Home » OPINION » Columns » TODD SMITH — Twitter rolls out new profile pages, & e-marketing should be part of branding mix

TODD SMITH — Twitter rolls out new profile pages, & e-marketing should be part of branding mix

Todd Smith

Todd Smith

Twitter — which has been on quite a roll lately with the recent announcement that it is offering more than a dozen new ad options to build brands — has now launched a whole new design for profile pages. The platform update allows you to use of a larger profile photo, customize your header, show off your best tweets and more.

Here are the highlights of the new features:

Best Tweets: Tweets that have received more engagement will appear slightly larger, so your best content is easy to find.

Pinned Tweet: Pin one of your Tweets to the top of your page, so it’s easy for your followers to see what you’re all about.

Filtered Tweets: Now you can choose which timeline to view when checking out other profiles. Select from these options: tweets, tweets with photos/videos, or tweets and replies.

The most notable visual difference is the addition of a large image a la Facebook’s cover photo. While the mostly cosmetic changes don’t affect the main Twitter experience — the timeline — they’re a good excuse to freshen up your profile page. Here are some tips to Spring clean your Twitter:

1. Ditch ‘RT ≠ endorsement’.

Plenty of users — many of them journalists — still include this kind of disclaimer in their Twitter bios, but it doesn’t always make sense considering the wide range of ways we use tweets, mixing the professional with the personal with the professional.

AP’s social media guidelines don’t tell reporters to include a disclaimer, and in fact the AP explicitly points out that the disclaimer doesn’t mean reporters should be any less careful about coming across as biased in individual tweets:

“These cautions apply even if you say on your Twitter profile that retweets do not constitute endorsements. Many people who see your tweets and retweets will never look at your Twitter bio,” Eric Carvin, AP social media editor, told the Poynter Institute recently.

“Some AP journalists still choose to put the disclaimer in their Twitter bio, which is harmless enough, as long as they still follow our guidelines,” he said. “But we certainly don’t require it, and I personally prefer to use the limited space in other ways.”

Check with your news organization first, of course, but if you can reclaim some space in your Twitter bio, some of the 160 characters allowed might be better for this next tip.

Related: The problem with retweets & how journalists can solve it (http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/media-lab/social-media/152448/the-problem-with-retweets-how-journalists-can-solve-it/)

2. Include your contact info.

Twitter profiles include fields for name, location, website and bio — but not for your email address or phone number. So many stories run with that information alongside an author’s byline that it seems silly not to make it available on Twitter, too, in the bio field. Adding a field for email or phone in the profile settings — with options for sharing it with just people you follow or with everyone — is one way Twitter could become more like Facebook and not have everyone howling about it.

Brian Stelter, CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host and formerly with The New York Times, has been a proponent of providing contact info on Twitter for potential sources, saying the resulting phone calls are mostly useful. If you’re wary of getting calls from the Twitterverse to a personal or work number, try Google Voice as a social media line.

Related: How accessible do journalists really want to be? (http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/149667/how-accessible-do-journalists-really-want-to-be/)

3. Pin a tweet you want people to see.

The idea of pinning tweets may offend some Twitter purists, but why not take advantage of the new sticky option? Tweets are mostly ephemeral, and this doesn’t really change the core immediacy of the platform. Still, it’s a way to give your best tweets a little extra prominence.

Most of your followers won’t visit your personal page often, but when they do it’s important to control what they see first. Maybe that means pinning your top story at the time if you’re a media outlet, or pinning a feature you’re particularly proud of if you’re an individual journalist. It’s a new way to make sure visitors to your page — even if they’re infrequent — see something useful right away. And that’s certainly not your latest tweet about what you ate for dinner.

44% of Twitter Accounts Have Never Tweeted

Twitter has tons of users, right? Around 974 million, to be a bit more precise. However, just because a person has taken the time to open a Twitter account doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve used it. And according to the latest stats from Twopcharts, a third-party site that monitors Twitter activity, a surprisingly high number of people have done just that: made an account and have never acted!

Just how many? According to the site, approximately 44 percent of Twitter’s 947 million accounts or so have never sent a single tweet. Of the number that have — approximately 550 million — just under half of these accounts are reported to have sent their last tweet more than one year ago (43 percent). Only 126 million have sent any kind of tweet at any point in the past 30 days.

According to Twopcharts’ data, there are approximately 391 million Twitter accounts with 0 followers. And, just over 232 million or so haven’t followed a single user themselves.

This type of social work drives The Spin Cycle crazy – and violates a top rule of the Twittersphere. If you’re not going to swim in the social media pool, don’t dive in!

E-Mail Marketing, E-Newsletters Still Important Part of Marketing Mix

While you can’t focus on e-mail products alone for an integrated marketing campaign — and its unlikely that a company that focuses solely on e-marketing will survive in today’s competitive digital environment — never discount the power of e-mail marketing, and the often mundane e-newsletter.

 “Email continues to be an important part of the marketing mix,” BIA Kelsey analyst Peter Krasilovsky told Adweek recently. The email newsletter still remains a lucrative staple of an online company’s strategy. Krasilovsky said marketers are earmarking more of their budget toward integrated marketing, including promotions and customer loyalty programs – and email newsletter companies stand to get premium dollars for ads.

Part of the reason email remains viable is because it’s native for mobile. The average smartphone user spends nine minutes daily with their e-mails, according to O2/Samsung.

E-mail subscribers can also deliver something that traditional websites and social media struggle with: loyalty.

Andy Russell, co-founder of newsletter InsideHook, argues that newsletters deliver an audience with a high lifetime value. “Every time you touch (readers) on a daily basis, you have an opportunity to renew and grow that deep relationship,” he said.

Still, e-mails must evolve or die; NBCUniversal recently shuttered 14-year-old Daily Candy, an e-newsletter trailblazer, which seemed to have lost its mojo.

Krasilovsky, however, insists that e-mails are a viable medium that won’t go away anytime soon.

And The Spin Cycle is a big believer in using e-marketing and e-news as part of any successful, multi-faceted branding campaign.

Golden Mic | Ford Mustang’s 50th Anniversary PR

It’s hard to believe that the Ford Mustang turns 50 this year, and the vaunted, sporty pony car has been on the fast track to PR gold through the decades.

Last week the blue oval zoomed to new heights — literally — when Ford parked a 2015 Mustang at the top of the Empire State Building. The convertible made it up elevators to the 86th-floor observation deck in six pieces, then was put together entirely overnight – all part of the car’s 50th anniversary celebration. This stunt mimics a similar promotion done in 1965. Back then, the car was smaller and cut into three pieces, plus the windshield. This promotion takes The Spin Cycle back to my youth – the first vehicle I owned was a 1969 candy apple red Mustang convertible that sported a 351 Windsor engine. To say it was the envy of the town was an understatement! For this, and that, the Ford Mustang trots off with The Golden Mic!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising — and those who don’t. Stay tuned — and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand.

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.



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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.


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