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Twitter Is Testing A New Shopping Feature For Customers And Brands

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Recently, Twitter has tested some major new features, including a feature that makes it easier for consumers to shop directly from it.

In its official announcement, Twitter introduced product and place pages, which surface and organise relevant Tweets on dedicated pages on the social network. These pages display images and video about the product or place in addition to information like description, price and an option to buy, book or visit the website for more information.

Twitter provides an example page for the book “The Martian,” which displays images and a description right above a list of relevant Tweets from accounts the user follows, news updates and popular content about the book (see above image). It is important to note, however, that Twitter is just beginning to experiment with a small number of products and places. As the social network begins testing this feature users may see pages and collections of pages within their timelines that are shared by influencers and brands.

In addition to product and place pages, Twitter also unveiled collection pages. Basically, it lets Twitter users and brands can create and share collections of products and places. For its testing phase, Twitter put together a group of curators to share collections of some of their favorite places and things, including Demi Lovato, Nike, Target and Reese Witherspoon. That said, the social network notes it plans to expand its list of curators over time.

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Moreover, Twitter users can visit the profiles of curators to view collections. Apple users can also find collections by tapping the search bar and then selecting from the category-based menu beneath it. Twitter also announced that it will begin testing even more new experiences in the coming months to deliver further personalized and relevant information about the places and things that people want to explore.

“Every month, millions of people Tweet about what they love: products they buy, places they visit, books they’re reading or vacations they’re planning. But it can be challenging to find and engage with the most relevant Tweets, images and videos about products and places when you’re looking for them. So today we’re beginning to test two ways to make it easier for you to discover rich and relevant content about products and places on Twitter.”

Here are some of the initial partners on the launching:

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Twitter News: Now You Can Send More Than 140-Characters On Your DM

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With social media taking center stage in consumers’ digital lives, many companies have turned to the medium to better connect and engage with them.

Twitter has recently made an official announcement that they are removing the 140-character limit from Direct Messages.

Revealed for the first time on the Twitter Developers forum, the popular social network announced that starting in July 2015 direct messages will have a 10,000-character limit. To help businesses that leverage Twitter to engage with their consumers, it has released a couple new API updates that were created in order to help businesses update their code in order to retrieve the new, longer messages.

It should be noted that in the announcement Twitter stated that the removal of the character limit on direct messages will not affect public tweets.

The move doesn’t remove Twitter’s design choice of constraining tweets to 140 characters — only direct messages. “It’s a beautiful constraint that has inspired a whole new form of writing,” Twitter investor Chris Sacca wrote in a long blog post earlier this month about what Twitter can do to improve. Sacca did not say he had a problem with the 140-character cap on DMs, and that’s what’s changing.

Direct messages in other social networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn, don’t have length limits. Still, Twitter’s affinity for the 140-character limit goes back to its earliest days, when the microblogging service sent tweets in text messages.

Is Hashtag Still Relevant For Today’s Audiences?

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It was not that long ago that Twitter and Facebook experts stated using hashtags as a crucial element in high-performing social media updates.

Well, it seems that now you can pretty much ignore the statement out the virtual window. Recently, Twitter released a study focused on direct response ads, which are intended to drive a specific result, like an app install or a website visit. The study suggested that when these ads included a hashtag or mentioned another account, they didn’t perform well.

For instance, when you are trying to drive visitors to your website, a tweet that doesn’t include a # or @ mention will generate 23 percent more clicks. When the tweet is focused on driving an app install, forgoing a # or @ mention increases clicks by 11%.

What the Twitter study reveals is that these “clickable” parts of a tweet distract people from taking the action the advertisers want. While this is really about getting the most activity from these direct response ads, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here.

“If you’re trying to join a conversation, you should absolutely use a hashtag. But for driving for a specific click that you’re looking for off Twitter, the less noise that you put in between [the better]” said Anne Mercogliano, the head of SMB marketing at Twitter

To most of us however, what the study really shows is that Twitter can’t even define the best practices for using Twitter. That’s not just a problem for social media marketers, but for everyone else (investors included) too.

Dick Costolo Has Resigned From Its Position As Twitter’s CEO

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Dick Costolo has decided to gave up his position as Twitter’s CEO.

The giant microblogging site has announced that Dick Costolo will step down, with co-founder Jack Dorsey to step in as ‘temporary’ CEO start from July 1. However, Costolo, who’d been under increasing pressure after weaker than expected Q1 numbers, will remain on Twitter’s Board of Directors.

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In its official announcement, Twitter noted that they will use a ‘Search Committee’, which will include co-founder Evan Williams, to conduct a global search for their next CEO.

The Wind of Change

The decisive move comes at an interesting time for Twitter. The company has struggled to capitalise its potential abilities in recent times, with audience growth and revenue both slowing more than anticipated. While the purchase of apps like Periscope and a new deal with Google look to have the social network well placed to capitalise on future opportunities, many industry experts and investors have expressed their concerns and questioned whether Costolo is the right man to lead them to the next phase.

