The new Twitter profile layout – and what this means for your Twitter marketing

If you’ve been using Twitter the last few weeks, you probably noticed changes to the user interface: larger and lighter buttons along the header, a fresher feel where the black bar along the top has been replaced with white, new retweet and “favorite” icons that are reminiscent of the candy you’d eat as a kid. (My favorite change is the new sans-serif font – it gives more breathing space to the page.)

New Twitter icons
 

It’s clear that Twitter is going for a more inviting design experience. Even more recent changes that started rolling out today point to a savvier marketing experience, too.

 

New Twitter profile view
 

The new Twitter profile view is slowly being rolled out to everyone. Here’s what I’ve observed:

  1. It’s not being released based on seniority or age of the account: my newer Tea Voyeur account can view it but not my established HallStigerts.
  2. Twitter is taking cues from other major social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ for its design: Larger graphics & text, and more white space. However current background graphics seem to be missing.
  3. The coolest feature: you can pin your best tweet to the top of your profile! This is great for marketing – highlight your recent sale or a photo you’re particularly proud of when people visit your profile.

You’ll know when you have the new profile view when you see this popup:

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 11.08.01 AM

Bigger and better. Check out your new profile.

This is your space: be creative. Add a larger header and profile picture to show off your unique style.

Your best tweets. Front and center. The Tweets that got your friends talking are now bigger.

Make a statement, loud and clear. Pin your favorite Tweet to the top of your page.

What this means for your Twitter marketing

 

Update your header image (that one behind your profile image). Make sure it’s a high resolution because it’s going to get stretched and pixelated if it’s not big enough: 1500 x 500 pixels, maximum file size of 5MB. (Thanks to Erica McGillivray for finding the image specs!) Have it reflect your brand but don’t overwhelm your Twitter profile with spammy text and icons.

Take advantage of the “pin” feature. Pin a tweet to the top of your profile to highlight your latest blog post, promotion, or event. (Don’t forget to include an image for more visibility!)

Driving traffic to your profile page will be even more important. Just like all tweets (unless they’re paid promoted), your pinned tweet will fall down your followers’ feeds as it ages.

Background images are disappearing. As of now, it looks like the background images will no longer exist. (Perhaps because it overwhelms the new layout.) If you have branded marketing on your Twitter background, update your header and profile images accordingly.

 

Can you see the new profiles yet? How do you plan on integrating them into your social media marketing plan?

Passion, purpose, and profit in blogging

This week I published an article on the Big Fish Games blog about how to break bad habits using game mechanics.

I don’t know what inspired it: my childhood spent playing video games, my smart mentor who happens to be an expert on the topic, or that every day I’m surrounded by a community of hacker-minded marketers breaking down problems and looking for solutions in unlikely places.

It seemed like a compelling mash-up of personal interests. And if I can help people solve their most challenging problems while getting paid to write?

Big win-win-win.


Passion: Write about what moves you

Your job will be easier if you write on a topic you’re passionate about. Conversely, if you write on something that bores you to tears, it will be both hard to write AND to read. That’s a lose-lose-lose.

Make a list of what you know, what you’re good at, and what keeps you up at night. All three factor into the insightfulness of your post.

If you don’t know enough about the topic you love, do the research. One way is to find an expert to help you. (My mentor Chris Bennett, persuasive design consultant, gave me a crash course in game mechanics.)

If you’re getting pressured to write on something you know well but you’re less than mildly interested, find a writer and let them interview you.

If you have the opportunity to write on something you know nothing about and you’re not interested in, help find the right topic expert and writer to do the job.


Purpose: Write about what people want to read

Professional blogging is more than writing for yourself – you need an audience for your work to thrive. Time to get out of your head and into your readers’ heads.

What motivates you to write for an audience? Is it to brighten someone’s day? To help solve a problem? To educate by sharing your unique perspective?

Always plan your piece with the audience in mind: what topics do they enjoy reading, what type of content grabs them, and how do they speak – you don’t want to lose them in translation.

Do your research.


Profit: Write about something that will pay the bills

(This is about what gets you paid as the writer. If you’re looking for what gets you revenue as the organization with a blog, that’s a whole ‘nother post.)

You can write all day long about what you love and in a way that draws in an audience. I love hugs and warm fuzzies, but last I checked my bank doesn’t accept hugs and warm fuzzies as a mortgage payment.

There are a number of ways to earn money by writing. Not all of them will be appropriate for your interests or style. Do you find yourself reading startup news blogs? Or how about professional journals? Perhaps social opinion pieces grab you.

For me, I love partnering with organizations that value investigative content. You know, the stuff that takes some ingenuity and elbow grease to come up with something a little different.


The bottom line is this: if you’ve proven that you write intelligently (or at least entertainingly) about something you love and you’ve generated an audience, there’s someone out there willing to pay you for more.

Organizations want content that boosts brand recognition, establishes trust, and builds a loyal audience. If you can help them get there while giving readers what they’re looking for, you’re on your way to huge success.


The Price of Comfort

We love growth. Every week, month, quarter we crunch numbers and analyze data and set stretch goals. We plan to grow our customer base, grow our audience, grow our revenue.

Growth reminds us that life isn’t stagnant – we’re constantly improving.

The funny thing about growth is that it begins with taking a risk. That means walking into unfamiliar territory, encountering new challenges, making mistakes, and maybe doing something that terrifies you.

Those thoughts could paralyze us into inaction. Wrap ourselves in a warm blanket and not venture outside. Stay safe from scrutiny and other dangers.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. –Anaïs Nin

Then you realize: the price of comfort is the potential for living.

I’m growing today because I’m launching my marketing blog. (If you like it so far, please subscribe.) It’s easier to write for clients than for yourself. You can look at companies with an objective eye. When you’re writing as yourself for your own brand, you’re inside your head all the time. Time to shrug that off and share my thoughts with you.

What are you going to do to grow today?

Image credit: Taro Taylor via Compfight

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