Social media tools: 6 ways Twitter’s redesign can help build your small-business brand

Tasha Cunningham
Tasha Cunningham
John VanBeekum / Miami Herald

Special to the Miami Herald

Twitter began rolling out a redesign this month that includes features to help brands promote their products and services. Reaction from users and advertisers has been mixed, with many pointing out the obvious similarities to Facebook. While the redesign may borrow elements from Facebook, there are several improvements that make it easier for brands to get their marketing messages to consumers.

Let’s take a look at the new design, what it means and how it can help you build your small-business brand.

Profile page: One of the first things about the new design that users will notice is the larger photo, akin to Facebook’s cover photo, at the top of the profile page. The old background image feature will no longer exist. A profile picture inset is also displayed as part of the new design. A larger photo offers brands the opportunity to use eye-catching images to draw users to their Twitter timeline. Change pictures often to keep your page fresh.

New tweet types: With the new redesign, Twitter has introduced three new types of tweets. First, there are “Best Tweets.” Those are tweets that have the most engagement. They will appear slightly larger on the page, making it easy for your followers to find your best content. Next, there is the “Pinned Tweet” feature. This allows you to pin a tweet to the top of your page so that it stands out from the rest. For a small business, a pinned tweet could be a particular message that promotes and drives traffic to your website. Or, it could be something funny that puts a smile on your followers’ faces. Finally, “Filtered Tweets” gives you the option to choose which timeline you’d like to view when looking at other Twitter profiles. With “Filtered Tweets,” you have three options: You can filter all tweets; just those with photos/videos; or tweets and replies.

Video: Although Twitter users are just beginning to see the new look and feel on their timelines, the redesign effort began in October when the company introduced what it called it “media-forward timelines.” Essentially, media-forward timelines allowed users to view photos and Vine videos directly in their feeds without having to click on a link to open and view them elsewhere.

Photos: If you have ever wished that you could upload more than one picture with a tweet, you will love the redesign. You’ll now be able to create a slideshow of up to four photos to accompany your tweets. You can also tag photos instead of having to do it in the tweet itself. For small businesses, the new slideshow feature is the opportunity to use photos to tell an engaging story about your brands. Whether you’re selling a product or service, use the slideshow to showcase what you have to offer to the consumer.

Emoji symbols: Once available only when using Twitter on mobile, as part of the redesign emoji symbols are going to be available to those using the social media platform on the Web. The Twitter interface has been updated so that users can use emoji symbols in their posts using a desktop as well.

Date-based search options: Twitter has refined the way users are able to use the advanced search feature to find tweets based on date. Using the “Advanced Search” feature, you can find tweets that were posted in the past. Users were always able to search by date, but it was a cumbersome process that required users to enter terms like “since” and “until.” Users can now just type the date with any additional terms needed. For the small-business owner, this feature lets you go back in time and view past user engagement and posts.

For more on the new Twitter redesign and how it can help your business, visit the Miami Herald’s Starting Gate blog.

Tasha Cunningham is a principal in the Cunningham Group, a communications firm with offices in Miami and Orlando. She writes about how small-business owners can leverage social media and other online tools to grow their companies. She can be reached on Twitter @mediaprbranding.

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