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3 Insights on #NewTwitter, Discover & Twitter Brand Pages
Posted on December 8th 2011
I’ve always been a massive fan of Twitter and I’ve made no secret of that fact – it’s fantastic as an interest graph for real-time information, connecting with like minded people, and sharing relevant information to people who matter. Moreover, there is so much potential here for brands to conduct real-time engagement and foster an authentic relationship with their consumers.
However, as a Social Media Strategist in Asia, some brands are not 100% receptive to using Twitter to connect to their relevant customers-
- They fear the unknown and unpredictability associated with the platform- at least in an Asian context-,
- They have a general preference to using Facebook as their default social graph in connecting with their consumers.
- Most brands are not huge fans of the User Interface, and have emphasised on the lack of user-friendliness. Often, third party tools – your likes of Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, CoTweet, for example – have to be used to track, measure, and conduct basic social media analytics.
I can’t say that I blame these brands for it as every campaign is different – especially with respect to alignment with brand, business, and social media objectives. Furthermore, there is a certain inertia in experimenting with another platform when most brands are already comfortable enough with Facebook- at least in Asia.
However, this might be changing.
Enter the brand new Twitter Web Interface - now accessible at fly.twitter.com.
Image Courtesy of Twitter
1. A Gorgeous Web Interface
As you can see, there is better organization of your timeline. You can now track replies, retweets, and embedded photos and videos within the timeline itself- very helpful as compared to the old interface, which did not have such integrated functionality.
With the new interface, your timeline is on the right, with features such as your follower count, follower recommendations, and trends on the left bar.
Plus, it’s no longer @username – it’s “Connect”.
Simplification – Twitter has refined what is important on the Web Interface. Previously, the Activity, Searches and Lists Tab, were on our Homepage. But not anymore. Your mentions will be covered under “Connect”, allowing you to see all the reactions to your tweets, by each tweet.
Image Courtesy of Twitter
Definitely so much better than the old web interface- I can see all activity related to my content in one single tab, which has been classified under “Interactions” and “Mentions” in the left bar.
Plus, this is not extended to just the web interface – it’s on your iOS and Android devices too. Talk about consistency and integration. Well done!
But here’s the meat- and what I am really excited about. It’s the simplification of a challenge some brands have difficulty understanding on how Twitter actually works. More importantly, this is ushering in Twitter’s importance as a platform for content curation.
2. The Discover Tab
The discover tab is split into 5 main sections now- Stories, Activity, Who to Follow, Find Friends and Categories. Yes, this is where you can search for your hashtags, e.g. #SocialMedia, in a more organized fashion. What excites me the most would be the inclusion of Stories, Activity, and Categories within Discover- to highlight Twitter’s massive potential as a content curation tool.
Image Courtesy of Twitter
Stories – According to Twitter, this is a section dedicated to Stories and trends content which are trending- based on recent popularity as well as a user’s connections, location and language. It is now a lot easier to search for a relevant hashtag- say #SocialMedia – and look at the timeline of content getting tweeted all over the world, with embedded photos well organized in a less cluttered timeline. This was something which could not have been done before. I would say that this is one of the most undervalued tools where not many brands in Asia have tapped upon – imagine the sheer amount of content you can tap upon in real time, and now within the web interface- with photos, tweets, and trending topics among consumers.
Activity - Activity shows what your connections do related to the accounts that they follow- including their followers, lists, and what tweets they favorite, retweet or reply to most. This is an excellent way to keep an eye out for content which interests you- assuming that most of the accounts you follow are following people whose content you might find interest in. Previously, the Activity tab was a standalone tab besides your mentions on the old web interface.
Image Courtesy of Twitter
Categories - Search for other users on Twitter by the main categories of Tweets.
3. Twitter Brand Pages – and they’re FREE
Image Courtesy of AdAge
I’ve been waiting for this for the longest time- I have always wondered on when Twitter will launch a similar equivalent to a Facebook Fan Page.
Twitter Brand Pages are free. Furthermore, they can be customised by the brand with beautiful, large header images as seen by the Brave banner from Disney – Pixar. Certainly, this will carry on stronger branding compared to existing user profiles which have no such functionality.
Furthermore, brands will be able to keep a selected tweet at the top of their time line- greater eyeballs there from consumers, where the tweet will be able to auto-expand with embedded photos or videos, providing a more seamless experience.
Moreover, Twitter’s brand pages will be able to, separate out a brand’s @replies from other Twitter users and mentions. This will definitely be helpful for Twitter brand pages which are used for primarily customer service purposes- whether you’re a financial institution, a hotel, or an airline. This will certainly help to deepen the engagement which the brand has with the consumer on Twitter.
Twitter will be launching brand pages with over 21 brands – including American Express, Coca Cola, Dell, Disney, Nike, PepsiCo, and Verizon.
3 Insights from the new changes on Twitter
1. By grouping the old tab, “Activity”, under “Discover”, Twitter is recognizing the importance Activity can play in expanding your interest graph. This is especially useful for users and brands who are keen on finding relevant content of interest within the other interest graphs of their followers, and subsequently aiding in content curation on their own Twitter feed.For brands, one of the best engagement models is not just to find out what their own followers are talking about- but also, what their followers are- and how brands can forge authentic relationships with these extended circles within the interest graph.
Discover allows you to search for a keyword or browse the content Twitter had curated for the individual. According to the Twitter team in this tweet, using the Discover tool more often would improve your experience as well- perhaps by analyzing what you search and respond to certain content in the long run. This is certainly an interesting development which reminds me of one of my favourite iPad Apps, Zite, in creating a personalised reading experience. While I am not sure if Twitter will be heading ultimately towards this direction, this will certainly get content consumers excited about the depth of content they can consume on Twitter.
2. The new web interface certainly highlights that Twitter is taking the revamp of their own native interface very seriously, which has been long overdue. Many high-powered Twitter users have stuck to using third party tools to manage their Twitter presence – simply because the old Twitter web interface is not as feature rich as some third party tools. Furthermore, the attention to making the experience seamless on iOS and Android devices, especially with releasing the new features FIRST on these devices, recognises Twitter’s dedication towards the bulk of Twitter’s users who tweet from a mobile device.