December 9, 2011
Yesterday, Twitter announced the launch of its highly anticipated brand pages. The move is being lauded as the next logical step for the social network in attempting to bring its offerings in line with competitive services for companies — like the already-launched Google+ brand pages and the perennial favorite Facebook pages. But how exactly will the changes help brands or change the way they interact?
First, the the pages offer marketers more branding opportunities. A large banner on the top of the page will let you show off your logo or other creative without worry that it'll get lost behind the Twitter stream like your custom background images may on your current pages.
Second, you'll be able to make a tweet sticky by pinning it to the top of your stream — with media like photos or videos — for as long as you choose.
These features sound — and are — good news to marketers who've wanted better tools to create a destination for their audiences on Twitter. But remember, the majority of interaction with your followers on Twitter happens in the stream, not on your brand page. So while these new tools will let you position your Twitter presence better to capture new followers, you still have to have a clear strategy for engaging your followers once you've got them . . .
Which brings me to the change that I think will make the biggest difference to marketers — and it's not on the brand pages themselves. The brand pages were launched as part of a general redesign, which includes a feature they're calling "Discover." Think of it as a more robust — and smarter — version of clicking on a hashtag. Twitter describes it like this, "When you use Discover, you’ll see results reflecting your interests — based on your current location, what you follow and what’s happening in the world. As you use Twitter more, Discover gets even better at serving up more content just for you."
The content a user explores in Discover will include images and video in-line, creating an experience that almost looks more like Tumblr than the Twitter you're used to. All of this means that while the design of your brand pages will be more compelling, the content you create is where you can really have an impact. If you're looking to take the fullest advantage of this Twitter redesign, you should be thinking about how you can make your content as compelling and relevant as possible to your audience.
Shocking advice? Certainly not. It's the same principle that successful Twitter marketers have been following for years. (More on that, and other Twitter principles, in an upcoming report.) But now you can expect that your most creative elements will be seen in the stream — and your most relevant content will be Discovered by more users. So the biggest change isn't what you're doing on Twitter, but rather how seriously you take your Twitter content strategy.
So what do you think, marketers? Are you excited about the changes?