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5 Tips for Brands to Get the Most Out of Twitter’s Latest Update

As you have likely already seen, Twitter began implementing a new design this week that has a major impact both on the interface and functionality of the site. The new look shares many similarities with Facebook and focuses more on improving the overall user experience while making it easier to navigate and filter through tweets.

The most visible area of the latest Twitter upgrade are the changes to profile and cover images. The new cover photo spans the entire header of the profile page and replaces the background image used in the previous version of Twitter. The look is very clean and offers users the ability to focus on a single image for their profile page. In addition, users profile images are larger making it easier to see the individual.

From a functional perspective, Twitter has also introduced new functionality to improve the user experience by focusing on the most important content. The three areas with the biggest functional impact are:

  • "Best Tweets": This feature is interesting because it will help profile visitors sort through the noise of Twitter profiles by highlighting the tweets that have generated the most engagement. Content with the highest engagement will appear with larger text, making it easier for users to find and engage with.

weezer best tweet - new layout

  • "Pinned Tweets": I really like this feature because it offers a lot of potential for brands as well as individual users (more on this below in the tips section). This gives you the ability to “Pin” of feature one of your tweets at the top of your profile stream so visitors to your profile see it immediately.

Example of a Pinned Tweet from @channingtatum

  • Filtered Tweets: This is another cool feature that improves the overall user interface and makes it more user friendly. Twitter now gives visitors the option of choosing which timeline to view when checking out profiles. Users can select: a basic Twitter stream, a stream of only photos and videos, or tweets and replies.

  twitter filtering

photo list

  • Finally, the new follower & following list: Twitter has made the following/followers lists much more graphically orientated. You can now go visually see who is following a profile and who they are followers of through an easy to understand graphical interface.

New Following/Follower List View

Latest Mobile Functionality

In addition to the upgrades made this week on, Twitter has also rolled out some significant upgrades to their mobile interface for photo sharing. The new functionality has made the Twitter mobile client more dynamic for photos and includes:

  • Support for tagging up to 10 people in a photo – without impacting the 140 character limitThrough the mobile interface you can now tag photos with up to 10 individuals and the best part is the number of individuals tagged in a photo does not impact the 140 character limit. Twitter’s blog offers the instructions below:

Photo Tagging on Twitter

  • Share Multiple Photos in a Single Tweet Twitter has implemented the ability to add multiple (up to four) photos to a single tweet. This features automatically creates a collage that visitor can scroll through as they view the tweet. Below is an example showing the four photos and the lightbox that appears for the gallery.

Sharing Multiple Photos on Twitter

Tips for Brands Looking to Leverage the New Functionality

Twitter will begin rolling out the new change to Profile Pages to users over the next few weeks. In the meantime, it’s a good time for brands to begin thinking about how they will leverage this new functionality. Here are some tips to help get you started:

  1. Plan Your New Profile and Cover Images: There is no better time than now to begin designing and developing your new cover photo and profile image to meet the new Twitter requirements. Twitter recommends dimensions for header photo of 1500px in width × 500px in height.
  2. Offer Specials with Pinned Tweets: You now have the opportunity to feature a specific tweet a the top of your profile page to let new visitors get a better sense of who you are and what your profile is all about. One thing for brands to consider is featuring a tweet that offers an exclusive piece of content to visitors. For example, feature a tweet that offers a white paper, eBook or Infographic to help get visitors engaged.
  3. Use the Mobile Features for Photo Sharing: Tagging multiple people and posting multiple photos is a great way for brands to better engage with their audience. Consider posting multiple photos that illustrate a story or message to your audience and tag individuals that you think would appreciate the message.
  4. Larger Profile Image: The larger profile image on the new version of Twitter gives users more real estate to set the tone of their page. Consider changing profile photos on an ongoing basis to help keep users coming back.
  5. Make your Photos Count: This new version of Twitter places a deep emphasis on photos and video. Publish photos that are bold and catch peoples attention. This will help to increase engagement when visitors choose to filter your tweets using the photo/video filter.

