Social Media

How The Twitter Algorithm Works & Optimizing For It

When it comes to marketing yourself in the digital space, it always seems like business owners have something new to discover — whether it’s a fundamental update to Google or a changing social media algorithm.

Anyone who has ever tried to grow their social media following knows how frustrating it can be to watch your own content. With millions of profiles and brands vying for relevancy, fans have more than their fair share of posts to feast on at any given time.

This is certainly the case with Twitter, one of the largest social media platforms in the world by monthly active users, with around 463 million.

But, as difficult as it may be, gaining a large number of loyal followers on Twitter would be ideal for any business.

It can be done. Look at the biggest following on the platform: PlayStation with 16.9 million, Xbox with 13.5 million, and Starbucks with 11.4 million.

Everyone starts with zero, but all of these brands have had to do something over the years to take advantage of the Twitter algorithm and get their content picked up by their ideal audience.

You could do the same, but the blind approach probably won’t work for you; There is a lot of competition for that.

Instead, why not take advantage of the real Twitter algorithm that determines what users see based on their interests and activity on the platform?

However, understanding the algorithm will only get you part way through. The other part will come down to your content strategy.

So, let’s dive into the Twitter algorithm and show how you can improve your social media approach for it.

What is the Twitter algorithm?

Digital platforms like Google and social media apps are very cool things.

They are autonomous, thanks in large part to the algorithms that their human creators designed for them.

The Twitter algorithm is no different from the algorithms used by other social media giants such as Facebook and Instagram.

These platforms have to use algorithms to display content to their users because there is no logical way to keep up with it all otherwise.

Let me explain.

In a simple system, you’ll see everything posted by the accounts you follow in reverse chronological order.

So, ten accounts post ten tweets, and you get them all in order, with the most recent one at the top of your Twitter timeline.

But, as Twitter users tweeted about 500 million times a daythe platform needed a way to mine everything to provide users with personalized time feeds that would keep them engaged.

Enter: the Twitter algorithm (one of several, in fact).

As I just mentioned, the key here is to customize users’ Twitter feeds to suit them and their interests.

The Twitter algorithm bases its curation of content on your activity on the platform.

As you interact on Twitter, you will like certain tweets, follow certain accounts, and retweet certain things you like. Twitter uses all of that to show you the Tweets it thinks you’ll want to see.

An important point to remember is that the content users see is not always from the accounts they follow.

Twitter may also display Tweets from accounts similar to accounts that users follow. The algorithm decides which content to show from those sources based on the accounts you follow and the types of Tweets you like most often.

To the user, it all looks like this: When users choose the home timeline, they’ll see content from the Twitter algorithm, the “In case you missed” section of recent tweets from the accounts they follow, and then all the other “Regular” tweets from the accounts they follow. .

Users can flip a switch for the algorithm to turn off Twitter’s assumptions about their interests and switch to “Recent Tweets” mode to see a reverse chronological list of all recent tweets from the accounts they follow.

This is a condensed version of how the Twitter algorithm works.

Now, if you’re trying to get your content noticed on the platform, how do you work within the algorithm? This is what we’ll get to now.

Optimize your content for the Twitter algorithm

When you’re trying to optimize your Twitter content to be seen by as many users as you would consider ideal for your business, you have to work within the platform’s algorithm framework.

Twitter will look for certain things in your content to determine if it is “worth” to be placed higher in your audience’s feed.

These factors shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, as they’re basically par for the course on social media apps today, but it’s still worth bringing them all up here.

Here are the things the algorithm will “consider” as it decides where to place your content:

  • How long ago was the tweet created?.
  • How relevant the Tweet is to your topic or market area Compared to what others say on this place. (Like on Google, some keywords indicate their relevance to the algorithm. Do advanced searches on Twitter to see what content appears for certain keywords.).
  • How engaged users are to a particular Tweet And other tweets from your account.
  • Whether the Tweet includes visuals Like photos, videos, gifs, or other media (all of which are generally more attractive than just text).

All of these things make sense, and you can tell what goes into each: the Twitter algorithm wants to show users recent, relevant, and already interesting tweets to thousands of others, and potentially attract thousands more by fitting into the visual. The media.

So, while creating content for your business Twitter account, keep these factors in mind, and act accordingly.

Before moving on to the final section, let’s recap the main points we’ve covered so far.

We have discussed why the Twitter algorithm was created and how it works. You know that the algorithm divides tweets into algorithmically chosen content, an “in case you missed” section, and reverse chronological tweets.

You also now know what relevance and content type factors the algorithm considers when deciding which Tweets to show to followers and more.

Here are my top tips for actively optimizing your Twitter content strategy to get the most engagement from your target audience on the platform.

1. Whatever you do, do it consistently

For whatever reason, some people struggle to be consistent on their social media accounts. They might post twice a day for four days and then come off for about a week before returning.

This kind of posting schedule will not increase your engagement or gain you the likes and followers you need to play the algorithm game.

This is why it is important to stay consistent in your content strategy.

Consistency does a lot for you. For one thing, it makes you appear more professional and reliable, since the companies that oversee their marketing usually post on like-the-clock schedules.

The other advantage of consistency is that you have a higher chance of reaching everyone you want, since not everyone brings up Twitter at the same time every day. As a result, your tweets may be buried by the time a large portion of your audience logs into Twitter.

By sticking to a three-times-a-day schedule, you give yourself the best chance of reaching people no matter what time they jump on Twitter.

Once you build a following, people will know when to expect more content from you, and may wait until it’s published.

2. Retweet strategically

There’s also nothing wrong with adding Retweets to your Twitter content strategy.

Retweets allow creators to share something from someone else with their followers. As long as what you’re retweeting matches your regular messaging, it’s a good way to keep reaching your audience consistently.

Retweeting is also a way to capture the popularity of something else while still giving your followers something of value.

You can Retweet content from someone else in your industry or Retweet an old Tweet of your own that performed well.

Work retweets into your posting schedule to stay engaged with your audience while staying relevant to your content.

3. Stay interesting

If the main goal of this entire post is to make your content interesting and attractive to be found within the algorithm, that would be enough for me.

However, it’s worth pointing out what “interesting” Twitter content really means.

I mentioned above that Tweets with media tend to perform better because they lead to more engagement. Who wants to read a tweet when you can see a funny GIF or look at a picture with a short caption?

When you post interesting, funny, or intellectually stimulating content, it encourages likes.

When you do it on a consistent schedule, it encourages your followers.

Now, likes and follows don’t necessarily translate into more business for you, but they can help build a real audience on social media and ultimately increase your brand awareness.

Learn about the Twitter algorithm, but don’t get carried away

We’ve covered a lot in this post, but there’s one more thing I want to say about the Twitter algorithm: don’t obsess over it.

Just as you write SEO content, good things will rise to the top.

Don’t devote every waking hour to figuring out how to manipulate the algorithm and see your stuff.

Follow these tips, but focus mainly on creating content that is useful to your audience and represents your brand.

This is the best way to increase your Twitter audience for real.

More resources:

  • Twitter Analytics – Discover the best Twitter marketing insights
  • Twitter mimics TikTok with two new features
  • Social Media Marketing: A Complete Strategy Guide

Featured image: tovovan / Shutterstock

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