How Indian Brands can use #NewTwitter

Twitter, Twitter Profile, Twitter

In my last post I talked about how #newtwitter had changed for users and what the reaction was from users in India about the change. While users are certainly trying out and will get an opportunity to make their judgments, I’d like to highlight what #newtwitter has to offer for brands.

Currently @twitter says these features are available to a select few brands and will roll out more broadly in coming weeks and months. So with this article, I’d like to share some insights on how brands can really utilize these features to the fullest.

Many of the brands in India have been using twitter to be a direct point of contact and to host community meetings (tweetups), product launches, quiz contests, concierge services and carry intelligent conversations to engage with their users on a real time basis. The struggle is to keep the audience engaged and give something interesting, especially since the ecosystem is very restricted.

One of the things that twitter certainly wants to do with this move is make its relationship stronger with brands and advertisers. With the further development of #newtwitter as a closed ecosystem, it will look forward to offering something more for brands, especially when Facebook is way ahead and Google+ recently joining that category.

 Yes, you guessed it right, it’s ‘Brand Pages’ also known as ‘Enhanced Profile Pages.’

 What is it all about?

 Q: So what does this enhanced profile page has to offer?

 A: An enhanced profile page is something that will increase your brands presence on twitter and will be very useful to feature relevant and most important content from time to time to reach out to your users. It’s also completely public and users can view your content without joining / logging on to twitter.

 How will it help?

 Two key things will help you do this.

  1. Header image: This would mean, besides your twitter background, a prominent header would help you brand yourself visually and from time to time, you can change your brands campaign based headers or even communication for that matter. Let’s say there is a specific hashtag you want your users to know about, that is something you can use in the visual logo, like twitter’s done on this page http://twitter.com/twitterads

    Header Image-#newtwitter

  2. Feature your content: At any given point on your page, the top tweet will not change. That is what this feature will offer. Which means, the best thing to do would be to feature a video or an image that you want to showcase on top. The first thing that a person will see after he views your bio on top and the header image.

Featured Content

 A few ideas how brands can use this feature to their advantage:
  1. Share interesting pictures to showcase their products and keep changing it on a regular basis to give something new to the community.
  2. Share interesting videos of various kinds on a regular basis, again to captivate your audience and get them to interact with you more often.
  3. Use celebrities to showcase your product, communicate with your users especially by creating a special welcome video for twitter. Celebrities already brand ambassadors of your product can be a bonus.
  4. You can display constant deals and offers especially if you are a brand like Snapdeal or Flipkart.
  5. If your brand has a CSR initiative, this is a great tool for awareness and use this feature awareness videos to be there as featured content for as long as you want.
  6. Using simple flash, create an interesting and engaging Youtube Video, which could possibly have games / interactive content and something that people would want to keep coming back to. Remember Google Chrome’s promotion FastBall?

Video

Yes, if it’s on YouTube, people would go there, but if you have a great community, then this is quite a place to start seeding and given that twitter is a great communication platform, your reach will multiply within no time. And of course the key is to get people to keep coming back to your page if there’s a daily dose of such interesting content.

Having said that as of now twitter doesn’t have any strict guidelines like Facebook on usage of these kind of features for contests, giveaways and engagements etc. While there is opportunity I think these are the best ways one can simplify user experience for such engagements on twitter. These are similar contests to what we have used on Facebook, but it’s likely to drive more hits and more follows, if wisely done on twitter.

Even though, done and dusted, these haven’t been used on this platform. Hence would be interesting to see how they would work out especially for brands in India. More importantly there could be a lot of variations that brands can bring, considering the type of brands they are and the product they have. Idea is to engage your community in an interesting and audio-visual way.

  • Caption This: As a featured tweet, upload a picture that will stay there on top for as long as you want and then engage your audience to @mention an interesting and a catchy caption for the picture… You can chose to ask users to follow you, but if you are a smart brand, you would know that wouldn’t be the best way to engage users, rather you’d capitalize on getting more @mentions and start conversing with them and actually increase your presence on the overall timeline. Would also work best for local brands with a smaller circle. Would get more visibility for the given days.
  • Watch & Win: Again, something tried on Facebook, but with the static nature of the featured tweet, you are more likely to make this successful on twitter as well. Upload a video, that would have interesting content and using visual on header image, you can post a question to which users can respond to and win gratifications.
  • Audio-visual Quiz: A lot of brands have quizzes on twitter, currently if they want to use audio-visuals, they have to keep reposting pictures for new users or links that they already have used earlier. But this feature would eliminate that problem. They can just use static images in their featured tweets, or in fact, make the quizzes more interesting, by having visual cues / cards as quiz questions, which will keep changing at intervals.
  • Cartoon Strips / Humor: We all know Amul is famous, especially with their humorous takes on current issues on every hoarding across the country. The featured tweet and even the header image can be very helpful / useful to create such caricatures / engaging pictures / cartoon strips that will showase such messages. This is great for youth brands especially like @ChannelVIndia, who have done something similar along the lines on Facebook called The [V]all.

Well, these were some ideas we can use with these new features that will help brands in terms of engagements and overall community building and branding. I’m sure there will be many such, if we rack our brains a little. Especially since an audio-visual format has stronger recall value and more impact. As long as we keep the engagement simple and short especially to fit into 140 characters ;)

What do you think about this? Any more ideas that you think can work well with these features?

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Srinivas Kulkarni has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He's worked with Mirum (Formerly Social Wavelength) for 4 years. For the past few years he has been with Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai in various Intraprenurial roles. Currently he Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at the agency. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps #Kinnectors make a difference for the brands they work with. In his spare time he's a Travel Blogger and blogs about his escapades @ srinistuff.com
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