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Posts Tagged ‘brands on twitter’

Twitter Launching "Twitter Business Center" Toolkit For Brands

Currently only available to a small, hand-picked group of users, Twitter’s new Business Center will provide a range of powerful tools to businesses and brands on the network, including:

  • Customisation of your business profile page
  • Adding a “verified account” badge to your profile
  • Extra preferences, including being able to receive direct messages from customers that you are not following
  • Account management tools that will allow multiple employees to easily tweet from one profile (and be credited accordingly)

The part in bold is pretty huge. This allows companies to appease customers by allowing two-way, private communication, whilst also maintaining a clean Twitter feed, something that hasn’t been possible before. Prior to this toolkit, brands were forced to either follow everybody back, and suffer the consequences, or they (rightly) put their focus on signal-over-noise, and risked crapping all over any future sales.

Once Business Center goes live, expect a ton of mass-unfollowing from corporate accounts.

It’s unclear how this verification process works, but one imagines (and hopes) that it won’t be as simple as ticking a box.

As said, this toolkit is slowly rolling out, and is highly unlikely to appear on everybody’s screen, with the focus very much on additional functionality for brands, not individuals.

Still, if you’re a business user on Twitter – and, perhaps more importantly, Twitter is aware of this – keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

(See more at Mashable.)

Twitter Introduces ‘Suggestions’ (i.e., The Same Old SUL With A Different Coat Of Paint)

Twitter’s Suggested Users List (SUL) was a controversial and in my opinion poorly-implemented feature that provided newcomers to the platform with a selection of recommendations for them to follow when they first signed up. The idea of introducing first-time users to the concept of following was a good one; where the SUL failed was in gifting a privileged few hundreds of thousands of free followers which were then easily translated into a significant increase in status, web traffic and (by default) advertising revenue.

Yesterday on their official blog, Twitter announced the launch of Suggestions, which they are touting as a superior replacement for the SUL.

In his pitch for Suggestions, Twitter product manager Josh Elman writes:

“We’ve found that the power of suggestion can be a great thing to help people get started, but it’s important that we suggest things relevant to them. We’ve created a number of algorithms to identify users across a variety of clusters who tweet actively and are engaged with their audiences. These new algorithms help us group these active users into lists of users by interests. Rather than suggesting a random set of 20 users for a new user to follow, now we let users browse into the areas they are interested in and choose who they want to follow from these lists. These lists will be refreshed frequently as the algorithms identify new users who should be suggested in these lists and some that are not as engaging to new users will be removed.”

Which is all well and good. Except, when you look at it closely, and with one exception, it’s really just the same SUL it always was. The only major difference is the same suggested users we had previously have now been categorised.

Twitter Introduces 'Suggestions' (i.e., The Same Old SUL With A Different Coat Of Paint)

Browse the Suggestions page here. The first tab (‘Browse Suggestions’) is where you’ll find the SUL, except they’ve now made things easier for you by tagging everybody in one of twenty different categories.

(New users see this.)

So, for example, when you click on Entertainment, you’ll see a list of the same celebrities and entertainment brands that have always been on the suggested user list.

Twitter Introduces 'Suggestions' (i.e., The Same Old SUL With A Different Coat Of Paint)

Likewise for all the other nineteen categories, too, which includes Staff Picks and Staff Picks For Haiti. Elman writes that these differ from the other categories in that those listed inside are manually selected, but as you would expect, it’s not quite clear how these entries are determined. Highlighting a good cause is a nice idea, but Twitter’s lack of transparency in everything it does is becoming a little tiresome.

What is curious is how some of these people are verified users, and some are not. There’s always been a clear USA-bias towards the verification of accounts on Twitter, but why Anthony Edwards gets the stamp of approval and Roger Ebert does not, yet both qualify as recommendations, is something only God/Biz Stone knows.

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Hey, Brands On Twitter: What Happens To Their Work Account When Your Star Employee Quits?

You’re a huge, global brand, and you’re on Twitter. You have lots of support employees on the network, and sensibly you’ve each allocated them a @name_company or @company_name username (i.e., ASOS_james). You have a unit working under your name, and they’re doing good things.

One of your employees becomes the real star of the team, and gets tens of thousands of followers over many months, offering fantastic support and just enough personality to be a hit. He starts getting a lot of attention.

Then one day, suddenly, he quits.

What now?

Some things to consider:

  1. Do you allow him to announce in his (current) Twitter account that he’s moving to another company, even if it’s a rival?
  2. Do you let another employee take over the account? And do you do this on the sly, or do you make it public knowledge?
  3. Do you rename the account, allocating it to another employee? What about those 50,000 followers – how are they going to react knowing their superstar is no longer in charge?
  4. Do you let the person running the account rename it, and take it over, doing with it as they will?
  5. Or do you just close the account? What about all those cases they solved, and help they gave? There’s a history there.

This is going to be a big deal in the future. I can see lawyers getting involved deciding who really ‘owns’ the tweets on employee accounts – or even the account itself. Yes, you’re tweeting on company time using company resources, but it’s your personality that’s made that account a success. It’s you that nurtured those followers, and it’s you that turned them into clients. When star salespeople leave companies, they often take clients with them. Indeed, their clients want to go. Why should it be any different on Twitter?

If you’re an individual like Jeremiah Owyang that moves his essentially personal account between companies, then it’s less of a problem. Owyang is the account. He takes it with him when he leaves. This perhaps seems like the right way forward, but it’s not necessarily best practice for companies to let employees use their personal accounts for work (and vice versa). And both lose the advantages of being associated with the brand name.

It becomes significantly less clear about what is the right thing to do – in both the contractual and ethical sense – if somebody becomes a superstar on Twitter using their work-only account, and then leaves. By association, the company becomes a superstar, too, particularly if the individual is being applauded for great support, and the ramifications of what happens when he or she quits (or, daresay, is fired) are considerable.

And as such, it might be worth thinking about the inevitability of that future now, as opposed to when it actually happens. Because believe me, it will.

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