Late to the party or not, Twitter has followed in Facebook's and Google+'s footsteps with the launch of their new brand pages and brand marketers would be wise to sit up and take notice of the new features coming to a Twitter account near them. Clearly the brand battle lines are being drawn.Although not available on a widespread basis the recently-announced Twitter brand pages promises some great new features which will afford brand marketers a chance to interact and engage with their followers even more than they were already doing.
Before I get to what the new Twitter brand pages mean to marketers, a little review if I may...
Facebook is of course the granddaddy of them all - BTW I like Badgers over the Ducks in this year's Rose Bowl, but I digress, with over 800 million members. Obviously if there's safety in numbers for brands - safety in the context of reaching the most people, then Facebook is clearly the most popular choice for brands to set up proverbial shop. Facebook also wins in terms of flexibility as nowadays you can make your Facebook page essentially serve as your website - the programming is that flexible.
Then there's Google+, the social media platform that some consider the sleeping giant - it is from Google after all, while others consider it just sleeping and are not sure of it's long term success. On one hand almost 61% of the top 100 brands now have a presence on Google+. On the other hand (it's always the other hand that gets us in trouble) brands on Google+ have just 148,000 followers compared to the 300 million followers on Facebook. Those numbers come courtesy of a recent study done by BrightEdge and speak to the fact that many people are reticent to join the Google+ bandwagon.
And now comes word that Twitter has jumped into the social media brand battleground with its announcement of the creation of more enhanced and feature-friendly Twitter pages for brands.
Three of the most important features of the new (1) Twitter brand pages are the expanded header image area, (2) the inclusion of a "featured Tweet" and (3) the ability to separate out a brand's @replies and @mentions.
- With the expanded and fully customizable header image area advertisers and brand managers can now use the new Twitter branded page to display their logo and tagline more prominently than under the current/standard format, where branded elements of the page design are often times partially covered by the time line of tweets.
- The "featured Tweet" is a fantastic way for advertisers and brand managers to highlight specific campaigns, promotions or offers over a much longer period of time. Previously the shelf life of a Tweet was short but now an advertiser can literally expand a given Tweet's shelf life which then expands the shelf life of a given message they want to convey. The "featured Tweet" also auto-expands to reveal an embedded photo or video from Flickr, YouTube or other sources, without requiring the user to take action... and all of which can help a brand better highlight and illustrate a given offer or promotion.
- Being to able to separate the @replies from the @mentions is great news for marketers or agencies who manage Twitter accounts for it will help them streamline their responses and communication by clearly separating them out from all the other Twitter noise, if you will.
The new branded Twitter pages are currently being with 21 marketers including Coca-Cola, Dell, Nike and Disney. In fact below is how the new branded Disney Twitter account looks. However, don't be surprised if you cannot see it yet via your own personal Twitter account as not only is the branded pages themselves being rolled out slowly, so too is the ability to see them.
But make no mistake about it then as soon as the new branded Twitter pages are available to ALL brands and marketers, they key will be - as it is in EVERY social media platform, to create compelling and engaging content.
Isn't that right, Chief Revenue Officer of Twitter, Adam Bain?
"The question for each one of these marketers is what is the interesting, compelling, provocative content that they can be putting out to a larger audience to keep that engagement high."
Thanks Adam, couldn't have said it better myself.
So, the question(s) to all of you is simple really...
What are you currently doing to engage your customers and prospects via Twitter?
And how do you see the new branded pages helping and supporting and enhancing what you're currently doing?
Sources: Ad Age, Hub Spot, Google Images, The Star Group, What The New Twitter Brand Pages Mean To Marketers
Steve Olenski is the Creative Director of Digital Services for The Star Group, a marketing communications firm dedicated to driving engagement with B2B and B2C brands operating in today's hyper-competitive, rapidly evolving digital marketplace.