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From a user perspective, the most important thing is how this announcement will change the overall Twitter experience. If Twitter were to take various advices on how it supposed to work on board, it may move to a system that highlights popular tweets from users are most likely to be interested in, which sounds more akin to a Facebook News Feed-type algorithm, showing you not everything, but what the system deems as most important. This has been the cause of much frustration at Facebook, restricting the reach of posts and picking and choosing who sees what and when – altering the functionality in a similar way on Twitter could have a significant impact on user experience.

Monetisation Frustration

Finally, there is also the monetisation factor. While Twitter recorded a 74% increase on year-over-year revenue on their most recent report, the final figures still failed to reach their own guidance. One of the bigger concern has been the failure of the company’s Direct Response ad units, with these particular ad units not performing as well as expected. The company was forced to alter how they charged for them, which subsequently reduced the returns they were able to generate. Twitter has been working to improve the performance of these ads, launching a new guide this week to help advertisers improve overall performance, but really, the struggles of Direct Response ads are indicative of the company’s on-going struggles with ad related revenue and those struggles relate back to slowing user growth.

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Without user growth, Twitter’s potential as an advertising platform diminishes – already Instagram has passed Twitter in total audience, and Snapchat is coming up close behind.

The Google Question

Twitter’s recently announced deal with Google, bringing real-time tweets into Google search, is a big one and one which looks set to deliver good returns in future. However, it also raised another question: would Google consider buying Twitter? Many investors see this as a good match, and it could be an avenue the company looks at under new leadership. If that were to happen, that would be a significant shift in the tech landscape, the second biggest acquisition in tech history. Buying Twitter would give Google an engaged social network, something they have not been able to build themselves, which would help them fend off growing competition from Facebook, particularly as more people refer to social for search queries.

Twitter On the Rise

As part of the Costolo announcement, the company also reaffirmed its outlook for the second quarter of 2015, with revenue expected to be in the range of $470 million to $485 million and adjusted its EBITDA to be in the range of $97 million to $102 million. Twitter shares rose 7.4% in after hours trading on the back of the Costolo announcement, highlighting increased positivity surrounding the move.

Plus, Twitter also highlighted its ongoing efforts to evolve, announcing they will remove the 140-character limit on DMs just hours after the news of Costolo’s departure. Above all else, it’s clear that we’re in for some major changes at Twitter HQ, changes that will have a major impact on the wider social landscape moving forward.

10 Amazing Twitter Bios You Need To Follow

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Twitter is a good medium for promoting your business. There are many ways you can customize your Twitter profiles to attract visitors and persuade them to hit the “Follow” button.

One of the most important elements on Twitter (and was often neglected) is the bio section. Most of the times, Twitter users look at the bio section specifically before making the decision whether or not to follow a brand’s Twitter account. The bio section can also serves as a place to highlight marketing or customers service initiatives.

Sadly, most brands are not using this section to its full advantage. They have no idea on how to maximise Twitter bio’s functionality. Here some great ideas from the following ten terrific Twitter bios.

1. Adweek

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Adweek lets visitors know exactly its specialty with a short and to-the-point description in its bio. Moreover, the company utilises its bio space to promote its weekly chat initiative and associated hashtag (#AdweekChat).

2. American Eagle

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American Eagle promotes user-generated content in its bio. The company does this by including a branded hashtag (#AEOSTYLE) for customers to use in order to be featured on American Eagle’s blog. It also includes its terms of use in its bio with a shortened link.

3. BarkBox

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Barkbox accurately describe its business in its bio. The company also lets visitors know that it gives back to the community by giving 10% of profits to animal rescues.

4. Newser

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Newser’s Twitter bio is terrific because it gets straight to the point by letting visitors know exactly what type of content they can expect by following the brand.

5. Nordstrom

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Nordstrom makes it simple for anyone to call its service representative by including customer service number directly within its bio. A classy move, indeed.

6. RedEye Chicago

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RedEye Chicago does a good job at describing what it actually does and the content it covers with its brief bio section. What really stands out, however, is that the company promotes its iPad publication with a shortened link as well as its Facebook presence.

7. Rockit Burger Bar

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Rocket Burger Bar’s bio section is maximised to reach out local customers. The company features an informative description as well as its address and links to the handles of local sister restaurants.

8. Salesforce

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Salesforce’s bio section is created to highlight what type of content the company tweets. What really stands out, however, is that the company features the days and hours when it has employees active to answer questions or comments on the social network.

9. The Onion

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The Onion’s bio section incorporates one of its other social media presences – its YouTube channel – along with a shortened link.

10. Volkswagen USA

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The Germany-based car company uses its bio to clearly state that this is the official account for the company’s USA customers. In addition, Volkswagen encourages anyone who needs assistance with their VW vehicle to use the hashtag #VWCares in their tweets for assistance. Finally, Volkswagen includes a link to its terms of service in its bio.

