at the age group of 18-56 consisting mostly of women and people interested in topics like beauty and fashion. You can identify several other factors like race, ethnicity, general interests, city, country, and so on. Once you have a set target audience ready, get those creative juices flowing. Modify the visuals, text, as well as the language and tonality of your post according to what your target audience is most likely to spend time on.

How to Create Content in which Your Users Will Engage?

Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram: What Kind of Content Works Best for Which Platform

The general theory to getting your platforms right is this- articles, personal experiences, and images- in this very order for the platforms. Facebook is a great platform for using articles and links from your website and creating actionable content. For Facebook, keep your content crisp and concise, making sure it encourages the reader to open the article link. Work well on your meta headline for the article to boost this interest, and make sure you leave out plenty to be read or seen through the actual link.

LinkedIn, however, is a platform where reverse psychology works best. In a hoard of strictly professional content, it is the post with personal touches that stands out. Make sure your content addresses your target readers directly and give it the most humane and relatable language as possible. Write the post in first person and highlight your brand values. This does not only reach out to potential employees but to potential partners and contributors to your brand as well. Try to maximise on building connections between your brand and others.

Instagram is often considered an image-only platform, but there’s so much more to it other than just that. It is a variety that sets you apart on a platform like Instagram. Let’s just face it- it’s not always possible to be the best at posting ground breaking images in a world of content overload. However, it is possible to engage your target audience, nevertheless. Go beyond those picture-perfect settings and photographs. Balance your posts between interesting GIFs, infographics, designs, videos, and so on. Let the visuals do the speaking, while keeping your content crisp. Instagram stories, however, can be a wholly different ballgame.

How to Win Instagram and Facebook Stories

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Instagram and Facebook stories are nothing short of revolutionary, when it comes to brand engagement. With the ever-shortening attention span of a content consumer, stories are perhaps the one place where you can engage your viewers the most. However, it is not as easy as it looks. To win the game of stories, we can broadly categorise three key practises to follow: creating storyboards, collaborating, and making sense of aesthetics.

With Instagram stories, you must always plan ahead. So, it becomes extremely important to create storyboards and allocate slots before the beginning of your day. Once you have a connected progression between your stories, viewers tend to keep going on watching your stories instead of dropping out in between. Integrate your collaborations with other brands- so that they can also share the stories on their pages- within their stories.

Meanwhile, make sure you don’t overload your users with excessive text. Make good use of stickers and ensure that your stories match the overall aesthetic of your brand. Match colour boards with moods, and designate text to one story after another.

Voila, you have stories that set you apart and leave an impression in your viewer’s mind!

Create Content That Users Love to Share!

By now, we’re sure you have plenty of ammunition in your social media knowledge kitty. This last point, however, is the key to tying it all together- create share-worthy and engaging content! Some of the general guidelines that can help you do the same are keywords, crisp language, and interesting titles. Keywords are great not just for SEO-purposes, but also because they increase the readability of your content. A user scans for these keywords to keep on reading. Keep your sentences short and your language easy. Finally, keep your titles interesting- it is mostly the title of the link you’re sharing that draws people into actually opening it.

Remember, the most important thing in ensuring how engaging you can be on social media is voicing your brand. Keep your originality and your values intact in your content. It is always uniqueness that make content memorable.

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