Attack of the Algorithms! 5 Steps to Prepare for the Twitter Algorithm Update

By Lauren Austin in Industry News on October 3rd, 2014

After struggling to understand Facebook’s algorithm changes this past May, many brands sought ‘sanctuary’ with Twitter, and shifted their social media strategy accordingly, as content would reach their followers’ home feeds instantly without needing much paid assistance. Brands rested easy, assured that their tweets had an equal chance of being seen based on active followers at the time of the tweet. Well, all of that is about to change.

Asian woman and chalk money tree drawing on blackboard.

In 2015, Twitter is expected to introduce a new algorithm-driven feed.  Anthony Noto, Twitter CFO, stated at the Citi Global Technology Conference that Twitter’s current method of arranging tweets based on time “isn’t the most relevant experience for the user.” Twitter hopes that this change presenting content based on relevance rather the posting time will help create a better experience for all users. Twitter also hopes that this change will make the platform more user-friendly and attract new user signups. However, most critics state that Twitter is forgetting why users enjoy the platform in the first place and that they’re modeling this algorithm similarly to Facebook just to appease new users and force brands to buy ads. Twitter representatives have assured users that the change will be gradual, but it will certainly affect both brands and individuals.  

A lot of speculation has been circling around about what this feed will look like, how it will affect brands’ reach, and if it will cause many Twitter users to leave the platform altogether. The transition during Facebook’s algorithm update was difficult for brands, and many worry that they will be facing the same struggles when this algorithm goes live on Twitter.

So how can you prepare yourself now? Here are 5 steps to take to get ready for the Twitter algorithm change:

  1. Content Quality is Key!

    The quality of the content you are tweeting will be more important than ever before, especially with the 140 character limit. After the algorithm change goes into effect, branded tweets will need to prove significant value to the audience. Content that is engaging and easily sharable will be the ‘winners’ in the new ‘Twitterspace.’

  2. Enlist Your Followers.

    Twitter makes it incredibly easy for your followers to share content. With just one click of the retweet button, a post’s reach can nearly double or even triple the number of impressions, depending on the user’s following. Creating engaging content on Twitter that asks users to retweet to their followers will not only help boost engagement but also the reach of your content. Ask people directly to “retweet” or “RT” if they like your content, and perhaps give them incentives, such as discounts or prizes. Time this with announcements, promotions and events and you can create an army of ‘retweeters’ that will help you spread the word about your brand.

  3. Adjust Your Paid Social Strategy.

    Yes, this is something that we all wish we could avoid. Why would you want to pay more for reach that you’ve had free for so long? Unfortunately, you won’t have much of a choice. Just like with Facebook, budgets will need to be increased or adjusted in order to see the same amount of reach.

  4. Realize That Some Followers May Disappear.

    Twitter will probably attract some new users with this change, however the users that have used the platform since its early years or those who are fanatic about its design, may leave Twitter altogether. Be prepared for this ahead of time, and know that in some cases, your Twitter community growth may suffer initially. But over time, as the newness of the algorithm wears off and Twitter attracts the new users it desires, community growth is expected to pick back up again.

  5. Embrace the Possibility of Finally Reaching Those ‘Invisible Followers.’

    Maybe a Twitter user once favorited your promoted tweet when it popped up on their home feed, but because they didn’t go directly to your page and hit follow, they were lost forever (so to speak). Soon, thanks to algorithm that displays relevant content to that user, there is a possibility of having another chance to engage with that user again. Additionally, the chance of having your content shown to relevant users, even if it wasn’t posted a few moments before they logged on, will be much higher. Perhaps you can even inspire them to follow you the second time around!


Follow these steps and your brand can not only survive, but thrive during the upcoming Twitter algorithm change.


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