Google Mobile Search Now Covers People’s Tweets

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Recently, Google has released an official announcement that it is now displaying Tweets in mobile searches.

Google search update is updating gradually, first on its app and then on mobile browsers. Along with the latest update, real-time content from Twitter will be displayed directly in the search results. So now when you’re searching on the Google app or any browser on your phone or tablet, you can find real-time content from Twitter right in the search results.

Whether you’re interested in the latest from Taylor Swift, news about the #MadMenFinale, or updates on the NBA playoffs, you’ll have access to it directly from Google. Let’s use NASA as an example—just ask the Google app about “NASA Twitter,” and in the search results, you’ll see Tweets from @NASA:

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According to Google representative, this update provides a great way for users to get timely information about a specific topic. Moreover, it provides brands and organisations with a new way to reach a global audience with relevant content. It is important to note, however, that the update is rolling out in English first, with more languages expected in the future.

Google also says that it is still working to bring the update on the desktops as well.

Twitter Has Released The New Display For Its Search Result Page

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Twitter is rolling out a new search results page on the website, which features a cleaner interface that makes it easier for users to discover content.

The microblogging service company began testing the new search result layout back in April, which features a menu bar at the top of the page that enables users to filter search results for top content, real-time tweets, accounts, images and videos.

On the other side, users can leverage the “more options” tab on the menu bar to refine results even further, with options like “from everyone,” “from everywhere,” “news” and “advanced search.”

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It is important to note that the search landing page and default “top” filter showcase a variety of content to make the discovery process easier. This content including tweets, accounts and images associated with the search term. Moreover, Twitter now highlights the search term in a bold color (which varies based on each users’ settings) at the very top of the page.

Twitter “Trends” Will Have Short Explanation On The Mobile Version

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Twitter has revamped its Trends feature, making it easier to understand for the new users.

While there are certainly best experts and influencers to be followed on Twitter, what will ultimately be trending on Twitter is almost anyone’s guess. From latest gadgets, viral stories to numerous news items, Twitter users can make a topic trending quickly. After all, thousands of Tweets are sent every second on Twitter.

Recently, Twitter’s “Trends” feature has long been a place where users can take a quick glance to see which breaking news, entertainment or social movements items are most popular. The Trends, however, are almost always open for interpretation, because they are not self-explanatory. For instance, not many people are familiar with the trend #NYFW. With Twitter’s new updates to the trends experience on mobile devices, users will get more context regarding each trend, like a description making it clear #NYFW is New York Fashion Week.

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The new trends experience may also include how many Tweets have been sent and whether a topic is trending up or down (like in the example below). What’s more, Twitter is moving trends to the search page and retiring #discover and activity for all iOS and Android users.

Twitter Has Updated Its Direct Messages Policy, Enabling Users To Receive DMs From Anyone

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Twitter has updated its Direct Messaging feature, enabling users to begin receiving Direct Messages (DMs) from anyone.

Previously DMs could only be sent to accounts that were following each other. With the new update, however, DMs can be sent to anyone (regardless of affiliation or lack of affiliation). For users that are fearful this new update will bring a bunch of spam to their Twitter inbox, it is important to point out that the social network requires users to change their settings before they are able to receive a DM from anyone.

Moreover, users who change their DM settings to receive messages from anyone still have the ability to block people.

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“We hope these changes help you connect more easily – and directly – on Twitter with the people, causes and businesses you care about most,” says Twitter in its latest blog post.

Twitter’s update has begun rolling out across the globe, even on mobile devices. In fact, users will see a new DM button on profile pages (see image) on Android and iPhones when they are able to send a DM to someone.

Twitter: “No More Firehose For You!”

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In a following move when the time Twitter cut off third-party app developers, the biggest microblogging social media company has decided to take back control of who has access its its real-time tweet data which known as the firehose.

The real-time firehose data was previously made available to three authorized third-party resellers including Gnip (which Twitter acquired last year), Datasift and NTT Data. However, starting in August of this year, Twitter will keep all of its data customers to its own platform and customers will need to pay Twitter directly for access.

According to DataSift’s representative, Nick Halstead, the move won’t bring negative impact his company, thanks to a recent deal with Facebook, as well as the brand’s focus on extending its reach into business-owned data. On the other hand, it could damage the Twitter ecosystem.

While Halstead seems confident, it’s hard to see how Twitter’s move won’t cause an impact towards the company. Datasift currently powers an ecosystem of 1,000 companies on its own using (in part) the Twitter firehose data, enterprises and marketing agencies who embed it into commercial applications that they then resell. The “customers of our customers” span into tens of thousands and “not only benefit those brands, but also the social networks themselves.”

“Twitter also demonstrated that it doesn’t understand the basic rules of this market: social networks make money from engagement and advertising,” said Halstead.

Revenue from data should be a secondary concern to distribution and it should occur only in a privacy-safe way. Better understanding of their audiences means more engagement and more ad spend from brands. After all, more noise equals less ad spend.