Twitter has begun beta testing a range of new features dubbed the “Twitter Business Center,” adding functions for brands making use of the platform and letting them use it for purposes such as customer relationship management more successfully.
According to a report by Mashable, the features are currently only available to a limited number of users, but will be rolled out gradually to more accounts shortly.
The changes include the ability for businesses to add a “verified account” badge to their profile, and to customize the contents of their public-facing profile page. In addition, multiple users will be able to tweet via business accounts, a function Twitter announced late last year.
Potentially the most important alteration, however, is the ability for business users or brands to receive direct messages from any of their followers, regardless of whether or not the account is following the user in return.
As businesses make increasing use of the platform for customer service purposes, receiving DMs from any source could change the tenor of their relationships with Twitter users. For example, they will now be able to deal with customer issues and complaints directly and privately with users, as well as collect data and feedback through the channel.
For example, brands such as Staples, Dell, and Best Buy have exploited the channel for marketing insights, sales, and CRM purposes. The addition of these features could help aid those types of interactions.
Another interesting feature, according to screenshots published by Mashable, is the ability to characterize your business as a “small or local business,” a “large company or brand” or as an “individual or group.” The small or local option suggests, in theory, that some kind of location-based functionality or differentiation may be introduced.
So far there is no indication of whether or not business accounts and features will be offered on a paid basis beyond the initial beta testing period.
With social media reach and engagement rates having dipped so precipitously over the last year or so, paying to play is the only option for most brands now.
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