Twitter for Brands: a closer look

December 21, 2011

Twitter’s #newnewupdate, branded ‘Fly Twitter’ sees the introduction of richer and more integrated brand pages – distinctive, for the first time, from users’ profile pages.

The 140-character network has lagged behind Facebook as a tool for brands, offering only basic user functionality to brands in comparison, and this combined with the resurgent competition faced with the introduction of Google+ Pages for Brands, launched last month, it was only a matter of time before Twitter ramped up their brand offering. It’s a fairly obvious move for Twitter to make as they not only meet the demand from brands but create a structure for gaining advertising revenue for themselves.

Unlike user pages, brands now have the ability to uniquely customise their page with a large header image and through featuring a promoted tweet with a photo or YouTube video. This allows brands to not only create a more personalised, on brand feel to their page – but also control the first impression through the experience and messages visitors see when they initially land on the brand page. A select number of launch partners for the new pages include @CocaCola@DisneyPixar, @AmericanExpress@BestBuy. Have a quick look to see how these brands are using the new features to create a brand personality for Consumers in Twitter without forcing them outside of their preferred network.

The featured tweet is a great new way for brands to highlight specific campaigns, promotions or brand messages for a prolonged time. Previously, the shelf life of a tweet was short as they quickly became lost in the timeline – but now brands can literally expand a given Tweet’s shelf life as well as embedding it with rich media. This allows brands to highlight their most engaging and important content and better connect with their target audience by providing them with a more enriching experience, by giving their consumers a bit more than just 140characters. The extended content within tweets brings a massive opportunity for brands with apps – allowing users to see a thumbnail preview just like in the app store, or for entertainment brands like Disney to showcase their content and get a greater engagement during, say, movie promotions. For e-commerce companies this is a springboard to cut steps in the journey to purchase – and for brands in general too since the tweet can drive straight to download or purchase and the user has already seen the content. See how retailers like Amazon use it here.

Stepping away from the focus on redesign, Twitter tweets can now be embedded on your website just by copying and pasting a line of code and, Tweet buttons on website will now include specific @mentions or hashtags. This is key because with a single-click, visitors can reply, retweet, or favourite the Tweet without leaving the page – encouraging visitors to Tweet to your account, driving public conversation directly from your website. The new #hashtag button is perfect for brands that are intending to generate buzz for an event, product or launch and it will result in hashtags trending a lot quicker than they already do. According to co-founder Jack Dorsey,”Hashtags are the new URL,” and this dynamic move by Twitter will allow people to interact with the experiences, conversations and expressions behind each Tweet on the web as they are transformed into interactive media.

In a blogpost on Twitter’s official website, Twitter said the changes are “just the beginning” in their “mission to instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most meaningful to them,” and as they continue to add more rich features and expand the service beyond its simple roots of 140 characters these significant changes could radically change how the micro-blogging site is used on an everyday basis. Twitter may face criticism from mimicking the look and feel of Google+ and Facebook brand pages, but as long they continue to “offer simplicity in a world of complexity”, these changes will be beneficial to both brands and users alike.

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