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Twitter Jumps on the Brandwagon

  |  December 14, 2011   |  Comments

A look at the major differences in the new enhanced Twitter profile pages.

Previously, I wrote on the announcement of Google+ brand pages and why businesses should invest in the time and effort to build out a presence. With Facebook and Google+ catering to and providing specific resources for businesses to leverage, Twitter has now jumped onto the brand bandwagon. Along with a redesign that unifies the user experience across mobile and desktop platforms, Twitter announced that brand pages, or enhanced profile pages, are slowly being rolled out with an initial 21 partners such as @Pepsi and @AmericanExpress. Because social media profiles rank well for branded searches in the organic results, it's imperative for businesses to begin looking at the available options for optimization and customization on Twitter. Regardless of where searchers click in organic results: brand site, social media site, or other, the primary goal of the business should be to engage them in ways that are unique to each channel.

Two of the major differences in the new enhanced Twitter profile pages include the ability to create a custom banner section at the top of the page, as well as a "promoted" tweet section that resides above all other tweets regardless of when it was published. These two features are higlighted below from Twitter's own profile page followed by thoughts on optimization for each:

twitter-advertising

Custom Banner Section

The custom banner section at the top of the profile page is the most noticeable change to the design and offers up endless opportunities for engaging your audience.

twitter-pepsi

While Twitter and Pepsi have opted to use it for visual style and branding purposes, marketers looking to further engage their audience should consider using the space for topics such as:

  • New product release announcements
  • Important company news headlines
  • Social media contest details and promotions
  • Cross social media channel promotion (instead of cramming it into the background)
  • Highlight a specific Twitter follower that has won a contest or has tweeted a positive message about the brand
  • Contact information such as phone numbers, email, and physical addresses along with Google Map imagery and hours of operation
  • Special deals, sales, and promotions on products or services currently offered

While it's perfectly acceptable to use this space to further support branding and styling guidelines for some brands, it will likely be far more beneficial to look for ways to engage visitors, keep them coming back, and guide them further along the sales funnel in combination with creative imagery and branding. This should ring especially true with local and retail businesses.

Promoted Tweets

Promoted Tweets are those that you designate as important and want displayed at the top of your page for immediate view. This is a great addition for brands that tweet often but have content that they want to remain a focus. Currently, continuing to publish tweets would eventually push previous content below the fold and you'd have to repost the tweet to bring it back into attention. This can become annoying and appear spammy to those that check their feed often. Because this area is a main focus of the page, brands should carefully consider strategies behind the types of tweets promoted. Similar to the custom banner, the promoted tweet should act as a tool to engage the user and draw them into the overall experience and goals you have for social media channels. Examples of potential uses may include:

  • Videos and imagery of new products, commercials, promotions, or podcasts. Tying these assets in and making them relevant to what is in the custom banner will further enhance the user experience
  • YouTube videos of recorded Google+ hangouts for cross social media channel promotion
  • Topical messages or interviews from CEOs or other employees
  • Contest information that allows people to easily retweet or reply immediately

With a significant user base and adoption rate from businesses already, leveraging and optimizing these offerings from Twitter is essentially a no-brainer. What will separate the most successful profiles from the mediocre is how creative and streamlined the experience is for the user and how those efforts tie into each brand's overall goal of having a presence on Twitter in the first place. Will you use the above techniques for optimizing your Twitter profile page? If not, in what other ways do you envision the new features being used?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Crispin Sheridan

Crispin Sheridan is the Senior Director, Global Search at SAP. As part of the digital team, he established and leads the search and testing practices at SAP. Crispin is responsible for paid, natural, and mobile search and all online testing. Search and testing at SAP are fully centralized and globally funded and run under a hybrid in-house and agency model.

Crispin has proven that search learnings and keyword insights work hand in hand with social media marketing and together can effectively drive B2B lead generation. Furthermore, the development of the SAP.com Test Lab has contributed significant success to SAP's digital marketing efforts.

A frequent guest speaker at conferences, including SES New York, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Delhi, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Crispin was appointed to the SES Advisory Board in December 2009. He has also been a guest speaker at the e-Metrics Summit and ad:Tech, and is a member of Google's B2B Technology Council. You can follow him on Twitter at @crispinsheridan and read his monthly SEO column on ClickZ.

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