The changing world of social – are you algorithm savvy?
Bob Dylan sang ‘Times, they are a changing’ at a slow pace on his guitar back in ‘64.
It’s a timeless tune. However, today’s rhythm demands a faster pace – all conducted by the algorithms of social media.
The vast majority of us use social media in some form, personally or professionally – or both.
In business, undeniably, social channels offer marketers a huge advantage to build an audience, share ideas, build credibility and to increase brand awareness and engagement.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most commonly used social channels in business, and many of us visit several times daily as they refresh in real-time across our devices.
But if you’re looking to harness the power of social media for marketing and promotional purposes, you need to know how. Learning the ropes can be challenging, because the rules are always changing.
So, in this article we ask: how aware are you of recent social media algorithm changes? Do you know how will they affect your business?
Let’s start with Facebook
It always listens to feedback to help improve the service it provides.
For example, users recently requested an easier way to see posts from friends and family, as a dedicated space within their feed. So, in October (2017) Facebook tested how to provide this, along with another separate space called ‘Explore’ that contained only posts from pages and advertisers.
These tests were trialled in six countries: Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia.
The goal was clear: to see if users preferred separate pages for personal and public content. The result? Referral traffic plummeted, and this feature will now not be rolled out beyond the test countries.
So, what does this mean for your business? That users are happy to welcome advertising and promotional posts within their feed – provided it’s relevant to them. Your brand needs to be the “familiar friend” within your community’s feed, one that talks to them directly in an approachable and engaging tone – talk to us as we can help you with this.
Currently, Facebook is also testing ‘sets’. These are themed groups of posts that allow users to collect status updates, memes, photos and videos and share them as a group. It works similarly to Pinterest but with the potential of sharing en masse rather than sending ideas as individual posts.
Great news for your business if these sets are rolled out, as you can reach a greater audience with themed branded content.
Connections made easier with LinkedIn
Let’s take a quick look at LinkedIn.
It’s a platform that’s been criticised over the years for its limited functionality. But as user demand has grown, and since Microsoft took over the reins, progress is starting to show and their October update is no exception. Imagine a version of WhatsApp that instantly links to your business contacts and allows you to:
- start group conversations with up to three colleagues
- attach photos, documents and PDFs to messages
- inject personality with gifs, emojis and stickers.
That’s exactly what LinkedIn’s new message platform upgrade delivers – take a sneaky peek at the layout.
You can now respond faster to your contacts and apply greater detail when you’re on the go – all from your mobile device.
And LinkedIn are not the only ones investing in user-friendly functionality.
Snapchat and Instagram have benefitted from 73% and 55% increase in ad spend thanks to their Snap Map and Instagram Stories options which were introduced in October (2017). While Snap Map displays which friends are nearby – you as a brand have the potential to share that space and offer your services.
Instagram Stories gives you the opportunity to post a roll of images or video that disappears after 24 hours. Any reactions and posts to your stories stay private and don’t appear publicly so it operates as two separate feeds using one social platform. Ideal for short product features and news updates from your brand.
Transparency guaranteed with Twitter
Twitter also made important updates, with the design of a new Advertising Transparency Centre that allows users to see all the current ads running on the platform, and specifically those targeted directly at them. This will go live in the US first during October/November 2017, with a plan to roll out globally in the future.
What’s more, this update also offers users the option to report inappropriate ads and give negative feedback – giving brands even more to consider before launching a new campaign.
Following the 2016 US election scandal, Twitter has also banned advertising from two news outlets – RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik – and has announced that all future political ads will be clearly labelled as such.
The company has also agreed for the independent Media Rating Council (MRC) to audit its ad measurements immediately. For advertisers this means greater transparency and higher confidence in accurate targeting.
Social media requires an investment. Your time.
Social media is an ever-evolving beast. One that demands your attention and your time.
Keeping up-to-date with social media changes and trends can be a full-time job, which for many time-poor business owners and marketers means that their social media marketing efforts are under-optimised and under-performing.
That’s where your agency really add value.
Why use a marketing agency to manage your social media?
Your agency understands your brand, your proposition, your audience, your values and your goals. As social media specialists, they can execute a social media plan tailored specifically for you – saving you time researching social trends and taking full advantage of algorithm changes as they happen – in real-time.
The need for speed
Speed and agility are both essential when using social media in business. You can’t afford to miss the latest opportunities to convey your message. Social won’t wait for you to catch up.
It only operates in the now. But thankfully, your agency can be reactive on your behalf. They can ensure your brand is at the forefront of technology and that your voice is socially active at all times, across multiple platforms.
Your agency should be socially tuned-in to your business and ready to embrace the changing times for your brand. We are and it’s time we said hello.