Why Algorithms Stand Between Your Stories And Your Audience?Why Algorithms Stand Between Your Stories And Your Audience? https://www.visualstorytell.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/algorithms_thumb.jpg 366 222 Shlomi Ron Shlomi Ron https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/906bcce31d9695cb030087534b5f0f6e?s=96&d=mm&r=g
How do algorithms influence your story development and promotions?
The grand vision of the Internet used to be offering an open stage for people to share their voices and be heard with no gatekeepers.
That was fine in the first few years.
But then content grew so much, so search engines started using algorithms to sift through these oceans of content.
These algorithms use machine learning and data science and are able to parse a huge amount of data using constantly changing criteria.
And when marketers realized that search engines send the largest chunk of organic traffic to their websites, that’s where the SEO practice was born to adapt to algorithms’ changing whims.
Fifteen years ago, also social networks came to our lives and the same story happened. During the first years, organic content received top exposure. But with content explosion on users’ feeds and networks greed for ad revenue, algorithms kicked in and prioritized paid content vs. organic – pushing the pay-to-play card.
So, what does all that mean to you as a visual storyteller?
The old gatekeepers used to be publishers and editors, nowadays algorithms stand between your stories and your audience.
This state of affairs presents three challenges:
You need to bake the right optimization into your story to capture algorithms’ attention, so they will surface your stories to your audience.
Sadly, it’s an upside model of gatekeepers that goes against boundless originality and creativity.
When you write a blog post you need to balance highly-engaging content with SEO-friendly strategy for your title and body. You may use a conversational question about a pain point your audience is facing.
That’s what I did when I published What is Visual Storytelling? three years ago which is still ranking high on all search engines.
When you post organic content on social media, you need to optimize your content by testing the right keywords, the right hashtags, influencer-tagging, use compelling video or images, ask engaging questions, publishing times and frequency, use less salesy content and many other tactics.
Echo Chamber Effect
The main goal of social media algorithms is to increase engagement and your time on their networks to drive up ad revenue.
Therefore, every time you click on say, a YouTube video or liking a post on Facebook, algorithms say “If you like this cutesy cat videos, hey we’ve got a ton of other cat clips to show you ” and serve you related content so your feed looks like an international cat fest.
This Echo Chamber Effect creates bottomless rabbit holes of related content that shut you out from other content you might find interesting. Forget about content serendipity. If you leave it to algorithms, you’ll be horsing around in the lanes they planned for you, with your “blinkers” on limiting your view to a single flavor content.
We see this problem in action with political content that dangerously shapes people’s opinions to the extremes.
All this content optimization has recently reached a new level of sophistication when last month Facebook has discovered AI-driven fake accounts that produced social content, undistinguishable from real accounts while spreading political disinformation.
Fun times, right?
And if that’s not enough, we also see growing digital fatigue where people cut down on their digital consumption with major brands like Apple sharing weekly screen time reports and a slew of other tech detox apps to help you be more present in the real world.
The way I see it, with all these challenges at the end of the day, it’s all about making your customers feel special.
How can you create meaningful brand stories that allow your customers to be the best version of themselves?
And yes, you would still need to use optimization for your story to surface on their radars.
Indeed, online you need to play a fine balance between optimizing your content while still retaining your creativity and authenticity intact. Having said that, it sounds quite weird but offline you can create effective ways to break out of the screen with your story and truly connect with your audience IRL.
One thing is sure, algorithms won’t stand in your way 😉
Have questions? Concerns? Ideas? Call me at 305-985-3450 or shlomi_at_visualstorytell_dot_com I’d be happy to exchange ideas with you on how to best navigate your brand in the ever-changing digital landscape.
Shlomi Ron is the CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute (VSI), the primary think tank for helping brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, production, and thought leadership. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. Along his journey, he was nursing his side passion for visual media with interests in classic Italian cinema (cafePellicola.com) and video art (BukySchwartz.com). Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast that ranks the best 20 business storytelling podcasts on the Web. Shlomi's new book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals To Help You Create Richer, Visual Brand Stories. His favorite quote: "A story is nothing but a mirror. The magic happens the moment your brand story mirrors your customer’s personal story." Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.All stories by: Shlomi Ron
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