It’s getting harder than ever to keep up. Following hot on the heels of Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, Twitter has just unveiled a major revamp.
The old Investis Twitter page
The new Investis Twitter page
There’s plenty of new stuff to explore. The Discover feature in particular is being hailed as a game changer – and represents a major leap forward for Twitter, letting users find new content from users they don’t already follow but based on their interests and location. Another major change is that it is now easier to upload photos and embed videos into your tweets.
However, as with Google + opening up business pages and LinkedIn allowing companies to post status updates, the new Twitter is also very much more business-friendly – and this is important for corporate communicators. It’s not fully rolled out yet which is why our page still looks a little bland but it’s worth beginning to think about it now.
The new layout will provide an additional banner space to personalise which, if carefully designed, means that you can break away from the template feel of the previous system.
It will also be possible to select a tweet to stay permanently at the top of the page (like a sticky post on a blog). This post can be expanded to show how many times it has been ‘retweeted’ or ‘favourited’ – but more importantly, it can have a photo or video embedded into it so that this too is permanently displayed.
Taken in tandem, these two developments give companies much more flexibility and power to communicate who they are and what they do. When compared to Facebook and Google+, Twitter used to look rather dry and text- heavy. At a stroke, it has transformed itself into something closer to a billboard and it would be a mistake not to make the most of this opportunity.
Several companies we have been speaking to have still not fully committed to Twitter. They recognise its importance but they are unable or unwilling to allocate the necessary resource to manage an active Twitter presence. In some instances, they have decided to simply sit on their accounts, perhaps with an avatar and a simple background design, but they are not yet ready to actually engage (or if they do tweet it is infrequently).
These companies should now upgrade their Twitter presence so that users who stumble across their page can at least be given more worthwhile content than a 160 character bio – a short corporate video, for example.
Those companies who are actively using Twitter for corporate communications (and there is a growing number of them) will quickly realise that the new layout is an unexpected bonus, albeit one that requires additional strategic thought.
The best use will emerge over time but what is obvious is that the sticky tweet could be regularly changed. The company’s Twitter page could, for example, prominently display videos or webcasts of the latest news, results and announcements – rather than the previous rather muted approach of simply posting a text tweet that would quickly be replaced by later tweets.
The new layout is being rolled out now. The ability to edit the banner and the sticky tweet will be rolled out more gradually – for most of us this will mean early next year. However, Twitter has partnered with 21 major brands so you can see some examples already. Have a look at @GeneralElectric, @Heineken, @Intel and @NYSE_Euronext.
Tags: social media