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Are new Twitter brand pages really a game-changer?

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Last December, Twitter unveiled a new look–and some additional functionality–for brand pages on Twitter. At the time, it was labeled as a clear attempt to compete with Facebook’s enhanced brand pages (which will get another “upgrade” in late February when Timeline is introduced it seems).

Twitter obviously made a big deal of the upgrade–but, how big of a deal is this move really for brands? Is it a game-changer–or a mild attempt at appeasing brands and their requests for more content control and branding on the platform?

Let’s take a closer look at the changes–and their potential impact for brands.

Expanded header area

One noticeable change in the new Twitter brand pages is the one-inch area (roughly) Twitter has given brands right beneath the bio for branded imagery. Take a peek at what Intel, Staples and Nike Basketball have done below (just a few of the brands Twitter has given access to for these new pages to date) . Intel uses the new section merely as a branding opportunity, whereas Nike takes it a step further and includes a key hash tag they’re putting additional oomph behind recently (smart).

 

Impact: Simple opportunity to add more branding elements to Twitter pages–which should make most marketers happy. However, this new area also presents brands with a chance to get a little creative. You see a hint of that with the Nike area–raising awareness for the #kobesystem hash tag. I also like what Staples is doing with its branded space. Could brands use this key area (very visible) to drive people to certain hash tags? Other branded accounts? Other URLs? I think we’ll see a lot more of this as the new upgrade is rolled out to more brands in the coming months.

The Featured Tweet

Maybe the best new feature is the ability to add a “featured tweet” to the top of your stream on your page. This allows brands to control the content right at the top of the stream–which is key because the first 3-4 tweets is often all you see when visiting a Twitter brand page (little like page one of Google in that way). Also key is that if brands choose to use a photo or video in their “featured tweet”, that photo/video is automatically expanded for all to see–no clicking/expanding necessary for followers. Check out how Best Buy (promoting its weekly circular–smart), Heineken (driving folks to vote for a new bottle design) and Chevy (driving people to its Super Bowl ad–possibly) are using their “featured tweets” below.

Impact: This is, without question, the biggest “upgrade” to the brand pages. Given the authority to control what tweet sits at the top of Twitter brand pages might not seem like a big deal on the surface, but what about during a “crisis”-type situation? Wouldn’t the ability to control that top tweet be fairly critical? Or, what about during a key promotional period for your brand? There are numerous opportunities here for brands. Big impact.

Separating mentions from replies

Haven’t seen this one personally, obviously, but I’m guessing it involves some sort of setting where you can view all replies or all mentions in a specific stream.

Impact:  Another key add–and I’ll tell you why. If you’re a brand that uses Twitter as a customer service tool, separating out mentions from replies would be key. Why? Because those replies are often people asking questions. Registering complaints. Or, in some cases, applauding the brand. And brands want to respond to all three scearnios fairly quickly. So, having the ability to look JUST at your replies would be helpful, right?

Enough from me. What do you think? Is this a big upgrade for brands, or over-hyped additions designed to help Twitter keep up with the “competition?”

 

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Are new Twitter brand pages really a game-changer?

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