TIME Magazine’s person of the year in 2006 was “you,” paying tribute to the hundred millions of social media users who framed the information age with user-generated content. Conceived in 2006, Twitter, along with other “emerging platforms,” was evolving and looking for better ways to enable users to share content. Five years later, Twitter includes brand pages in efforts to expand its 100 million user base.
As brands quickly mobilized and saw value exchanges from social networks, leading platforms worked to align brands and their communication goals. Twitter recently joined Facebook and Google+ in what is dubbed a, “three-way brand shootout,” referring to its new page design for brands. But which design and platform will be most useful for brands?
Following up on colleague Geoffrey Colon‘s post, brand pages are useful for companies that want to 1. Manage customer relationships 2. Generate leads and 3. Create direct social experiences. Ultimately, here are the reasons why we think Twitter’s brand pages will alter social experiences for audiences on Twitter:
1. Consistent social experience from Web to mobile preserves users: Twitter’s overhaul is focused on building a seamless user experience from Web to mobile to draw fans away from third-party platforms like HootSuite where Twitter has less control over on-platform paid executions. As a result, users are more likely to be exposed to Twitter on-platform paid executions and targeting, including promoted Tweets and soon, branded pages. By maintaining consistency, Twitter has made its platform more valuable through preserving its users on its direct platform.
2. Featured and embedded tweets allow brands to showcase their best work and current promotions for a given timeframe: Twitter is the only platform that drives brands and users to describe themselves in one line. The new branded featured tweet function allows brands to highlight specific campaigns or promotions. The “featured Tweet” embeds and expands to reveal videos and pictures, allowing brands to showcase their best work and offerings. Additionally, consumers get a greater sense of current brand activities and an opportunity to learn more. Featured Tweets are also drivers in effective sales and promotion plans, as users will gravitate towards branded pages.
3. Customizable headers allow brands to thump their chests: Limited to 140 characters, brands are required to ponder the “big idea.” Customizable headers and page layouts allow for brands to create their own manifesto and to position themselves according to their own terms. Brands can alter the large header images to display their logos and taglines more prominently, and is one of the first features visitors will see at first glance when they arrive on the page. Customizable headers are essentially an open invitation for brands to highlight their most important and most engage content. Equally important, it is an open invitation for fans to dive deeper and wider. When consumers want to learn and engage more, many of them will end up on the brand page.
4. Organization and simplicity is a gateway for consumers to be more engaged with brands: One of the most compelling updates to the Twitter user interface are the “connect” and “discover” functions, which allow content to be personalized for each user. Similarly, Twitter extends the opportunity for brands to personalize their own image with its new page interface. As my colleague Colon previously mentioned, the smarter brands will use Twitter’s open API for a more targeted customer relationship management strategy by capturing data and monitoring content.
5. Separation of @replies from @mentions allows for a more streamlined approach for customer relations: Twitter’s brand pages will separate @replies from @mentions. This allows for a more sleek approach for brands to filter what people are saying about the brand and what people are asking of the brand. Separating @replies and @mentions into two buckets will make fan interactions appear more engaging and less of a one-off response. With this function, brands are able to easily isolate mentions from fans and prospective followers and manage their reputation.
Twitter’s new interface shows that creating experiences is just as important as sharing content. Do you believe Twitter brand pages are a game changer? How do you think your favorite brands will react?
Blake Bowyer contributed to this post.