Keeping Up with the Algorithms (#SMTLive Recap)
Nobody understands the struggle of content creation better than social media marketers. We put so much effort into building the right strategy for our brand, but that strategy is never finished going through its editing stage.
With new features always popping up and the social media algorithms constantly evolving, it's critical that we, social marketers, are up to speed on the news and can adjust our strategies accordingly.
For the latest #SMTLive Twitter chat, we discussed content marketing challenges surrounding these social media algorithm changes. I was lucky to have one of my favorite content marketing experts, Bob Carver, join me to co-host this event.
As promised, I went back and gathered a few highlights from the chat and put together a short recap below. Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their thoughts and experiences with the group.
Questions asked during the chat:
- With social media algorithms always changing, how do you stay on top of the news?
- Do you revisit your content strategy every time there is a major algorithm update or do you wait to see how it affects you?
- Has an algorithm change (on Facebook or any other social network) ever negatively impacted your content promotion efforts? If so, how did you adapt your strategy?
- What tips do you have for securing your company (or clients) from losing reach due to algorithm changes?
- What is your businesses most successful form of content on social? Why do you think that is?
How do you stay on top of all the social media algorithm changes?
As a marketer, isn't half the job being aware and informed of societal trends and hot topics? It's our job to keep our eyes open and know what's happening all around us.
A1. Knowing which sources to turn to is particularly helpful when you're the only social media professional at your job. Previously, I worked at an agency with a giant social department, so we'd keep each other updated. #SMTLive— Daniel Quitério (@dan_quiterio) March 27, 2018
I like this questions because there are so many awesome ways to consume news. When it comes to staying on top of social algorithm changes, the group had a wide range of suggestions.
A1: I stay plugged into the platform notifications. Those are easy to miss but are often the first source of news. #SMTLive— Bob Carver (@BobCarverTC) March 27, 2018
Here are a few others:
- Following certain social media news accounts
- Watching Twitter lists
- Subscribing to industry newsletters
- Subscribing to social media podcasts
- Installing marketing plug-ins (ex: Zest)
- Setting up Google Alerts
- Keyword searching on social monitoring tools (ex: Hootsuite, SproutSocial, Buffer, etc.)
Thanks for the shout out, Mary! I love writing the newsletter in the mornings. For anyone else interested, you can subscribe to my newsletter here for daily (or weekly) social media and digital marketing updates in your inbox: Social Media Today newsletter.
Also, we recently created a new page on SMT that filters in every new post that covers news and important information on algorithm updates: Keeping Up with the Algorithms.
Should you revisit your content strategy after every major algorithm update?
Some people say that it's rare for an algorithm update to really affect their content performance, but others say they have felt the harsh effects of an algorithm update -- some claim even to the point of the downfall of their company.
A2: A great content strategy shouldn't be reliant on ever-evolving algorithms. #smtlive— Kristin Hassan (@KristinDHassan) March 27, 2018
Here at Social Media Today, we always do a quick "check-in" with the team to discuss how the update might affect us, at minimum to simply make sure we are all aware of the news. This way we can be prepared if we do see a major dip in social traffic and engagement.
A2: We try to revisit our strategies at least quarterly - and always after major algorithm updates like Facebook's in January.#SMTLive— Franco (@FrancoPRGroup) March 27, 2018
A2. I wait a bit. Social for my company operates in a weird way that's often contrary to best practice. Our audience engages with things that best practice says it shouldn't--and vice versa. #SMTLive https://t.co/nqMWrTgjaq— Daniel Quitério (@dan_quiterio) March 27, 2018
A2: We like to study the impact of changes to determine how to adjust, but ongoing campaigns often need to be insulated. #SMTLive— Bob Carver (@BobCarverTC) March 27, 2018
Has an algorithm change ever negatively impacted your content efforts? If so, how did you adapt your strategy?
A3. When dealing with FB, I'm a believer in leaning in to the changes rather than looking for ways to combat them. In Vegas, the house always wins. Might as well leverage their changes to work for you. #SMTLive— Daniel Quitério (@dan_quiterio) March 27, 2018
A3: We may use paid promotion such as post boost to insulate campaigns. We also use influencer and micro-influencer engagement #SMTLive— Bob Carver (@BobCarverTC) March 27, 2018
First, putting money behind your content is always a safe way to secure your standing on any platform. Also, tapping into your influencers is another easy way to secure your brand image and promotions.
