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How Brands Can Make the Most Out of Twitter's New Features
Posted on April 10th 2014
Twitter has been unusually quiet for the past few months. Little did we all know that the platform was about to unleash a frenzy of updates. It's like waiting ages for a bus, only for three to come at once.
With the announcement of timeline changes, mobile updates, bigger photos as well as rumours of the imminent death of @-replies and hashtags, marketers have been overloaded with information. The key question is how can brands use Twitter's new features to their advantage?
With the raft of other updates, it’s hardly a surprise that the new web profile is bigger, bolder, less text-heavy and more image-focused.
Not only will users have the opportunity to include a larger header, the update will also highlight the most engaged tweets (a bit like Klout), allow users to pin a tweet to the top of their timeline (a bit like Facebook) and see top trending topics in one place.
If you want to see Twitter names, handles, descriptions and links, you will now have to look at the left-hand side of the profile, not the right. The menu which lists Tweets, Following, Followers, Favorites and Lists will be no more, making for a less cluttered effect.
This visually-led profile will give brands the opportunity to raise awareness and drive engagement for competitions and campaign launches. Gone are the days of scrolling through days worth of tweets - instead, the pinning feature can present key information to users as soon as they land on the page.
Photo collages on mobile
The new Twitter update for iOS and Android will allow users to upload up to four images at once.
The fantastic thing about this is that, unlike before, the photo will not affect your word count – you can upload up to four images without compromising any of your 140 characters.
There are unlimited ways for a brand to get some mileage out of this. You can include calls to action on each image; create stories which can evoke emotion; announce new products; and congratulate competition winners for starters.
Photo tags on mobile
Similar to Facebook and Instagram, Twitter users will now be able to tag up to ten people in their photo updates.
This is a fantastic way for brands to acknowledge and encourage UGC, something I imagine would work seamlessly with photo-led social media campaigns; if you’re looking for users to engage with your #fanoftheweek search, a photo tag would be a great way to notify your winner. The photo tags also give brands the opportunity to collaborate, by encouraging cross promotion. For example, if you’re a fashion company that has signed up with a particular retailer.
However, remember that as a brand, if you do allow photo tags you potentially open yourself up to receiving spam alerts by getting tagged in irrelevant or inappropriate content. If this does happen, however, fear not. You can remove the tag by simply selecting “Remove tag from photo”.
Viewable emojis on desktop
Gone are the days where emojis were represented with tiny black squares. If you log on to Twitter from a desktop computer or laptop, you’ll now be able to see emojis in all their glory.
I’m personally a huge fan of emojis, they add a bit of humour and personality to an otherwise mundane tweet. However, I do appreciate that not every brand will flock to use these in their updates – if it’s not relevant to your tone of voice, then it’s best to stay away.
Related: Vine now supports direct messages
As Twitter’s video sharing tool, Vine has also received an update, and now allows users to send direct messages in the form of videos or text, similar to Instagram video and Snapchat.
In the past, if you liked a Vine, you could share this to your entire network by selecting “Share”. With the update, you can be more selective about who gets to see your shared video.
Brands could use this feature to communicate with competition winners in a creative way, raise awareness of a new campaign by “tagging” others, or hold richer, private conversations with their fans.
What do you think of the new updates? Tell us what features you'll be using.
Photos courtesy of the Twitter blog.