This week it has been widely reported that Twitter is ‘considering’ creating Facebook-style branded pages as part of its drive to create ad-revenues.
Apparently branded pages, will allow advertisers to deliver tailored messages as the social network strives to monetise what has already become a maketing phenomenom. According to Marketing Magazine, the pages would work in a similar way to Facebook Pages, providing brands with their own space to deliver content and encourage Twitter users to follow them.
What do you think?
Here we’ve rounded up various industry professionals from brands and agencies to give up their top line thoughts on this power move.
Connie Bensen, director of social media and community strategy at Alterian:
It makes me wonder if the brands that have a strong interest in this understand that the value of Twitter is based on the content stream. Consumers presently utilize the Twitter profile page to decide if one should follow that user. One rarely views it in the future. Why would one visit a Twitter brand page?
I question how a brand will realize an ROI from investing in the Twitter Brand Page. I see two challenges in this respect:
1. Twitter is stream based & brands that are successful engage with individuals on a one to one basis. Brands that view Twitter as a place to broadcast messages through their Twitter handle or on their ‘page’ are going to need to provide compelling content in order for people to be interested. It will also need to be interactive to align with the reasons people use Twitter. If the brand pages and their content are irritating to the Twitter community then users will ignore them and apps will be created to tune them out. There is also potential for brand damage to occur.
2. They are mimicking the Facebook model of a brand page, but does that in itself provide value? One agency http://brandglue.com/news-feed-optimization/ estimates that 96% of fans never revisit after the initial ‘Like’.
Consumers want to be engaged. Twitter needs revenue streams, but they also need to understand the basis of what makes Twitter so successful.
Follow Alterian here.
Simon Spaull, Chief Development Officer, TBG Digital:
It’s not a surprise that Twitter is looking to offer brands Facebook-style pages. Facebook’s dominance in the social media space naturally means other operators like Twitter will want to incorporate similar services or features in order to increase long term revenue potential.
Our view is that Facebook-type Twitter pages that support tailored advertising is not an unrealistic proposition. Twitter has its own appeal and attributes but as with any business Twitter will want to evolve its offerings in a way that appeals to brands and creates new revenue streams. While brands will inevitably be keen to further understand how they can use new features such as tailored advertising to reach audiences more effectively within the Twitter environment, the evolution of Twitter services isn’t about creating ‘me too’ features but looking to identify avenues to evolve and monetise the social network experience.
Follow TBG here:
Elliot Reuben, digital planner at archibald ingall stretton:
Twitter and Facebook are very different beasts, so I don’t think “brand pages” will necessarily be that similar. Facebook pages tend to be rich in content and are a destination in themselves. But on Twitter, brands would do well to remember that people rarely care about the design of a user’s page, only the content of their tweetstream. You look at what someone is tweeting when choosing to follow them rather than how well-designed or attractive their profile is.
If the equivalent of a Facebook “Like” is a Twitter “Follow” then engaging with a brand on Twitter means engaging with that brand in conversation. If brands just ‘spam’ their followers with one-way CTAs then they will doubtless fail; the nature of Twitter means that their page / stream should be about conversation with their followers. Mixing your CTAs with conversation & feedback – real engagement – is always the opportunity on Twitter.
Additionally, tweets last a few seconds whilst Facebook pages are constant presences. That means – like any good brand on Twitter already – success will depend on maintaining two-way conversation throughout the day, not just adding a message now and again which only a few people will see.
Currently brands either “get” social media conversation or they don’t. Whatever new functionality a brand page offers, that will likely still remain the case. And remember –
Twitter has a history of announcing new business models, not all of which come to fruition, so judgement should probably be reserved for now…
Follow Elliot here (especially if you like drumming)
Robin Smith, Business Development Manager, Auros:
At the moment marketers only have 160 characters to play with to describe their organisation through their Twitter profiles. Providing companies with more real estate for in-depth bios, additional copy and calls to action seems like a good idea on in principle. But when you consider how users interact with Twitter, and that content is largely consumed as a feed, you have to question the value of more intricate brand pages both for consumers and marketers. Twitter’s success to date has been built on simplicity, and the complication of brand pages may in fact harm not help as they move towards growing their revenue streams.
What would really get marketers excited, and something we’ve been asked a lot about recently, is the ability to geo-target tweets. As the race for dominance in location based services heats up between foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook (places) it’ll be important for Twitter not to drop the ball.
Follow Robin here.
Follow Awareness, developers of the Social Marketing Hub, here.
Callum Saunders, Digital Marketing Manager, the Stopgap Group:
Once we’ve started following someone, their tweets come to us; we don’t go to them.
Let’s say you follow 200 people / brands. Do you go and visit every one of those people’s full profile pages? No. You log into Twitter via our own personalised stream online or via a mobile application. So what is the incentive for a business to create a branded page?
So many digital platforms try and incorporate other popular features into their own offering – Google Wave anyone? I think that Twitter needs to step back and take a look at its own unique strengths, of which it has many – speed, immediacy, access, communication, collaboration, networking to name a few.
Social media is a phenomenally overcrowded space right now – one could even venture that its innovation has plateaued. But if this is the case, platforms should truly focus on their USP rather than trying to incorporate lots of second-rate ‘me too’ features.
Follow Callum here.
Pick up more digital insights on Callum’s blog here.
Connect with Callum on Linked In here.
Matt Batterham, Account Manager, Browser Media:
Twitter’s revenue-generating efforts to date have been nothing short of disastrous. Speculative it may be, but this latest venture looks to follow suit. I say this for two reasons:
1. Twitter’s appeal lies in its simplicity, so why complicate things? Twitter is a tool. Simply a platform for conversation and nothing more. Branding that conversation does not improve the content.
2. Little over half of all tweets come from official Twitter clients, fewer still from twitter.com. With this in mind the likelihood of users visiting brand pages is pretty low.
If Twitter really is going to go ahead with this, not only is it likely to upset a few people, there’s also a very big chance of it falling flat on it’s face.
Follow Browser Media here.
Richard Jones, co-founder and CEO of EngageSciences:
As a social media marketing vendor we welcome this development. However it depends on how Twitter launch this feature. Facebook Pages have taken off because they have allowed them to be open, so agencies and clients can launch applications such as contests, quizzes, coupons and host other interactive content bringing a social element to how campaigns can be run.
Compare that to the closed way in which LinkedIN launched its Company Products and Services pages which deliver very little value for anyone because the experience is so constrained. So the jury is out on whether Twitter takes an open path, which will be very valuable for brands or follows LinkedIn and only allows something which is so controlled it is not worth engaging with in a meaningful way.
Follow Engage here.
There is more comment to come. If you would like to contribute, send us an email (email@example.com) and we’ll add your wisdom to this page.