Since July last year Twitter has been experimenting with allowing brands to display featured tweets on their profile.
For a while now Twitter has let any user display one chosen tweet at the top of their profile as a pinned tweet. This is a step further, allowing businesses to choose a selection of tweets that appear on their profile before more recent ones. They are not displayed in chronological order, a departure from how all tweets have been displayed to date.
Profiles with featured tweets enabled display the three most recent tweets, followed by a gallery of chosen pictures, then the selected featured tweets before reverting to a stream of all tweets. “Featured” is shown as an additional tab at the top of the page, replacing “Tweets” as the default tab when you visit a profile.
There are good reasons for Twitter experimenting with this. When people go to a company’s social media page it is often because they have a problem or are looking for specific information. Featured tweets make it much easier for companies to display, and consumers to find, that information. It also means it is not going to get lost, only being visible near the top for a short time before being pushed down the timeline by new tweets.
US telecoms company AT&T is one organisation doing this, using the featured pictures in its gallery to direct people to solutions for common problems such as wi-fi connectivity and billing queries.
The potential is not just limited to customer service however, featured tweets could also be used to display content relating to a particular campaign. BT for example is currently showing answers to common questions on its customer service account, whereas it is featuring tweets relating to a Christmas charity fundraising campaign on its corporate account.
This makes it easier for organisations to join up online and traditional campaigning, knowing that if they direct people to their Twitter page to find out more it is going to be simple to find.
Featured tweets do not have to be a company’s own tweets. Any public tweet by any user can be displayed. This creates further options, such as featuring praise from customers. This also makes them useful for company press and news accounts, allowing them to draw attention to media coverage.
Featured tweets have not been officially launched, and Twitter has so far been quiet on if and when we might see them made more widely available. It still shows however that Twitter is thinking about how it can make itself a more powerful platform for business.
It is also interesting to see it experimenting with personalisation of profiles, something that to date has been very limited beyond 140 character biographies and profile and cover photos. It could be a sign of things to come for everyone as Twitter tries to attract new users and keep existing ones engaged.