April 25, 2014

Sizing Up the Twitter Redesign: Why E-Commerce Brands Should Opt In

Posted by Sam Collier Category IconMarketing Category IconSocial Media

Learn about the Twitter's new features.
Learn about the Twitter’s new features

Back when Facebook rolled out its new timeline feature, the Mountain View social juggernaut received a chorus of disapproval along with (mostly) empty threats to leave the site altogether. This time, it’s Twitter making changes and, although the new style hasn’t exactly been an instant hit, it’s big news for businesses who have long faced the limitations of the old school profile pages. The new profile designs began rolling out back at the beginning of April, and are now available to all users. Even if your account hasn’t been chosen, you can jump the queue by opting into the new design here. So why should you make the effort to upgrade before you’re pushed? Here’s our breakdown of the benefits for online brands and businesses.

The Pros

Header and profile images are bigger and more immersive.
Header and profile images are bigger and more immersive.

Greater Focus on Visuals
Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without, that’s just one stat that illustrates why Twitter is moving toward a more visual format. The first big change you’ll notice is the header image: it’s substantially larger at 1500 x 1500 pixels, and as a result takes up more real estate on the profile page. This is your chance to sell what your business is all about, so use it wisely. Twitter has provided a gallery of header images for those struggling to find one of their one, but I strongly recommend investing some time in creating a unique, emotive image for this space.

Next up is the profile image, again this is a larger 400*400-pixel size, but it retains the same square proportions as the old layout. When you upgrade, check how your current image displays. If you need to upload a larger version, don’t worry too much about getting the exact pixel size, as Twitter will resize your image automatically. Nice touch, Twitter.

Followers are able to see all photos and videos in one place.
Followers are able to see all photos and videos in one place.

Last, but certainly not least, is a greater emphasis on photos and videos. These are given a new grid view and highlighted strongly across the profile design. This enhancement makes it much easier for followers to discover the photos and videos your brand has shared, even if they were shared a long time ago…

Filtered tweets to view tweets without lots of replies. Pinned tweets to highlight moments to top of the profile.
Filtered tweets to view tweets without lots of replies. Pinned tweets to highlight moments to top of the profile.

Brand & Business Friendly
This redesign is focused on giving brands and businesses more control than the general twitter user. As a result, profiles are becoming more of a destination in themselves and we, as businesses, get lots of new toys to play with! Filtered tweets are probably my favorite aspect of the redesign, and a feature that will be a true asset to business profiles. This feature separates the @replies from the main feed. The benefit to your business is that it removes customer service tweets from the main view and gives new visitors to your profile the tweets that speak to them, rather than other consumers.

Last in our run down of the pros are pinned tweets. This is one feature brands will love as it gives businesses the control to curate their own content and choose which posts they want to stand out. If you’re familiar with pinning a post to the top of a Facebook brand page, you’ll quickly get to grips with pinned tweets.

The Cons

Best Tweets Are Chosen Automatically
Businesses will love pinned tweets; we’re just not so sure they’re going to feel the same about best tweets! Best tweets are tweets that are automatically chosen for prominence due to the amount of engagement they receive. Now stay with me while I play devil’s advocate for a moment here. This could mean that a tweet that sparks, or responds to, a negative situation could receive much more prominence than desired by a PR or marketing department.

Backgrounds Have Disappeared
I’m afraid custom backgrounds haven’t survived the redesign! Although you can tweak the color theme on your profile (this effects the hue of text and outlines), the main background defaults to a light grey, much like, you guessed it, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest!

Lists Are Still Hidden
Lists are one of Twitter’s most underutilized features. They allow you to keep track of accounts without having to follow everyone in your main feed, and if you’re anything like me it can get pretty crowded! In this update, lists are still hidden under a drop down menu, giving no real impetus for brands to look at these in a fresh light, unlike favorites where the spotlight shines brightly…

5 Ways to Rule the Redesign!

1. Review Your Video and Photo Content Now
The new design has a real focus on your visual content, so make sure it reflects well on your business. If you have any stray gifs or off-brand videos, now is the time to quietly delete those tweets!

2. Check Your Favorites
Favorites sit in a strange no man’s land between the like button and a ‘save so I can read later’ button. With the emphasis they’re given in the new design, now is the time to make a real decision about how to use this feature. Whatever you decide, make sure you stick to it, and that you are happy with everything on your favorites list.

3. Choose Your Header Image Wisely
Your profile picture says who you are, but your header image tells the story. Make sure you take advantage of this massive branding space to tell yours.

4. Check Your Profile Photo
Odds are you haven’t changed your profile image in quite some time. It happens so infrequently in my own timeline, that a change from one person can leave me wondering who it is that I’m actually following. But you don’t have to change your branding; all you need to do is check that it works with the new larger dimensions, so you know your users are still getting the best experience.

5. Remember the Number One Rule of @replies
Do this correctly, and all your customer service replies will slot nicely into the filtered view, focusing on the content you want to show. Get it wrong, and you not only waste this feature, you’re also (unwittingly) annoying your followers.Here’s how it works. Start your tweet like this and you pass the test: @customer Hi how can we help you?

However, start your tweet like this and you are practically begging to be unfollower: .@customer how can we help you? Why is this so bad? By adding anything in front of the @customer, you instantly make that tweet show up in all of your follower’s timelines. This is incredibly annoying when it comes to customer service tweets — just try following a brand for more than a day that does this. Of course, there may be times you want to make something public, so if someone says how amazing you are, you can use anything you like in front of the @username to make sure your followers see you responding to your hard-earned endorsement. For example:”.@blogger loves our latest product, check out her review www.exampleblog.com/review “