Finally, brands can expect to see more changes from Twitter in the not-so-distant future. Just last week,Vivian Schiller, Twitter’s head of new partnerships shook the “twitterverse” by suggesting that hashtags and @replies are “arcane” and could possible be a thing of the past. When asked to clarify the remarks, Twitter representatives had this to say: “By bringing the content of Twitter forward and pushing the scaffolding of the language of Twitter to the background, we can increase high-quality interactions and make it more likely that new or casual users will find this service as indispensable as our existing core users do. And we took initial steps in that direction with the introduction of media forward timelines and in-line social actions in October, and we’re already starting to see early signs that those initiatives are working well.”

What do you think about the new changes to twitter? Are you, or your brand, looking forward to them?

Twitter Tips for Authors

Twitter is an amazing tool to brand yourself as author and connect with your readers and fellow authors. Twitter can play a big role in your Author-Marketing Strategy if used correctly. 
It is not an exclusive “free advertising tool” for self-promoters as some people are using it and driving their followers ‘nuts.’

We collected some great Tips for Twitter Starters and Twitter Veterans as well.

Getting Started with Twitter (for Authors)

- Be Yourself - Not Your Book
Present yourself as person and not as your book. It might seem a great idea to take the book title as Twitter name - but what are going to do when writing your second book. You would need to open a second account for this book, the third book, etc.
Followers are also more likely talking to a person than a book.

- Choose your Author-Name as Twitter-handle
To brand yourself as author choose your author-name as Twitter handle. If it is not available anymore extend it with ‘Author’, ‘Writer’ or a underscore ‘First_Last’.

- Provide a Bio, a Photo and an ‘URL’ (website-address)
Take your time to draft a good sentence for your Bio. Nothing too crazy, too fancy - just a great line so followers have an idea who you are or what you write. A photo is a must but if you like to keep your anonymity you can use a cartoon-ish picture or a manipulated picture of yourself. Don’t use your book as profile picture. (Followers get the impression that you ‘only’ want to sell your book).
The URL could be to your blog, your Facebook page, or other social media sites where followers can learn more about you. Don’t use your book link at Amazon. (Same reason as with the picture - new followers won’t buy your book anyway. They might do later when knowing more about you.)

- Tweet-Out some Tweets before start following others
Post your first tweets even if you have no followers. Your new followers will read them soon. 

Getting Followers on Twitter (for Authors)

- Time to get active on Twitter - Who to follow?
Start following your first Tweeps (Twitter Users). Follow only Tweeps you are interested in. They might be fellow authors, readers, book bloggers, book sites, news sites, people with the same hobbies you share, etc. Follow Tweeps who are posting (by your definition) interesting tweets or have an interesting Bio or are people you know.

- Do not follow everybody you see on Twitter
At first, you are limited to 2,000 people to follow. So, choose your Tweeps as described before. Once you have 2,000 followers yourself you can follow more Tweeps. 

- It’s all about Quality
If one of your goals is to brand yourself as author and build your own Twitter community where you discuss topics you’re interested in - the more it is important to have quality followers and not just thousands of followers who give you every morning a quote of the day, do the ‘follow you, follow me game’, or are just tweeting out their links to their eBay, Amazon, or other e-commerce sites. It sounds great to have 100,000 followers but these before mentioned users will never communicate with you or have even a look at your tweets.

What to tweet and not to tweet (for Authors)

- Do not sell your book!
Nothing annoys your followers more then asking them “Please buy my book”, “Please, read my book”, “Now only 99 cents” etc. Followers are quickly annoyed and will call this ‘shameless’ self-promotion. And you might think the same when reading only these kinds of tweets from people you are following and might decide to not follow these Tweeps anymore.

- Make yourself as Author interesting
Tweet about your writing and the progress of your new book project. Having received an amazing review, award, etc. Share the publishing process, provide tips for others. Share sale success etc. If you make yourself/your book interesting enough  your followers will probably investigate and buying your book and/or reviewing your book. (soft sale)
Let your followers know if your book has been featured, or you’ve done an Interview or a guest-post. Let them know about reading or signings, how to get freebies, etc.

- Get involved in discussions
You’re seeing your followers discussing interesting topics - get involved. Or ask a question to start a conversation.

- Re-tweeting
If you see interesting or helpful tweets from others you’d like to share - RT (Re-Tweet) it to your followers. This helps interesting posts to get a wider audience. Your followers will RT your Tweets as well if they are interesting for them. Don’t ask for RT’s - your followers will re-tweet your tweets if your posts are good (interesting, helpful) enough for a RT. 

