New Twitter and Early Adopter Brand Best Practices

Twitter is seeking to become a more viable platform for brands and advertisers alike by launching one of the biggest redesigns in their history and in turn updating the functionality of 1) Twitter.com and 2) bringing a more integrated, richer experience via mobile.

It moves the focus towards richer use of media and a greater building of brand engagement whilst at the same time simplifying the platform to make it easier for almost anyone to now use.

This new and improved version of Twitter makes it easier for users to discover what’s happening right now and comes with enhanced profile pages that help marketers create an even more compelling destination on Twitter for their brands.

The main elements of New Twitter.

Home > Connect > Discover > Me

What’s changed?

Now brands have the ability to customise their pages more, to feel personalised and on brand, with a large header image for displaying your logo, tagline or campaign related visuals. This is basically like your brands shop window to use as your brand sees best. We’re going to go in to greater detail below on what the early adopting brands are doing with the space and how best to utilise it.

Importantly, you can now also control the message visitors see when they first come to your profile page by promoting a Tweet to the top of your page’s timeline. Twitter now hands over the control to you to define what experience you provide your fans, within Twitter. This is free of charge to brands and the tweet at the top of your page’s timeline is now essentially like the welcome tabs which you default to on Facebook when you’re not a fan of the page already. The importance shouldn’t be underestimated because this changes Twitter for brands, overnight, providing them with more of an opportunity to promote what they want to and make it ‘sticky’, rather than a tweet being lost as you tweet more news.

We’ve seen from the early adopting brands so far that as the promoted tweet at the top of the brand page appears auto-expanded, NOT using rich media is a missed opportunity. This is a subtle shift for Twitter moving towards more imagery and video on the platform.

And here’s how a typical new brand page will look:

Why now?

In previous months, Adam Bain, the Chief Revenue Officer at Twitter has shared that in meetings with CMOs, the one thing he’s been asked the most about is when there will be brandable pages on Twitter and clearly it’s something that they’ve been working on, in conjunction with Promoted Tweets, which advertisers can buy. Google+ only launched recently and Pages for Brands has already been introduced for example.

Which brands have adopted the new profiles? 

The enhanced profile pages have launched with 21 advertising partners, select charities and individuals. See how these brands are taking flight with their enhanced profile pages: @AmericanExpress, @BestBuy, @bing, @chevrolet, @CocaCola, @Dell, @DisneyPixar, @generalelectric, @Heineken, @HP, @intel, @JetBlue, @Kia, @McDonalds, @nikebasketball, @NYSE_Euronext, Paramount Pictures’ Mission: Impossible – @GhostProtocol, @pepsi, @Staples, @subwayfreshbuzz, and @VerizonWireless. You’ll need to use the new version of Twitter to see these enhanced profile pages.

Some best practice examples: 

HP are using their new brand page to great effect, with the banner image effectively becoming a prime competition space to stimulate brand interactions and engagement. The hashtag #myHP is prominently advertised, an arrow shows where your tweet will be presented should you be lucky enough, and the promoted space features a video.

Coca-Cola as you’d expect are present and they make their page similar to HP look almost like it’s a micro site of it’s own, with added Twitter functionality. A huge improvement as you can see, promoting a hashtag in the header banner and in the ‘sticky’ promoted tweet.

Intel use their page to link back to their Facebook page and also promote their Ultra Book computer using rich media within the promoted area.

Heineken are using their new page to promote three things. 1) their website, 2) the hashtag #MYSUNRISE and within the promoted tweet area, 3) a design competition for a chance to make your own limited edition #yourfuturebottle

Even the New York Stock Exchange have got in on the act with their page promoting their latest work in a video show reel. 

What does this all mean for brands? 5 key takeouts.

1. Twitter is finally seeking to go directly in competition with the likes of Facebook and Google+ in building a customisable, branded experience within Twitter, keeping them engaged and therefore staying on the network for longer.

2. Twitter has now handed over the control to brands as how to how they want to customise their experience for users. Rich media is now more than ever an important visual accompaniment and stimulus.

3. Based on the effectiveness of the new pages for brands, it seeks to entice more brands in to using its paid for suite of products including Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts. Recent reports for example have stated that Promoted Tweets are ‘super effective’. (seeing between 200%-300% increases in engagement.)

4. The new ‘Discover’ section gives you a richer visual insight, in to what is happening right now, providing more value around trending topics. Previously, trending topics have started to become a bit erroneous and spam ridden and this seeks to address that and give them more currency.

5. It remains to be seen whether the same brand experience will be carried across on mobile and iPad also. This could be a real bonus for Twitter against the competition, if they can ensure a unified and integrated approach across all platforms where others right now still aren’t quite there.

Here’s a final overview of the key changes:

Michael Litman is the Head of Engagement at 90:10 Group and Editor of SocialMediaCouncil.eu. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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