The past few months have been a waiting game for brands.
First, it was speculation over when Google+ brand pages would launch after the platform debuted in June. Then, in late September, Facebook announced Timeline, and speculation on how it might be adapted for brands heated up.
Now, Twitter’s solution for brands, Twitter Brand Pages, is on the scene. Unlike Google+ and Facebook, which did not disclose their brand page options simultaneously with those for its user bases, Twitter has. Twitter unveiled a shiny new interface for users Thursday, one that is meant to be more accessible to people still mystified by the Twitter phenomenon and hold the attention of seasoned tweeters.
Brand pages for Twitter will roll out over the next several weeks, but pilot brands have live Twitter Brand Pages currently, including American Express, McDonald’s, Dell, and JetBlue.
While all brands don’t have access yet, there are parts of the announcement that brands can utilize now, as well as steps to take now to prepare for the brand page launch. Consider these:
1. Drive conversations with new Twitter buttons: Twitter released redesigned follow and tweet buttons, but they’ve also introduced versions of these buttons that prompt users to jump in on a hashtag thread or launch a conversation with your account on Twitter. For Twitter promotions and ongoing branded discussions, the hashtag button is a great way to make tweeting seamless for users. The mention button is a great call to action that sends tweeters directly into a conversation with your brand.
For example, what do you think of the new buttons? Tell us on Twitter.
2. Find uses for embeddable tweets: The move toward integrating social media into company websites continues. Twitter’s easier embeddable tweets allows anyone to embed any user’s tweet onto third-party websites. The embed includes the original tweet, as well as a follow button and actions options, such as Reply, Retweet and Favorite. For brands, embeddable tweets allow visitors to your site interact with you right then and there. Before, there were the options of following and tweeting through Twitter buttons, but now, there’s content and context. Highlighting individual tweets is an excellent way to leverage the tweets of brand ambassadors, of expert consultants, and high-profile executives. For instance, apparel brands could embed a fashion expert’s tweet on a product page. A shopper can retweet, favorite, or reply to the expert’s tip about that item & how it’s part of a hot new fashion trend.
3. Begin thinking about how your Twitter mission and goals translate to the new features of the Brand Pages. Twitter Brand Pages will allow companies to have a custom banner image, larger profile picture, and a “pin tweet” that is always featured at the top of the tweet stream (see pilot brand examples below). What should your primary message be here? What are the creative elements? What are you trying to accomplish on Twitter and who are you trying to reach? If those differ from Facebook, Google+, and YouTube, how so? Answers to these questions will drive how your page looks and what will be your initial pin tweet, which many pilot brands have opted to promote a video or image, such as @SubwayFreshBuzz, @CocaCola, and @Jetblue.
Brand Pages won’t roll out to all companies right away. When brands are given full access to the new pages, it will be interesting to see how brands, given a heads up on the exact elements of the new pages beforehand, will use this new tool for reaching customers on Twitter.