The top-tier social media platform recently introduced some significant changes, starting with a cleaner, more streamlined layout. The popular microblog site has also worked in a number of other features that makes it more functionally similar to Facebook than ever before. In a post in its advertising blog (http://advertising.twitter.com/2011/12/let-your-brand-take-flight-on-twitter.html)
Twitter announced that its new version "makes it easier for users to discover what's happening now."
One of the focal points of Twitter's new makeover is the enhanced profile pages. These provide marketers with another option to create compelling business pages that attract prospective customers and target audiences.
The new profile pages allow brands to promote their most important and engaging content so that they appear at the top of the page timeline and are the first things the visitor sees. At the top of the timeline is a stationary spot where the important messages can sit permanently, or for as long as the marketer requires.
The new profile page has a bigger header footprint, allowing larger image or logo uploads for more prominent branding. Companies can even promote themselves using tag lines and links. There is a new auto-expand feature that lets visitors see more related content, photos and videos. This new functionality aims to prevent tweets from becoming separated from their accompanying content.
These changes are set to be introduced globally within the next few weeks, but are currently being tested by some big brand partners that include the likes of American Express, Best Buy, Heineken, Subway and Coca Cola. With these changes, Twitter is serving notice of its intentions to step up to and keep up with Facebook and Google Plus, who themselves have rolled out similar features targeted toward the business markets.
Each one is expected to do battle using its own areas of strength. Facebook definitely has the numbers and will be leveraging them by reaching out to brands and soliciting their loyalty. On the other hand, 61 percent of the top 100 brands are now present on Google Plus, and Google will certainly find ways to take advantage of this fact.
So it does look like Twitter has got a lot of work to do and many obstacles to overcome if it is to realize success in this new arena. But Twitter does have some advantages. The large profile header will certainly attract the attention of any serious marketer. So too will the featured tweet. Once these new features go live, they will definitely provide promotional and branding advantages to account owners.
But perhaps Twitter's long term advantage will come from its ability to separate @replies from @mentions. While these might seem like minor features, they offer the tremendous advantage when dealing with a responsive and "noisy" marketplace, because here Twitter provides marketers with a valuable tool to segregate and categorize social media communication, allowing them to be more systematic and efficient in responding to both direct messages and general social commentary.
In other words, simply by being able to efficiently work with messages in the social landscape, Twitter will let marketers join in and sustain conversation - the holy grail of social media. As Twitter's Adam Bain believes, "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."
And so we wait and see if Twitter is on to something, and if it can stand up to its enormous and established social media competitors. How does your company leverage the power of social media to increase its business?