As users of Twitter are already aware, within the past few weeks the company has rolled out major changes to the look, feel and functionality of the site. With a large majority of the population being visual in nature, Twitter saw the need to evolve if they wanted to drive further engagement of its widely used platform.
We all saw the impact one picture tweeted by Ellen Degeneres at the Oscars had on Twitter (it was retweeted so many times that within minutes it crashed the site). While the changes to Twitter were already underway, the Oscar tweet, nonetheless, solidified the notion that visual content is key to engagement on social media.
Following the leads of Facebook, Google+ and Instagram, the Twitter platform has set out to improve user experience, drive engagement and create an opportunity for users to share more visual content.
Here are the major changes and how to best leverage them:
New profile and header photo. Looking surprisingly similar to Facebook's profile picture and cover images, Twitter has revamped the look of its profile pages, offering users a lot more real estate to visually showcase their brand. The first thing you will want to do to maximize Twitter's changes is to choose a new profile photo (measuring 256px x 256 px) and design a header photo (with a width of 1,500 px and height of 500 px).
Don't miss this opportunity to visually capture viewers and showcase your firm's brand. Limit your text in the header photo and instead use visual images, your logo and other vibrant pieces to quickly capture attention.
Focus on photos and video. Twitter is placing a big emphasis on visual content. You should begin to use photos and videos in your tweets to capture people's attention. And with Twitter's improved mobile functioning, this has become even easier. The update now allows users to share up to four photos in one tweet, as well as to tag up to 10 people in your photos without counting against the tweet's 140-character limit.
This presents a great opportunity to share information and showcase photos from client events, open houses at a new office space, speaking engagements, seminars and conferences.
Pinned tweets. This new feature offers you the ability to pin a specific tweet to the top of your profile stream, so visitors to your page will see it right away. This is a great opportunity to quickly engage your followers. Use this tweet to give back — to provide information or to offer a resource to your followers. Consider pinning a tweet that offers your clients a free white paper or e-book, or that features visual content (or an infographic) around a topic important to them.
Filtered tweets and “best” tweets. Twitter now allows you more control over what to view when looking at someone's profile. You can now select from a stream of basic “tweets,” featuring photos and videos, or “tweets and replies,” which shows tweets that have driven more engagement.
Another interesting and pretty cool new feature is the fact the tweets that drive the most engagement (i.e., the “best” tweets) will appear in larger font, making it very easy to pick out which content on a person's profile page has driven the most engagement.
New follower and following list. Previously, when viewing the list of your profile followers and the profiles you are following, you were only shown a list of the usernames and a small profile photo for each follower.
With the new changes, you will now see users' profiles and header photos, as well as their page summaries, thus providing more information without having to click on the full profile.
One thing is certain: social media is an ever-changing landscape. As trends continue to evolve, it is critically important to stay updated on the newest features and opportunities presented with such evolution. Continually ask yourself how you can provide content that is of value to your followers, as well as how you can drive engagement with them.
For more information on the changes, or to update your profile, click here.
Kristin Andree (email@example.com) is president of Andree Media & Consulting.