Despite a user base of nearly 300 million, Twitter announced plans recently to ramp up new account signups, along with a host of other offerings aimed at both individual and business customers. Reporting from Twitter’s first Analyst Day event in November, 2014, Mashable’s Seth Fiegerman said the company “plans to speed up its product development process to ease the onboarding process, broaden content syndication efforts, expand the overall app ecosystem and continue building up ad products.”
Twitter execs have come up with a few different approaches to attract — and keep — new users. They’ve set their sights on lowering the barrier of entry for folks who say they just don’t “get” how the service works. According to the company’s product team, around 125 million people visit the homepage each month but don’t log in or sign up for an account.
The Twitter team also expects to roll out a new real-time video sharing feature and tweak the recommended content algorithm so it serves up trending topics sooner sooner than it currently does.
Brands and businesses need to be ready to roll with new changes as soon as Twitter’s development team rolls them out. Here’s a point-by-point look on how to prep for the changes and improvements on Twitter’s horizon.
So far, Twitter hasn’t said much about how it plans to make a user’s first foray into the Twitterverse easier than it currently is, beyond the promise to preload a new account with a full content stream from the get-go. Now is a great time to start laying the groundwork for potential new followers. Consider creating content exclusively for the platform and incentivize customers to sign up for an account and follow you.
Ask customers to make their first Tweet from their new account to you, then retweet to your followers to help newcomers understand how the process works. Or, run a promo recognizing new Twitter users who follow you. Contests and promotions that encourage people to set up a Twitter account to enter are permissible by the company’s guidelines, as long as you discourage the creation of multiple accounts.
Better search engine juice
Twitter plans to increase the amount of search engine traffic it gets and that means brands are on the hook to make sure their Twitter feeds are Google- and SEO-worthy in case they’re crawled for content.
At first glance, that’s an intimidating thought. SEO is enough of a challenge with a 700-word blog post, how can brands expect to make do with 140 characters. Here’s where hashtags are your best friend. In 2014, Twitter “began letting outside search engines index results from the top 50,000 hashtag searches. That means when people are looking for real-time news on a topic via web or mobile search, they can end up on a Twitter search results page,”reports TechCrunch. If you’re not regularly using hashtags in your Tweets, now’s the time to start. (#But #Don’t #Overdo #It.)
Improved ad options
Expect to see an improved ad campaign launcher aimed at marketers who want a quick way to get ads up and running without spending hours puttering around the standard ad platform. Users will be able to promote popular tweets in a couple of clicks and track engagement right from the analytics dashboard.
If you’re not tracking analytics, you need to get on that right now. How will you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been? Twitter has a free tool for users but there are dozens of free and paid third-party solutions available as well.
New ad cards will also make an appearance to let users create a limitless number of ad formats. Potential card features include polling buttons, click-to-call toggles, or tools that pre-configure information requests based on options chosen by the customer.
Given the popularity of visual content on social media and new media, it’s not surprising Twitter plans to launch a native video feature. The platform already accommodates Vine videos and animated GIFs but word is users will be able to record, edit, and upload longer videos directly into the feed.
Native video ties in nicely to the Promoted Video Twitter is currently testing as a way for brands to tweet videos followers can play with a single click or finger tap. As a nod to the upcoming enhanced video feature, the company has released a guide to promoted video that’s filled with pointers and tips on how to get the most out of your animated imagery.
Image: Garrett Heath