Another update to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm was rolled out in mid-September, and this one is making users take notice.

The problem in Facebook’s News Feed was an issue of timeliness. Users were seeing posts from friends or pages days after they had been posted. Facebook’s new goal is to show everyone the right content at the right time so that no one misses relevant stories.

So how does Facebook know what stuff you’d like to see, when? The new algorithm considers two factors:

  1. Trending topics. Now Facebook will give priority to stories from friends or pages about things that are trending on Facebook, as soon as these posts occur.
  2. When people like or comment. Previously, the determining factor in News Feed placement was how many likes a post had over time, sometimes days. Now, Facebook will move posts that are receiving engagement in real time higher in the Feed.

Facebook will also be using factor #2 to determine which stories to “bump” in News Feeds. Bumping is when high-engagement stories resurface in News Feeds because people didn’t scroll down far enough to see them the first time.

“So, do I need more hashtags? Or cat videos? Or what?”

While your first inclination may be to take advantage of this new algorithm by hopping into trending conversation topics, it’s important to only share content that appeals to your fans. In other words, keep making posts that make sense for your brand. Don’t make posts that will insert your brand into an irrelevant conversation.

Now that timing is a determining factor, it’s important to know when your fans are active on Facebook. Getting that instant engagement will keep posts in the News Feed longer, and even qualify them for a bump in News Feeds afterwards.

“Speaking of social updates, what’s with Twitter’s new look on iOS?”

If you’ve updated your iPhone recently, you’ll notice a change in your Twitter app. Twitter’s new display includes three tabs: Tweets, Photos and Favorites. As one might expect, Tweets displays your composed tweets, Photos displays photos you have tweeted, and Favorites displays tweets you have favorited.

But wait, there’s more! User bios are also immediately displayed in the profile view, no longer buried behind header photos.

Another change involves push notifications, giving users the ability to reply, retweet and favorite tweets directly from their home screen.

This is an iOS update and is only available to iPhone and iPad users. iPhone access of the Twitter app is only about 40% of all smart phones, but 90% of users who access Twitter via tablet do so on an iPad.

These mobile users:

  • Tend to be amplifiers who engage with more content
  • Tend to be younger, follow more brands, and engage with Twitter throughout the day
  • Are 53% more likely to recall seeing an ad on Twitter than the average desktop user

This makes it more important than ever to create tweets that align with what mobile users need: real-time information that helps them make decisions every day.

“…So, how can I do that?”

  1. Rewrite your bio. No more copying and pasting from your website’s “About Us” section. You’ve got 140 characters to create gold, as your bio will now be front and center. Use this space to inform, entice and intrigue.
  2. Add more photos. A whole tab for photos means much more tap-and-scroll traffic. Photo/video assets are where the most engagement happens. Keep up with the visuals!
  3. Share your favorites. WHITE64 recommends that 40% of tweets be about you/your brand and 60% be about industry news or other relevant material. Favoriting tweets is an easy way to tell users what your brand is about without talking about yourself. So favorite away — but remember to keep it relevant.

As always, social media platforms will keep evolving, changing and tweaking to accommodate a user-friendly experience. And as always, WHITE64 will be there to help you roll with the changes.

Date: October 7, 2014