By Michael Solms
Twitter’s new profile design is here, and while many were anxious to see its new face, the end result looks somewhat familiar. Most of the buzz surrounding the new layout has been about its striking resemblance to Facebook user profiles, but several new features provide much-needed improvement to the Twitter experience. Here’s an in-depth review.
Profile and Header Images
One of the more obvious changes is the new design features a larger profile photo and customizable header image—just like Facebook and Google+. The larger profile photo is still a square image, but it now appears near the top left of your profile instead of the center, and it overlaps with the header image. Twitter recommends using a 400-by-400-pixel profile photo, but you have the option to crop a larger image during the upload process. Below your profile photo, users will find basic information about you, including a brief description, location, a website link, and clickable thumbnails of photos and videos.
The new header image will definitely catch the eye of anyone who visits your profile, as it spans the full width of the page. To take advantage of this area, simply click on the header space to upload your image. You’ll want a 1,500-by-500-pixel background image; and just like other social media sites, Twitter allows you to scale and move the picture to find the most desired positioning. You can now also edit photos or adjust your profile theme and colors in real time instead of having to go to your profile settings.
The overlapping of the profile image and background header enables you to get creative in making these graphics work together. (If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these 13 eye-catching examples of Twitter's new header images.) Overall, the layout of the profile and header images is definitely similar to Facebook, but the full-width header sets Twitter apart, making its profile pages more visual and giving users a larger canvas to get creative.
In addition to the larger visual elements, there are new features that allow you to show off your top Tweets and enable visitors to easily filter through all the information on your Twitter timeline. Your best Tweets—those that receive the most engagement from followers—now appear larger than the rest. In fact, the font sizes for your most popular posts are nearly double the size of your standard Tweets. This makes your best content easier to find and prevents it from getting buried among other posts.
You can also “amplify your awesomeness,” as Twitter puts it, by pinning one of your Tweets to the top of your page so it can be viewed easily by your followers. This helps promote and spark conversations with your followers regarding specific Tweets and topics that are important to you. For example, as a self-storage business, you may want to “pin” a new promotion or the opening of a new location. Pinned Tweets can be switched out at any time. Although the terminology is different, the act of pinning a Tweet is similar to a function Facebook has, which allows users to highlight a post and have it appear larger and at the top of their Facebook timelines.
Another useful new feature is the ability to filter all Tweets in one seamless timeline. When visitors check out your profile page, they can filter your content by Tweets, Photos/Videos, Following, Followers and Favorites, as well as by Tweets and Replies, which displays conversations visible on your page. The filter menu appears just below the header image.
When a filter is clicked, the Tweets that appear on the timeline refresh based on the filter option selected. This new level of control provides a much easier way for people to navigate Twitter timelines and locate content they find most meaningful.
Improving Your Twitter Strategy
Now that you’re familiar with the new design, here are a few helpful tips for developing a Twitter strategy for your storage business.
Optimize your profile. Take the time to optimize your profile page by including a properly sized picture and an eye-catching and creative header photo or graphic that meets Twitter’s new dimensions. When looking for ideas, it never hurts to check out what the competition is doing. There are also websites that offer free galleries of backgrounds you can use. Don’t forget to include a link back to your website and a detailed and keyword-rich business description.
Set realistic goals. It’s natural for executives and marketers to focus on sales and return on investment, but Twitter is not going to be your No. 1 lead source. In fact, it will be far from it. Instead, think of Twitter as a vehicle for participating in relevant discussions and conversations about the industry. Twitter is about building your brand. This is achieved by interacting with customers as well as other companies, experts and vendors you work with on a regular basis. Center your goals on building a following, actively participating in conversations and engaging your audience. Sales should not be the primary goal.
Build your audience. Audience growth should be an ongoing part of your social media strategy. Here are some strategies on building your Twitter following:
- Take advantage of existing client communication, such as e-mail and in-store signage, to reach your current customer base and promote your presence on Twitter.
- Add a Twitter icon to your website that links to your profile.
- Get your employees involved. Employees, families and friends are a great way to build your following.
- Following other users on Twitter is a great way to gain followers, so don’t forget to follow customers, employees and your business partners.
What’s your opinion of the new Twitter design, and how are you using it to better your business? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Michael Solms is marketing manager for Go Local Interactive, a full-service online-marketing agency committed to helping self-storage operators acquire new customers through the creation and execution of results-based solutions. For more information, visit www.golocalinteractive.com.