In December, Twitter announced a significant revamp to their site to be launched in the First Quarter of 2012 which will make everything easier to find and manage.
From a marketing perspective, the most exciting part of the redesign is the introduction of new Brand Pages. Currently, there is no differentiation between Twitter accounts – every user, from Average Joe to Coca Cola, has the same options available to personalise their Twitter page. Following the examples of Google+ and Facebook, Twitter Brand Pages will allow companies to have a stronger corporate presence on the social network.
Twitter is a fantastic way to engage with your customers, and the Brand Pages will provide some great new ways of capturing their attention:
1. Use your head
Under the standard account type, branded elements of the page can easily get lost in the tweet timeline. The new Brand Pages will have large customisable header images to allow your company to demonstrate a strong corporate presence as users scroll throughout the page.
2. Pin up
The revamp provides the ability to pin tweets to the top of the timeline. This is a great way to get users to see recent pictures or videos of your latest products or service. HP took an alternative route, using a fun, unrelated image to grab users’ attention and encourage them to explore the page further.
3. Bursting media
Unlike standard accounts, Brand Pages will also be able to set pinned pictures or videos to open automatically. This presents your company the opportunity for a mini-landing page or introductory video to show off what your brand is about.
4. Sharing everything
Embeddable tweets will allow users to use a simple line of code to embed your company’s tweets on their own site in their full glory, not just as a boring link.
However, a word of warning – you need to strike a delicate balance. Whilst the advent of official Brand Pages presents an exciting opportunity to extend your brand into the social media world, the important thing to remember is your audience. People are following your company on Twitter because of its simplicity, accessibility and, most importantly, because it’s a quick way of receiving news updates from your company.
Twitter’s userbase has grown so large because people find it an easy way to engage with others. A recent Simple Usability eye track study noted that, out of the 21 companies currently trialling the new Brand Pages, HP scored particularly highly because it engaged with users, even answering common technical problems. Conversely, heavy advertising – such as on the McDonald’s Brand Page – distanced users, who said the page felt ‘too corporate’.
When presented with an opportunity to get creative, it’s very easy to get caught up in the moment, making the flashiest page you can imagine. However, consider whether that’s what your audience will want. Typically, Twitter users get updates through their home feed, not by visiting each page directly. Thus, users are unlikely to visit your page frequently, but instead rely upon your tweets reaching them. The key role of your Twitter Brand Page should be to get followers you can then communicate with long-term.
Twitter is a fantastic way to spread good content, but if your page is more style than substance, you’re likely to lose followers, and potentially customers. Twitter users love simplicity – unless your Brand Page does something truly original, keep it simple, and your brand will shine through.