- Using Hashtags (#)
Use Hashtags - so Tweeps who search for for a category or genre can easier find your tweets, like #thriller #para #ya #WritingTip etc. Don’t overuse them - else tweets can be more difficult to read with to many hashtags.

- Build relationships with other writers 
“Thanks for the RT” doesn’t exactly build relationships. If someone retweets your tweet or mentions you, take the extra two minutes to check out their Twitter profile, see what they write, and comment on it in a tweet with a ‘Thank you’ included.
Fellow writers are mostly also readers and are great to have relationships with to share tweets, writing tips, found a beta reader group, etc. Do NOT use these relationships trying to sell them your books. (This can be seen a lot on Twitter)

Even more Quick Twitter Tips (not only for Authors)

- Be honest. Have fun. Don’t try to sell anything.

- Twitter about stuff that has to do with your blog, but also Twitter stuff that has nothing to do with your blog.

- Share links, share ideas, ask questions, answer questions — anything but “what are you doing?” unless it’s really interesting

- Write each word like it matters, because it does.

- Respect the people you follow. Be interesting. Listen first, tweet second. Don’t waste words.

- Don’t follow more people than you can handle. If you’ve got too much going on, you miss a lot of the good stuff.

- Stop thinking that twitter is pointless and just try it. It’s all about community, reach out and be a part of it.

- Send out interesting, funny, resourceful and insightful tweets and this will earn you more followers.

- Tweet often and experiment with different times of day and night, weekday/weekend. You never know who is ready to surf Twitter.

- Make tweeting a two-way dialogue. Comment/respond to the tweets of others. It’s OK to push out links to your latest blog entry but don’t overly sell anything in your tweet.

- Better to be friendly and positive than negative and critical in your Tweets

-Feel free to comment on current events, hot trends, news, cool individuals, relevant issues, unique ideas, and things you find of value.

- Remember
Talk, don’t sell. Twitter is not a marketplace - it’s more like a community room. Pull up a chair and make friends.

Twitter Glossary (Excerpt)
(Find the official Twitter Glossary here

The @ sign is used to call out usernames in Tweets, like this: Hello @Twitter! When a username is preceded by the @ sign, it becomes a link to a Twitter profile.

A short personal description of 160 characters or fewer used to define who you are on Twitter.

The Connect tab lets you view interactions, mentions, recent follows and Retweets. Using the Connect tab you’re able to view who has favorited or retweeted your Tweets, who has recently followed you, and all of your @replies and @mentions.

DM = Direct Message
Also called a DM and most recently called simply a “message,” these Tweets are private between the sender and recipient. Tweets sent over SMS become DMs when they begin with “d username” to specify who the message is for.

#FF stands for “Follow Friday.” Twitter users often suggest who others should follow on Fridays by tweeting with the hashtag #FF.

A follower is another Twitter user who has followed you.

Your following number reflects the quantity of other Twitter users you have chosen to follow on the site.

A user’s “Twitter handle” is the username they have selected and the accompanying URL, like so:

Curated groups of other Twitter users. Used to tie specific individuals into a group on your Twitter account.

Similar to RT, an abbreviation for “Modified Tweet.” Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message with modifications, for example shortening a Tweet. 

Mentioning another user in your Tweet by including the @ sign followed directly by their username is called a “mention”. Also refers to Tweets in which your username was included. 

A Twitter page displaying information about a user, as well as all the Tweets they have posted from their account

A Tweet posted in reply to another user’s message, usually posted by clicking the “reply” button next to their Tweet in your timeline. Always begins with @username.

Retweet (RT)
A Tweet by another user, forwarded to you by someone you follow. Often used to spread news or share valuable findings on Twitter.

Abbreviated version of “retweet.” Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message.

Tweet (noun)
A message posted via Twitter containing 140 characters or fewer.

Twitterer (offcial Twitter User - others say Tweep)
An account holder on Twitter who posts and reads Tweets. Also known as “Twitter user”

URL Shortener
URL shorteners are used to turn long URLs into shorter URLs. Shortening services can be found online.