Why You Should Consider the Twitter Algorithm When Planning Your Content
Why You Should Consider the Twitter Algorithm When Planning Your Content
The algorithms are coming…. the algorithms are coming!
I had the pleasure of listening to a strategy talk in San Diego from Andrew and Pete, (famous YouTubers, and Twitterers), who presented a very entertaining session to do with the Twitter algorithm. I picked up some fabulous golden nuggets which I thought I would share with you today.
Twitter first introduced an algorithm in February 2016. It was not accepted well within the Twittersphere. The hashtag #RIPTwitter started trending. Once the dust had settled, the world realised that the algorithm was actually not as bad as everyone thought so it was time to embrace the change.
Twitter’s algorithm is no way near as dramatic as Facebook’s algorithm, but it is something that all business owners need to consider when planning content for your Twitter channel.
Twitter’s Algorithm is GOOD news for business owners
As business owners, we now have an opportunity to shine. No longer is the home feed produced in chronological order, full of irrelevant content. We are now fed content that we are interested in as individuals. There are two elements that I would like to highlight:
Element #1 – In Case You Missed It
If you click home, then scroll down to a section called “In case you missed it” you will find a selection of tweets that Twitter believe you may be interested in. These tweets are selected based on who you are following, mutual connections, the popularity of content, and if you engage with the individuals.
Element #2 – Ranked Timeline
Check out the image below. You can see that the first post from Jackie Torr was Tweeted 23 hours ago, and the one below from Wagstaff Recruitment was 17 hours ago. Popular content will appear at the top, even if it was tweeted a while ago.
Why is this good news?
We now have an opportunity for tweets to stay around for much longer than pre-algorithm. Previously our Tweets would be posted in chronological order and then hundreds of tweets would appear above our message, which meant that it would have to be seen at the right time by the right people. Now that has gone. If your tweet is popular then you will be rewarded – just like these tweets in the image above.
The Nine Main Components of the Twitter Algorithm
#1 – Time
Twitter is fundamentally a live platform, therefore the timing of your posts do matter. Twitter will always show brand new posts over old content. That’s its job. People are on Twitter to find the latest news and developments in the world.
Andrew and Pete recommended:-
- Post as often as you can
- Post in real time
- Post when your audience is online. (use Tweriod.com or Manageflitter.com)
- Post off the hour (many people check Twitter just after a meeting has finished, or perhaps when a TV show has finished).
- Hot topics/trending topics are also great for reach.
#2 – Users Interests
The second part of the algorithm is relevance. Twitter will show tweets to users based on their interests. Ideally, you need to be posting content that you believe your Twitter audience is interested in. Relevance is more important than quantity. How do you find out what your audience is interested in? Simply go to your analytics, click “audience” and scroll down to “interests”. See screenshot of my Twitter followers interests below.
Post about these topics and you can’t go wrong.
#3 – Credibility Signals
The Twitter algorithm favours accounts that are deemed to be credible. Signals to prove that you are a credible account are:-
- Have a completed profile with great headers and photos, full bio, etc.
- Be selective in your language and images (no swearing or nudity)
- Be aware that there are four signals for others to tell Twitter that your content is not suitable (block, mute, report and “I don’t like this tweet” button).
- Do not spam
- Posting broken links is a bad signal for your account.
- Try not to send your audience to a non-mobile website, as this will also affect your credibility.
#4 – Engagement
Twitter will give a higher relevancy score to those tweets that are popular. There are some obvious factors that we all know counts as engagement such as replies, retweets, likes, clicks and views, but did you know that these other factors are also included within the Twitter algorithm:-
- Time spent reading and watching content
- Adding a Tweet to a “Moment”
- Sharing via a direct message
- If people click to visit your profile from a Tweet that you shared then this is an engagement signal.
- A follow is also an engagement signal.
Here are a few tips that I noted to help with creating better engagement posts:-
- Ask for Retweet (use the full word, not just RT). Apparently, the stats are you are x 25 more likely to get a RT if you ask for it.
- Start a debate or use the poll function
- Post questions – start conversations. Don’t post sales type questions! Your audience is not stupid.
- @mention or tag someone in a post if it is relevant.
- Gif Games – tapping and pausing (these are fantastic!!) – see below example.
— Andrew and Pete (@AndrewAndPete) March 18, 2017
#5 – Providing Value Content
Are you just posting SEO friendly titles with links back to your website? We now have 280 characters to play with, so giving your content away on Twitter, rather than sending them to your website will give your tweets more exposure in the algorithm. Providing some create content within your tweets is key.
#6 – Try not to provide “vanilla” content
What is vanilla content? This is the type of content that is relatively boring. Often (including me), people will produce a blog title as the tweet, with a link to the blog. Andrew and Pete describe this as “Vanilla” content. Why not give some of that juicy content away from the actual tweet and then adding the link so if people want to read more then they can. We need to convert the vanilla content into the type of content that evokes the emotion of some kind. Share a bit of you. Share your behind the scenes, perhaps post your opinions or thoughts. Be real, be genuine and don’t be vanilla.
#7 – Remove your “exhausted content” and replace with fresh content
We are big fans of tools such as eClincher, MeetEdgar, Social JukeBox, etc. that regurgitate content, but it is not a reason to not be on Twitter. Twitter is NOT a set it and forget it platform. Automation should be there to start conversations with your audience, not to simply broadcast your message. We have recently switched off some of our old content that was being regurgitated as it was tired and outdated. It is easy to fall into the trap of “I’m tweeting, so all is ok in the world”, but we need to remember that this is not what Twitter is all about. It is a “social” network. The word “social” is rather important.
#8 – Past Engagement
People get shown more of the tweets of authors that they have engaged with in the past. This means that all of your rubbish tweets are actually affecting your potential for future popularity. We don’t have to wait for people to jump into our conversations, we can jump into theirs, which starts the dialogue. Stay in touch with people who matter (and there is an excellent tool called Cloze that A&P recommend).
#9 – Mix up your Media
Did you know that Twitter will show more of the media type that they prefer? For example, if I tend to click on lots of videos, then Twitter will show me more videos. If I engage with lots of polls then I will be shown more polls. Andrew and Pete showed some interesting statistics with regards to using multi-media in your tweets:-
- 18% more click-throughs
- 89% more favourites
- 150% more retweets
As a rule – try and add a visual of some kind with every tweet. A picture, infographic, video, live stream, gif, poll, etc. Mix it up for best results.
Do you know what type of tweet performs best for you? Simply visit your Twitter analytics and click on “top tweets”. You will see what is working for you. Do more of what is working and less of what is not working.
Are you utilising the Twitter Studio Platform? I really need to create a video for this as it is wicked and I have never used it! You can create cards within your videos, subtitles and so much more. Watch this space and I will create a video on how to use this in the next week or so. In the meantime, click here to visit the software and experiment with your Twitter videos.
The other thing to consider is to create a brand channel on the Giphy website and start using your own GIFs. Visit www.giphy.com/join/apply.
Andrew and Pete have created a whole bunch of animated GIFs that they will tweet to individuals to say certain things. (Example of their Good luck GIF is below). I thought this was a genius idea and I am keen to create my own version. Watch this space!
Twitter is not dead. You need to be in it, show up and jump in the deep end if you want to be successful. You need to stand out from the crowd, create highly visual content that has the wow factor. Be you, be authentic and show your personality. If you need to be corporate then think how you can add a bit of “humanisation” to your tweets. Remember, if your content is boring or if you constantly broadcast your own sales message, then the algorithm will simply switch you off. You will be talking to yourself and we all know that this is the first sign of madness.