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Social Media Algorithm Changes and What You Need to Know

By June 17, 2016 April 5th, 2018 Industry Perspective

Social Media Algorithm Changes

In mid-March, Twitter and Instagram announced striking algorithm changes in the way users see content in social media timelines for each platform. Now, instead of a chronological order, users will see content that relates most to them, instead of a quickly moving stream of content, where individual Tweets and posts can sometimes be lost.

Twitter’s new non-reverse chronological timeline is algorithm-based and “will use data based on a user’s previous Twitter activity to determine what to show them at the top of their timeline,” according to a report by Search Engine Journal. In a similar fashion, Instagram will also begin using an algorithm to show users the “moments [they] care about first,” claiming that before the change Instagram users missed on average of 70% of their feeds.

What do these changes mean for brands? And should marketers be scared that these changes would prevent messaging from reaching the target audience effectively? These disruptions in social media consumption could actually be advantageous to marketers who want to make sure they reach the most engaged consumer. As a result, there are three big things we’ll all need to keep in mind.

More engaging content

Brands that want content to be seen—yes, you likely fall into that camp—will now, possibly more than ever, need to consider each piece for its engagement potential. Is this picture one of the best? Is this tweet written in the most effective way? If it’s really good, it’s more likely to be successful online. There are significant rewards in constructing creative ideas for your followers. The days of content being seen, just because you have a Twitter handle or Instagram account are over. Today’s noisy social media landscape, combined with upcoming changes, mean that good content has the best odds of reigning supreme over frequent content and high follower counts.

Adding video and imagery to social media platforms also show more engagement online. In a study by Xerox, researchers found colored visuals increased readership by 80 percent, and content that included any photography increased readership by 94 percent.

Consider a well rounded outreach approach

In real time, it’s unlikely anyone will see branded content as soon as it’s posted, and the algorithms will frequently blow that content straight out of our streams. Businesses who really want a solid guarantee for exposure should consider a paid strategy in addition to engaging content and thoughtful imagery. Organic reach isn’t what it used to be, and brands will consistently struggle if relying on this method alone.

For example, when Facebook decided to change its algorithm, brands saw organic reach plummet. As a result, companies were left with years of cultivated followers that they were unsure how to reach without immediately handing over tons of cash. In order to combat what seemed like an inevitable failure, companies began sharing more relevant content by reviewing insights and engagements on specific posts, and posting more of that with only a little boost. So while ad spend was still necessary, it certainly wasn’t as much as originally anticipated when combined with videos, imagery, quizzes and content that demanded engagement by the user in a more compelling way.

Keep tabs on changes

Social platforms are bound to change as technology advances. As new algorithms are introduced, social media platforms will continuously update, revise and eliminate certain aspects that businesses might have found worked before. Staying up-to-date will increase the quick action marketers take in making necessary changes on official social media accounts.

The great news is that in the long-term, companies will no longer need to organically battle for space. As a result of the change, data and market research into targeted users and content will reign supreme; creating more engagement with users who genuinely care about a brand and want to receive it’s content, which is what all businesses really desire in the first place.

Constant change in social media means you need experts on your brand side. It’s tempting to hire a recent grad to run your social media, but having an experienced agency handle social media alongside your media relations campaigns keeps messages consistent and content engaging. Contact us if you’re looking for help from BLASTmedia.

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About BLASTmedia

BLASTmedia is a national PR agency specializing in media relations, content creation and amplification. We believe that hustle and dedication deliver results.

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