Twitter Changes for the New Year

January 23, 2012

Twitter Changes for the New Year

If you’re already utilizing Twitter for social media marketing purposes, you’ve probably noticed some recent changes that have been rolled out for the New Year.  According to Twitter’s head of API, Ryan Sarver, rather than adding more features, the purpose of these recent modifications is simplicity.  Let’s take a moment to examine what these changes are and how your business can get the most out of the new and improved platform.

Simpler Navigation

One of the most obvious changes to Twitter is the site’s navigation, which has been modified to be much simpler and more streamlined.  Whereas before you would have to search several different places to gather information about a user or tweet, with the new platform you can now get everything you need in one place.  Expand a tweet to instantly see the number of retweets, replies and favorites it’s received.  This feature allows you to dive right into an existing conversation without having to do additional digging.  It also provides insight into each tweet’s performance without having to use an outside program.

Another excellent feature of the new navigation is the “who to follow” box, which contains a list of people who are close to your network that you may want to connect with.  Under each user’s name you can view which people in your network are already following them, and narrow down how you are connected.  Not relevant?  No problem, simply click the “x” to remove that person from the list.  It’s a simple way to locate relevant contacts and expand your business network.

Finally, the new “discover” area allows users to conduct much more intelligent searches to locate people, topics, trends and articles with ease.  No more wasting time searching through past tweets – now you can find everything you’re looking for in one easy place.

Brand Pages

While this change isn’t completely rolled out to everyone yet, the new brand pages feature is probably one of the most impactful modifications in terms of using the platform for business.  The enhancements include a customizable banner that stretches below the profile information and the ability to pin or bookmark a tweet to the top of the brand page.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could showcase a special you’re running or select your most popular or impactful tweet and have it readily available any time a new user visited your profile?  With the banner and pin features, you’ll be able to do both.

These changes will provide businesses with a more distinct and customizable branding experience.  Brand pages are expected to become more widely available to users sometime in the first quarter of 2012.

Embeddable Tweets

Another great change that rolled out this month is the ability to embed tweets to include them on your website or blog posts.  This is particularly powerful because it includes a “follow” link right on the embedded tweet, making it simple and much more convenient for your web visitors to connect with you via Twitter.

To use to the embed function, expand the tweet you’d like to embed and click “Details”.  Then choose “embed” to view all the available options for including the tweet in your next blog post.  You can even customize the style of your embedded tweet.  Once you’re satisfied with your changes, simply copy and paste the code into the HTML of your article or blog post.  And remember, embedded tweets you choose don’t always have to be your own.  Consider embedding relevant tweets from other users, or experts on particular subjects to give your articles more credibility.  The possibilities are endless with this new feature.

New and Improved TweetDeck

The most obvious change to TweetDeck is the fact that it’s no longer an Adobe Air app, which makes it significantly faster.  It’s also been more streamlined to look and feel more like Twitter itself.  These changes make the platform much more attractive to mainstream users, rather than the previous audience which was made up primarily of power-users.  Overall the changes have made TweetDeck much easier to use.

New Apps for iPhone and Android

Just as Twitter.com has been revamped to become more streamlined, the Twitter mobile apps have also been given a face lift.  First, the @mentions and news stream have been updated to become much easier to browse and interact with.  What’s particularly helpful is the notification line that appears beneath each icon at the bottom indicating that there are unread updates in one of your streams.  You can also access the “discover” area just as you can on Twitter.com.

In addition to these new features, the updated “home” tab on the mobile apps provides access to all of your direct messages and your twitter lists as well as your saved searches.  There is also the ability to save drafts of tweets for future disbursement and switch between multiple Twitter accounts.

Tips for Getting the Most out of the New Twitter Changes

The goal of the Twitter overhaul was to make its use simpler and more streamlined.  What this means for businesses is improved ways to connect and communicate with customers and potential customers and ultimately expand your overall network.  Here are a few tips on how to maximize your Twitter use with just a few minutes each day:

  • Utilize the “Discover” tab to stay on top of relevant topics and news stories
  • Dedicate at least 5 minutes each day to browsing the “Who to Follow” stream and connect with new users to expand your network
  • Make the most of the “embedded tweets” feature to include useful or informative tweets in other areas of the web
  • Browse the improved Twitter stream to locate relevant tweets and get involved in the conversation

For more information on using Twitter and other social media outlets to market your business, check out our article on Social Marketing & Networking.