Last week, Twitter announced a significant interface redesign. The redesign aims to help users connect further with their followers by providing more interaction activity and encourages users to discover news and similar users. In addition to making the platform more user-friendly, Twitter has introduced an enhanced profile layout that mirrors Facebook-style brand pages. Twitter will be rolling out this redesign over the next few months, but it is currently available on the recently updated versions of mobile.twitter.com, iOS and Android systems. Additionally, TweetDeck (which was recently acquired by Twitter) has already been updated to be consistent with the new Twitter interface. Below is an overview of the features of the new platform and key brand takeaways.

Features

Personal pages will have four new tabs to make the browsing experience more streamlined:

Home: Photos, videos and conversations are now embedded directly in Tweets from those a user wishes to follow so the entire story can be seen at once.

Connect: This new section is where users can get involved in conversations and find out which users have recently followed, mentioned, retweeted or favorited one of your tweets. This is an evolution of the activity tab which was also recently rolled out.

Discover: This new feature allows users to see results that reflect interests – based on location, types of followers and current events. The more active a user is on Twitter, the better Discover is at serving up personalized content. Discover is also the tab to enter a hashtag to discover related stories, conversations and content.

Embedding Tweets: You can now embed a tweet by clicking “Embed this Tweet” from any permalink page in the newly launched Twitter. WordPress and Posterous Spaces have made it easier than ever to embed Tweets. WordPress users can simply copy the tweet URL and WP will instantly turn it into an embedded tweet.

Brand Pages

Twitter’s comprehensive redesign will offer brands a more functional platform for showcasing news and updates to their followers. The enhanced profile pages will prominently feature brand’s most important content and will be completely public – users will be able to view it without joining or logging into Twitter. These pages are currently available to a small selection of brands but will be rolled out more broadly in the coming months.

New Features

There will be an added sense of promotion within new Twitter pages.  Brands will be able to customize their Twitter page to display a banner image. Brands will also have the ability to choose to promote a particular tweet at the top of their timeline.

This form of promoted content will allow brands the opportunity to highlight new and relevant information, especially for those visiting the brand page for the first time. If there is a media link to one of Twitter’s partners in the selected tweet, the tweet will be auto expanded with the media loaded.

This promoted content can be changed as frequently as possible so brands can direct visitors to media from a current campaign, and/or notable real time messaging.

Key Considerations/Implications:

Page layout: Brands should consider the changes affecting page layouts. With the additional bar below the brand’s bio, there is more opportunity to provide content and context for users visiting the page. Brands can consider including a hashtag to promote current programs, images to highlight products and services, and use this as an area to showcase other channels where the brand participates online.

Interactivity: Instead of simply posting tweets limited to 140 characters, brands should focus on sharing more media via Twitter partners so that rich content is directly available on the brand’s Twitter page. This will increase engagement on brand Twitter pages rather than directing users to other websites.

  • Content calendars should be developed with this in mind in order to order to make a brand’s timeline rich with media while not overcrowding the space.
  • Brands can consider including more calls to action to show multiple engagement levels that consumers are having with the brand.

Centralization & Discovery: With these recent changes and updates, it is becoming clear that Twitter wants users to stay on its own properties, including Twitter.com and its mobile apps, rather than individuals using third-party Twitter apps. This will allow Twitter to provide brands more opportunities in the long run for effective marketing tools and analytics, as users grow to see Twitter.com as a place to discover new content as well as view their streams. We can expect more opportunities for brands to develop in the future, especially along its promoted product offerings.

Disclosure: Pepsi is an Edelman client.

Image Credit: ShawnCampbell

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