A3: I think #Instagram’s initial algorithm change impacted my biz. We continued to post, when appropriate, but started to use the stories feature more and saw A LOT of engagement there. Both tactics play side by side now and luckily the old algorithm is coming back. #SMTLive https://t.co/IBEyNPqhZz— Katelyn Brower (@BrowerKDnB) March 27, 2018
A3: Algorithm changes shouldn't have the power to "negatively" impact your content if you plan well, have a sound strategy, and a devoted social following. Algorithm changes simply require that you become more creative an adaptable in how you achieve your goals. #SMTlive— Kristin Hassan (@KristinDHassan) March 27, 2018
This is all very true. An already established happy and engaged audience won't be lost due to an algorithm change.
The point of algorithm updates is to improve users happiness and feed them the content they wish to see. If you focus on building that engaged audience from the start and take advantage of the new hot trends on platforms (ie. Instagram Stories and Facebook videos), your content performance should not be negatively affected by much.
Maybe the bigger question here is "how do you build engagement and a loyal following?" A few people touched on this during question #4:
Q4. This is a tough sell for people who don't quite understand social, but place less emphasis on reach and more on engagement. I believe in social as a community. I'd rather 10 super active users than 10,000 who barely see my content and couldn't care less. #SMTLive https://t.co/nJWwaRQ4Ee— Daniel Quitério (@dan_quiterio) March 27, 2018
A4. We're starting use weighted metrics for engagement, putting higher priority on the engagements that matter more (e.g., shares, site clicks) over basic engagements (e.g., likes). #smtlive— Sean Timberlake (@Hedonia) March 27, 2018
What tips do you have for securing your company (or clients) from losing reach due to algorithm changes?
A4: Great Content. Experiment with changes. Great Content. Budget for paid promo. Influencer relationships. Employee activation. #SMTLive— Bob Carver (@BobCarverTC) March 27, 2018
A4: Continue to create valuable content for your customers that is so good they'll seek it out on their own and share with their own community. A+ content yields A+ results. #SMTLive— Two Scoops (@MikeTrakalo) March 27, 2018
A4: Stay active! Engage with customers, repost industry-related content, and post worthy organic and paid content. #SMTLive— Quill Creative (@quillagency) March 27, 2018
Relationships are a brand's safety net against the pitfalls of algorithm changes. Engagement is important and should increase. #SMTLive— Franco (@FrancoPRGroup) March 27, 2018
I love this! Yes, focus on your relationships. I particularly like the word relationships used here because its important to think past just the engagement numbers.
In the wise words of Emily Weiss, CEO of Glossier:
"In the end you have to give your customers a voice, you have to truly listen to them and not just make them feel heard. You have to treat them with the respect that they deserve because after all in this world where there is no scarcity of choice, you have to give them a reason to keep choosing you."
Regardless of your business model, make sure to listen and be active on social media. If you care and show you care, you can build beautiful business-to-customer relationships.
What is your businesses most successful form of content on social? Why do you think that is?
In order to wrap up this chat nicely, I asked everyone to share their best performing content. We may all be coming from different industries with unique business models, but seeing what our peers have had success with is always helpful.
A5. TASTY VIDEOS! BuzzFeed changed the game, as far as I'm concerned. Like many brands, we've adopted this same video style, and the videos typically do very well. They're optimized perfectly for FB--quick, square format, people love DIY. #SMTLive https://t.co/BMnxl8gxyD— Daniel Quitério (@dan_quiterio) March 27, 2018
A5: Definitely our 'behind the scenes' photos and videos. From our Friday talent shows to our holiday celebrations, our fans love getting a glimpse at our company culture! #SMTLive— MyCorporation (@MyCorporation) March 27, 2018
A5: Educational content works the best for us, whether it be text, image, or video form. People feel as if they're getting value out of educational content and it doesn't feel like a "sell". #SMTLive— Loewe Chan (@sincerelyloewe) March 27, 2018
A5: Our Clients' most successful form of content on #socialmedia is content that directly connects with the emotional needs of their communities. As we specialize in #healthcare, video content of patients/caregivers sharing their experiences performs the best. #SMTlive— Kristin Hassan (@KristinDHassan) March 27, 2018
These are all great examples of powerful content. And when in doubt, puppy GIFs will always win.
Thanks again to those who shared their insights during yesterday's chat. And again, if you are looking for a new way to stay on top of the latest social media algorithm updates, make sure to bookmark our new page: Keeping Up with the Algorithms.