Last December, Twitter unveiled a new look—and some additional functionality—for brand pages on Twitter. At the time, it was labeled as a clear attempt to compete with Facebook’s enhanced brand pages (which will get another “upgrade” in late February when Timeline is introduced, it seems).
Twitter obviously made a big deal of the upgrade. But, how big of a deal is this move for brands? Is it a game-changer, or a mild attempt at appeasing brands and their requests for more content control and branding?
Let’s take a closer look at the changes—and the potential impact for brands.
1. Expanded header area
One noticeable change in the new Twitter brand pages is the one-inch area (roughly) Twitter has given brands right beneath the bio for branded imagery.
Take a peek at what Intel, Staples, and Nike Basketball have done below (just a few of the brands Twitter has given access to for these new pages to date).
Intel uses the new section as a branding opportunity, whereas Nike takes it a step further and includes a key hashtag—#kobesysterm—that it has put additional oomph behind recently.
2. The featured tweet
Impact: This offers an opportunity to add more branding elements to Twitter pages, which should make most marketers happy. This new area also presents brands with a chance to get a little creative. I like what Staples is doing with its branded space. Could brands use this key area (very visible) to drive people to certain hashtags, other branded accounts, or URLs? I think we’ll see a lot more of this as the new upgrade is rolled out to more brands in the coming months.
Maybe the best new feature is the ability to add a “featured tweet” to the top of your stream on your page. This allows brands to control the content at the top of the stream, which is key because the first three or four tweets is often all you see when visiting a Twitter brand page.
Also key is that if brands choose to use a photo or video as their featured tweet, that photo/video is automatically expanded for all to see—no clicking or expanding necessary for followers. Check out how Best Buy (promoting its weekly circular) and Heineken (driving folks to vote for a new bottle design) are using featured tweets below.
3. Separating mentions from replies
Impact: This is, without question, the biggest upgrade to the brand pages. Given the authority to control which tweet sits at the top of Twitter brand pages might not seem like a big deal on the surface, but what about during a crisis? Wouldn’t the ability to control that top tweet be fairly critical? Or, what about during a key promotional period for your brand? There are numerous opportunities here for brands.
I haven’t seen this one personally, but I’m guessing it involves some sort of setting where you can view all replies or all mentions in a specific stream.
Impact: Another key add, and I’ll tell you why. If you’re a brand that uses Twitter as a customer service tool, separating out mentions from replies would be key.
Why? Because those replies are often people asking questions, registering complaints, or applauding the brand. And brands want to respond to all three scenarios fairly quickly. Having the ability to look just at your replies would be helpful, right?
Enough from me. What do you think? Is this a big upgrade for brands, or over-hyped additions designed to help Twitter keep up with the “competition?”
Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications.