As a social media strategist, it has become very clear over the past few years that the way social media is presented to us is fundamentally changing. Where, five years ago, our feeds were largely presented in chronological order, today nearly every platform prefers to sort our feeds algorithmically.
When social media content was sorted in reverse chronological order, from newest to oldest posts, you had an equally likely chance of seeing a new puppy picture from a high school classmate you haven’t seen in five years as you did seeing a policy update from the president of the United States. Now, platforms including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter use secret algorithms to decide what content you will see and in what order it is presented. This nudges highly-engaged-with posts to the top of your feed, regardless of who shared them.
Make no mistake: this represents a massive departure from the way social media has been managed since its inception. Digital communications teams now have to fight just to get their content seen, even by their own followers — let alone to have their content shared!
The move to an algorithmic feed has no one cause, but there are a few major motivators behind the change. The meteoric rise of TikTok and its entirely algorithmic “For You” page is one. Another is the pivot by Meta and its dominant Facebook and Instagram networks to short-form video, as video has traditionally been a larger source of engagement than text or image-based content. A third key factor is privacy developments, such as tracking blockers introduced by iOS 15 and Android 13, pushing social networks to rely less on ads and more on organic content to understand their user bases.
Most professionals in the digital and communications space are accustomed to frequent unannounced changes to the algorithms of the networks they rely on daily. But this full-scale shift away from chronological feeds represents a complete reimagining of what successful social media management looks like.
If you or the organization you work for are struggling to adapt to the abandonment of time-based social media feeds, we can help. You can book a free strategy call right now with the ACM Strategies team. We’ll work together to renovate your social media channels to get your content in front of as many users as possible while setting you up to reach your audience regardless of what the algorithms do next.