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This week, Twitter confirmed the long-standing rumors of a “face-lift” and launched its new Profile Page design. Currently the switch is "opt-in only" for existing users, yet all newly created accounts are automatically defaulted to the new look.
The look itself isn't drastic. In fact, it's very familiar in that it "borrows" many elements from its social competitors (e.g. Facebook, Pinterest, G+, etc.)
The news evoked a collective groan from marketing professionals (myself included, initially), as seemingly each week another social media channel is changing its" look." The amount of time required to update the profiles of all your social channels is a full-time job in itself these days.
Twitter's new look is more than a fresh coat of paint; there are several functional elements that you can use as a marketer to your advantage. Furthermore, the switch can be the signal for a fresh start to your social approach. I bet dollars to doughnuts there are at least a few things on your social to-do list that just need an excuse to get started.
Here are my 7 reasons to adopt the new Twitter Profile right now. In the comments, share which you feel are most important and let me know if I left anything out:
Easily the most important upgrade, you now have the ability to "pin" any tweet to the top of your profile feed. Simply click on the 3 dots ". . ." within any tweet and choose "Pin to your profile page."
This "pinned" tweet is eventually pushed down with new content you add, however if you are diligent you can use this new upgrade to feature a positive customer testimonial or the BIG SALE you are having on Saturday.
Your profile page is viewed more frequently than you think and often will be the deciding factor on a new follower conversion. If your page is badly designed or out of date, your conversion ratio will decline.
The "Big Banner," which is very similar to the latest G+ and Facebook design, gives you more real estate to advertise your brand effectively in that crucial two seconds you have to convince a user to move deeper into your funnel. Furthermore, the larger size (1500 x 500px vs. 520 x 260 px) allows more freedom than the previous to show off what makes your brand unique. Here is a quick tip: don't post an image of the latest new car model – everyone does that.
Another concept "borrowed" from Facebook: the new profile prominently displays both your Twitter "start date" and Twitter statistics (e.g. Tweets, Photos/Videos, Following, Followers, and the new "Favorites”). What this does is paint those who just jumped on the social bandwagon with glow-in-the-dark, DayGlo orange paint. Instantly, those who are long-standing members of the community will be rewarded for their tenure. Those who just started last week won’t be able to hide.
The accountability component will also change how marketers will use their Twitter accounts. Suddenly your Followers/Following ratio is hanging on your front door rather than in a back room. Ideally your goal is to have more Followers than Following, and if you are too far in the red it will look foul on your brand. You want to be a leader, not another follower.
The "official" reason why Twitter removed the backgrounds is unknown, but it is very easy to come to the conclusion that nobody else was doing it. White backgrounds are the norm, and allow for pictures and videos to be highlighted. What better way to highlight your struggling Vine video service than to remove all the clutter around it? j/k :P
There is also now a sense of uniformity. If you can remember MySpace, you may recall that giving users too much leeway on the design side can be disastrous.
Simply put, tweets with more interaction will appear larger than those without. Not just in the physical size of the "tweet box" but the font as well. This is a fantastic upgrade to Twitter's platform that will automatically weed out the low-quality content. This also raises the accountability bar on marketers: if your content is bad, you will further fade into the distance.
Another reason to stay sharp with your Followers/Following process. As you add new people to your Following list, their profiles will appear in your timeline. Following the wrong person could (in a worst-case scenario) become a PR disaster.
On the flip side, the more customers that follow you, the more you will be displayed in their profiles.
Another "borrowed" feature from Pinterest is the new gallery-style view of both your Photos/Videos and your Following list. From an automotive perspective, this opens a wealth of opportunities to feature delivery photos of your customers, or maybe a resurgence into displaying inventory. I would love to see someone try using Twitter as an inventory feed, and direct customers to their Photo/Video gallery page.
On the Following side, again you have to be more careful than ever. Your Following gallery is automatically organized by last person followed, so if you add a few nefarious accounts without thinking it through, it will be prominently displayed at the top of your list.
The saying, "If you're not riding the wave of change...you'll find yourself beneath it," is more true with every passing minute, so get yourself started NOW. Log in to Twitter and head to Settings > Profile, and a dropdown should give you the option to switch and walk you through the process.
Robert Karbaum arguably has the best name in the automotive industry. His combined experience over the past decade in E-Commerce and the automotive industry has allowed him to master the art of “AutoSpeak”; the ancient language that bridges the gap between internet geeks, the showroom floor and everything in-between. He manages the E-Commerce, Social and Digital Marketing operations at Weins Canada Inc. (formerly Don Valley North Automotive Group); a prestigious automotive group in Canada which includes the #1 volume Toyota and Lexus dealerships in the country.
Catch him on Twitter (@karbaum) or DroppinBaums.com.