Reaching multiple time zones now requires longer-term strategies
Hearing the phrase “algorithm update” in the same sentence as “social media marketing” has been known to trigger panic in marketers and brands that have worked hard to establish a strong social media presence.
As major social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter make ongoing algorithm changes to enhance the user experience, marketers are left flailing to determine how to continue promoting their products and services without being affected by these seemingly drastic changes.
Earlier this year in February, Twitter announced the rollout of a new timeline change or algorithm. This new algorithm allows users to catch up on tweets they might have missed from accounts they engage with the most upon logging into the app.
Going forward, instead of seeing tweets displayed in chronological order, users will first see tweets that interest them the most based on factors determined by the new algorithm. These tweets will display in a section called “show me the best tweets first,” and precede chronological tweets posted by other accounts that Twitter feels are less engaging.
Do Guy Kawasaki’s suggestions from 2013 hold? While Twitter’s latest algorithm change may sound scary to social media marketers who rely on promoting the same content through multiple tweets, the update is actually positive, and could result in your content reaching a wider audience and generating more engagement.
Here’s a look at the details of Twitter’s new timeline algorithm change, and what it means for sharing repeated content.
The ins and outs of Twitter’s algorithm update
Analysis by URL-shortening platform Bitly reveals that the typical half-life of a link on Twitter is just less than three hours. Wisemetrics says the average tweet clocks in at 24 minutes. This means that users who aren’t logged in and reading Twitter all day long could be missing out on important updates from accounts and brands they care about the most.
To be those stats, marketers often promote and share the same content repeatedly throughout the day to make sure it reaches as much of its target audience as possible.
Under Twitter’s new timeline algorithm, tweets are still posted chronologically, but could rank higher in timelines based on when users log in, and on how often users typically interact with your brand’s tweets. This is a positive change for brands that publish unique, interesting, and valuable tweets that generate engagement since Twitter automatically ranks these posts higher. On the other hand, brands that rely solely on Twitter’s chronological timeline will struggle if their content fails to interest their followers.
Twitter’s algorithm chooses which tweet to display at the top of users’ timelines based on likes, comments, retweets, clicks, and other metrics that signify engagement. The key to getting your brand’s tweets showing up at the top of users’ timelines is to post and share tweets that appeal, interest, intrigue, and offer value to your target audience.
Instead of having to rely on followers being in the right place at the right time, start developing tweets higher in quality and trust that Twitter will share it with users who can benefit from your content the most.
Social media analytics firm Locowise reached out to Twitter employees to find out which factors determine which tweets are featured at the top of users’ timelines. Here’s what the algorithm takes into consideration when selecting tweets:
- Only tweets from accounts being followed are displayed
- Tweets are ranked based on organic engagement
- Paid engagements are not factored into the algorithm
- Featured tweets are often from accounts a user interacts with the most
- Featured tweets are based on user interests
- Trending topics and tweets are highly favored
- Tweets with multiple retweets likes and comments might rank higher
How to overcome Twitter’s new algorithm update
Sharing repeated tweets is an ideal way to get more mileage from your best content, including evergreen content that continues to offer value over time.
It’s less about getting one tweet out multiple times per day, and more about getting one tweet out multiple times per month or quarter (and to different time zones of course).
If your brand is worried about how Twitter’s new algorithm change will affect user engagement, focus on developing posts your users will truly love and appreciate. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates once said “content is king,” and the sooner your brand adopts that mindset, the higher your tweets will rank in timelines.
Here are additional tips you can follow to overcome the latest timeline update with repeated content:
- Stick to your sharing schedule. Continue posting tweets at the times they perform best based on analytics. As long as your tweets are high in quality and generate interaction, Twitter will feature your posts at the top of users’ timelines when appropriate.
- Add variety to tweets that share repeated content. Instead of changing just a few words in tweets that promote the same content, change the entire message to make it sound different, give the topic a new spin, and to avoid sounding spammy. For example, share the title of your blog post in one tweet, then cite a fact from your blog post in another tweet.
- Add images and videos. Tweets that feature photos and videos are most effective at fueling user engagement, according to Twitter. Experiment with adding visual content to tweets to maximize their lifespans.
- Monitor your results. Use analytics tools to determine which tweets are generating the most engagement. Then, make changes to your social media marketing strategy as needed to improve user engagement. Also, consider using automated social media services that help your content reach its ideal target audience at the right times, and that offers analytics platforms so you can spend less time worrying about Twitter’s algorithm, and more time on satisfying your customers and maximizing ROI for your brand.