This week, the marketing (and tech) world will watch Twitter founder Jack Dorsey (@Jack) take the stage at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity to accept the prestigious Media Person of the Year award. Like Google (Eric Schmit 2011) and Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg 2010) before them, Twitter (via CEO Dick Costello) has resisted the media company label. But there is no doubt that Twitter is now an established element in most brands’ communication plans. And Twitter is returning the love. Beyond the available ad inventory of Promoted Tweets, Trends and Accounts, here are my favorite brand friendly elements of the platform.
Brands need to choose them wisely and consider how they may be used/abused, but what’s really interesting is that what is essentially an element from the world of code has become a must have for major marketing campaigns. I’d love to see ads for mass market products that are pure tag. Because what the ad would actually be saying is that the brand is not telling you what to think, but simply pointing you to a place where you can see what other people think. And of course have your say. Proof that company is indeed ‘inviting you into the conversation’.
02. PAGES WITH BENEFITS: From the start, brands got the same canvas as any user. 140 characters and a fairly utilitarian page. You could tell a lot about a company by how they dealt with that and much has been written about the need to be have a trained team of community managers that are nimble, real, and speak in the vernacular. But now brands are offered Enhanced Profile Pages. Bigger (aka better) branding space. Ability to pin (aka promote) a specific tweet to the top of the page. While users probably spend even less time on a corporation’s Twitter page than they do on that company’s Facebook page, these added features can help keep key messages on top. To cut clutter on verified accounts (mostly granted to brands, celebrities and influencers) they’ve just announced a toggle function to include or exclude Tweets that begin with an @username. Personally I like the ALL option, but it is clear Twitter is trying to help brands keep the customer service aspect of Twitter from dominating a brand’s feed.
03. TWITTER HEARTS LIVE EVENTS & APPOINTMENT TV: Like Oreos and milk, it is almost impossible to enjoy a major football match or red carpet broadcast without dunking into tweets. Even if you are not on Twitter yourself, the mass media is now addicted to these always on vox pops and will read some to you in-between the play by play. It is a natural organic use of the platform, but also one Twitter Inc. has wisely nurtured. Et voilà: Twitter launches Hashtag Pages, a curated collection of accounts and tweets about that event. Chosing NASCAR as the launch partner (and topic for their first ever tv advert) shows how smart Twitter leadership wants to appeal to the heartland now, not just the cool costal power users. Twitter says Hashtag Pages are for events, not brands. But that could change, especially as we speed toward the Olympics where the event and the sponsors are more mashed up than ever. And isn’t #CannesLions a brand?
Candace Kuss is the Executive Creative Director, Interactive Lab, Hill+Knowlton Strategies and a regular contributor to the H+K UK blog.