Twitter recently announced controversial changes to its content that do not sit well with its user base. However, founder Jack Dorsey defends the changes, positing that they will create a more positive experience overall with minimal trade offs.
For businesses not really concerned about the politics of social media, understanding what these changes could mean is more important from a bottom line perspective. Business owners and their social media managers will likely have to adjust their strategies in order to boost the perceived relevance or interest of their tweets rather than taking a derivative “me, too!” approach to social campaigns and engagement.
It’s End of the Tweets as We Know It?
Recent announcements of changes to Twitter predictably set the user base ablaze with people positing the impending Tweetpocalypse and #RIPTwitter becoming a trending hashtag. At the heart of these changes lies Twitter’s desire to move towards an algorithm-based feed, where tweets deemed more relevant or interesting take priority over ones determined to be less consequential.
Twitter already has nearly-identical functionality with its “While You Were Away” feature, which is intended to allow users to quickly catch up on the most important activity. The proposed change would make this prioritized arrangement a standard feature, meaning that users would digest information in non-chronological order the first time they were exposed to it. When reading already seen content, the timeline reverts back to strict chronology.
Overall, this functionality seems very close to Facebook’s updated timeline. Criticisms of that feature are now being leveled at Twitter, saying that information will become an echo chamber and that accounts with sporadic engagement could fall off the face of the Twitterverse.
For brands, this problem represents a serious danger, since the chance to get a lucky surge in engagement or CTR becomes slimmer with every passing ignored tweet. They may have to rely instead upon the following techniques to maintain consistent results or to get better performance out of their Twitter account.
1. Take Ownership of Trending Topics
Simply riding on the coattails of others will not be enough in a Twitterconomy where derivative content gets pushed back. Making use of trending topics is still a recommended strategy, but brands will have to challenge themselves to take on an original perspective or imagine the purest use of humor or poignancy in light of the trend. Think big, or your message will be drowned out.
2. Get Personal
Personal engagement will in theory rank higher than hackneyed brand messages in the new algorithm-based timeline. Wish someone happy birthday, start a real conversation about localized issues or speak honestly in a way that conveys both emotion and logic. Soulless marketing tactics have no place in a content queue that prioritizes relevance.
3. Don’t Rely Too Heavily on Real Time Appeal
Aside from complaints about turning Twitter into Facebook, other users bemoan that the algorithm could “break” Twitter’s ability to display real-time conversations, such as live tweeting or give-and-takes between multiple accounts. Twitter’s Jack Dorsey assures that this will not be the case, but brands must be careful to not rely too much on simply being at the right place and the right time with their messages. Instead, they have to be confident that the content is of such a quality that the timeline algorithm will mark it as displayable rather than ignorable.
4. Try New Things, Anything and Everything
Who truly knows what the algorithm will deem worthy or how audience engagement will affect exposures? While making predictions is worthwhile, the proof is in the Tweeting.
Try new tactics that break away from your old ones. Have something to say about content instead of just posting a description. Cut down on the amount you retweet. Start posting more pictures. Try anything and everything you can, measure the results and let them inform social channel decisions moving forward.
5. Consider Tweet Timing a Re-Opened Frontier
Even with making these changes, businesses will not be able to predict the new timeline algorithm’s effect on time-sensitive postings. Measurement will become even more critical as Twitter brand accounts decide whether to abandon scheduled posting strategies or to double-down on more precise timeframe selection.
6. Pass the Buck to a Digital Marketing Company
When it comes to your bottom line, there is no shame in seeking outside help. Monumental changes like these happen all the time in the fast-paced world of online platforms, and it takes a real pro to keep up.
EverSpark Interactive has been around long enough to get a feel for how these developments play out and what the best response might be. We also rigorously measure and test strategies to find approaches that are proven rather than going with gut instincts.
Let us handle the frontier for you while you focus on what you’re best at. Visit our digital marketing services page to learn more about what we can do for you.