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Tag Archive: social media management

  1. How Twitter’s Content Algorithm Is Influencing Instagram

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    Social media is a relatively new area for development, and apps are constantly clamoring to offer better, more unique functions to their customers. When new apps break into the scene, they usually offer something truly novel, that no other mainstream app has offered before, but eventually, they settle into a rhythm of mutual influence, where they “normalize” (for lack of a better word) and start integrating functions present in other apps to make a more mainstream, approachable model.

    The bottom-line effect from this phenomenon is that when one social media platform comes out with a new feature, another is sure to come out with their own version before too long. That was the case with Twitter’s new content algorithm, as Instagram is now coming out with its own version of the update—and it could have a lasting effect on the social media world in general.

    Twitter’s New Content Algorithm

    Twitter announced its new timeline changes back in February on its official blog, and the change was committed shortly thereafter. By default, Twitter used to display posts purely in chronological order—users’ timelines were filled with their followed accounts’ most recent updates at the top, with older updates populating below in descending order. After the update, a new algorithm selectively curates posts to appear in an order based on perceived relevance, not dissimilar to how Facebook newsfeeds currently display content.

    User reactions were polarizing at first, with some proclaiming the update as a massive step forward and others insisting that it took away some of what made Twitter special in the first place. Users can opt out of the feature easily enough, however, by changing one simple option in their account settings.

    Twitter Settings

    (Image Source: Twitter)

    The Instagram Update

    Thanks to Instagram’s currently higher popularity, especially with younger users, it made an even bigger impact when it announced a content algorithm change in March. According to Instagram’s formal announcement, users only end up seeing about 30 percent of their newsfeeds under the old model (pure chronological listings), forcing the company to assert that users are often missing out on some of the posts that would matter the most to them.

    Instagram, like Twitter, doesn’t get into the weeds explaining what their new content algorithm is or how it works, other than the fact that it will “select” the most relevant, appropriate content for users on an individual basis, and order that content using a blend of different factors. No posts will be removed from the timeline, so users will still have access to the same material they would otherwise—just in a different order.

    As with Twitter’s announcement, reactions have been mixed. Many users, companies, and organizations have heralded the update as a positive change (and a long time coming), but other users are in an uproar. Some have even taken to starting a petition to force Instagram to keep its purely chronological update.

    Instagram Settings

    (Image Source: Change.org)

    Despite the noise, it’s highly unlikely that Instagram is going to change its mind.

    Fears Over Selected Content

    Part of the reason there’s significant controversy over Twitter’s and Instagram’s decisions is a perceived loss of control by users. Chronological order was completely unbiased, and unaffected by any ulterior motives. Now that some extra layer is influencing how content is ordered, users are afraid that they’ll be manipulated by the companies in charge, at least to a certain degree. Few would outspokenly argue that there’s some grand hidden conspiracy by social media companies to brainwash or toy with their user bases (after all, that’s where they make their money), user manipulation isn’t completely unheard of.

    Back in 2014, Facebook revealed that it intentionally altered the Facebook timelines of more than half a million users, selectively filling user timelines with either strongly positive or strongly negative pieces of content to see whether users would have a similarly strong positive or negative reaction. It’s doubtful that the naysayers of these updates are worried about being emotionally manipulated in the same way, but this is the type of fear that permeates both user bases. Users have grown accustomed to things like Facebook newsfeeds and Google search results being sorted by an outside authority’s perceived relevance, but when such a change comes to a pre-existing unbiased organization, the dissonance becomes clear.

    The Normalization of Social Apps

    Users and marketers should also be conscious of this effect of “normalization” in social apps. While each “rising star” social app begins in a niche role, with specific polarizing features, as they gain more users and approach mainstream integration, they tend to gravitate toward a standardized formula. These new content algorithms are just one example—also consider how SnapChat has made itself less private with retrievable snaps, how Pinterest has turned itself into a kind of eCommerce hybrid, and how LinkedIn gradually inches closer and closer to Facebook in terms of look and feel.

    The Future of Social Media Competition

    There are a few key takeaways to learn from this wave of content algorithm changes. As a marketer, you need to make yourself aware of the possible changes social media platforms hold for the future, and what’s important to the users who rely on them. Be prepared for increased functionality geared toward user relevance, including possible controls on the company/organization side of things. As these changes roll out, it’s important to shift your focus from timing to even higher relevance—and of course, always keep watch for new trends on the horizon.

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  2. Simplified Social Media Management and Monitoring for Bloggers

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    With the explosion of social media, bloggers and online marketers these days have powerful tools that make social mentions and trends easier to track.

    Because social media encompasses any form of online content that enables users to engage in meaningful conversations, bloggers can learn what is getting talked about and put that knowledge to work. With the help of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, it’s much easier to listen in, expand, and extend the reach of your blog.

    If you’re a blogger, one great reason to track social media trends and content is to develop ideas on topics to write about. By staying active in social media, you won’t have to worry about running out of ideas.

    But while it’s crucial to monitor your social media activities closely, it can consume a great deal of your time. Keeping track of your online reputation means you not only have to identify every mention of you, your site, or the topics you’re following; it also requires that you respond in a timely manner.

    Happily, there are tools that will help you manage and monitor your social media activities under one roof. You can choose from any of the following tools to suit your social media monitoring needs.

    Google Alerts
    Google Alerts is one of the best and simplest tools to track social media mentions and monitor the web for new content that interests you. Since it is the largest search engine on the Internet, Google can provide you with reliable data that relate to your defined keyphrases concerning traffic you need to know about.

    HootSuite
    One of the most popular and widely used social media management tools is HootSuite. For most bloggers, HootSuite’s free account offers sufficient features and benefits for their needs.  With this tool, you can manage multiple social media accounts, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, all on one dashboard. It also provides you with valuable insights on analytics and social media team management.

    TweetDeck

    TweetDeck, a platform owned by Twitter, also empowers users to manage several Twitter and other social media accounts at once. It lets you create an array of columns for tweets, mentions, timeline, and direct messages, so you can keep an eye on information in multiple locations across the web. The great thing about TweetDeck is its flexibility: you can use it on the web with your browser or as a desktop application.

    Sprout Social
    One of the less-known social media monitoring tools is SproutSocial. Despite its comparatively minor reputation, it’s one of the most powerful and flexible tools you can use to monitor your social media activities — on either your browser or your mobile phone. SproutSocial lets you manage and monitor several social media accounts at once. Use it to track mentions on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Unlike TweetDeck and HootSuite, SproutSocial is a paid service, but the company offers a selection of price points to suit various budgets.

    Social Mention
    One of my favorite social media monitoring tools is Social Mention. It works like a search engine that scours the social space for any information in real time based on the keywords you identify. You can also filter which forums you want to search for information, whether it’s blogs, social networks, bookmarks, or from images.

    Conclusion
    Operating as a blogger requires significant expenditures of time, not only for writing, but also for effective monitoring of your online reputation and the topics you are following.

    By using the right social media monitoring and management tools, you can focus more sharply on the things that truly matter to you as a blogger.

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