Twitter’s New Algorithm

Twitter announced on February 10, 2016 that it would be rolling out a new feature which prioritizes “the best tweets from people you know.” News of this announcement spread (okay—exploded) across the internet with widely varying interpretations like a game of social media telephone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath. We’ll get through this together.

So how does this work?

First thing’s first. Enable the feature. On the desktop version of Twitter, click settings. Within the timeline section, choose “Show me the best Tweets first” and click save. The new feature will automatically be turned on across your account (desktop AND app). It will be helpful to get used to the new changes before Twitter turns this new feature on for you. It’ll also enable you to aptly take advantage of best tweets for your brand and think of how to engage with your followers from a new perspective.

I decided to give the new feature a shot and enabled it in my personal profile.  Initially, I couldn’t tell the difference in user experience until I did a closer examination of my feed (well, that, and I got a notification that the feature was now active). About 15 tweets toward the top of my feed were featured out of Twitter’s reverse chronological order, but none were over an hour of recency—then, as promised, my feed looked totally normal. As far as relevancy was concerned, I can confirm that the top tweets were from handles I have commonly interacted with before.

So now the question is, how will this impact brands? Although it’s still too early to definitively say how things will go, here are a few tips to help brands prepare and react in the meantime.

Content Relevancy is Higher Than Ever

The importance of content relevancy has always been high, but Twitter’s new feature makes it more important than ever by rewarding & highlighting relevancy. In fact, , for its user base, tweets with images received 150% more retweets than tweets without images.

However, simply including a visual doesn’t make a tweet relevant. Focus on the quality and variety of your content with stunning graphics, facts and how-tos embedded within imagery, on-brand material, relevant and limited #hashtags, and genuinely interesting information.

Consider How Your Content Can Be Tailored To Those Already Engaged with Your Brand

If Twitter decides that your brand content is relevant to a user, chances are that that user has talked about, engaged with, or retweeted you before. Consider how your content can be branded and tailored to those already familiar with or interested in your brand.

Learn how to use Twitter Analytics to find out which tweets have received the most impressions, URL clicks, detail expansions, retweets, favorites, replies, and more. This information will yield insight into the types of content that have performed most successfully so you can create additional content in this same vein. Additionally, Twitter Analytics will take you specifics about your audience including topics of interest to them—this data will allow you create content that targets fields and topics that matter to them. All of this information will allow you to appeal to those who are more likely candidates to be shown your brands content as part of their best tweets.

Analyze.

As the new algorithm is pushed out across the platform, start to keep a close eye to your Twitter metrics. Have they changed at all? Are your tweets doing better since the change – or worse? Compare it to previous months. Hypothesize why and conduct further experimentation.

Learn from your results then utilize these lessons to strengthen your strategy over and over again.

Hopefully by now you’re breathing a little easier. Change will always come with a great deal of opposition, but this new feature is just a slight adjustment seemingly for the better–NOT a migration to a purely algorithmic Twitter feed.

It’ll be interesting to watch how this feature evolves over time, and what other additions Twitter has in store for us in the near future. So relax, don’t panic, and ask yourself: is your brand’s tweet engaging enough to prompt a RT when it’s put front and center?

Natalie Cullings
Marketing Analyst, Marketing Technology

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Posted on February 17, 2016 in Content Marketing, Data-Driven PR, Marketing Technology, Social Media, Twitter

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