Marketing and Branding Impact of the New Twitter Format


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Has your Twitter page transformed into the new format yet? If not it will very soon (like probably today!)

There are many interesting changes and plenty of places to learn what you need to know, so I won’t go into those details here.

There is, however, a small but not-so-minor change that will be of interest to businesses using Twitter as one of their marketing tools. Twitter’s new format emphasizes the “name” associated with the account rather than the @username, that was previously the highlighted identifier.

The name might be a person’s actual name, but can be whatever the account holder has chosen. In some cases it’s the name of a company or some combination of a name, company, word, etc.

This change has significant implications for branding yourself or your company.

For example, I have two Twitter accounts – one for myself as associated with my company Christine Green Consulting, and one that is associated with my mobile marketing and text messaging service.

My first account has the username of @ChristineGreen_ and the name associated with it is Christine Green. No surprise.

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My second Twitter account has the username of @MobileMrketing but also has the name Christine Green associated with it.

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When I first launched that account the name associated with it was “Bost MobileMrketing.” I choose to do this temporarily for branding while I was building the website.

I was also curious to see how followers would interact with an account that had no web link and no identified person behind it. I did attract followers slowly but surely. I still have a rather small following and am not very active on the account yet, but once the Boston North Mobile Marketing site was launched, I added that link and changed the name to my own.

In the old Twitter format I was being branded primarily as @MobileMrketing because that username was most prominent. It was shown first and was larger and bolder than my name.

In the new format the opposite is true. The person’s name is now first (or at the top), large and bold.

This changes the way you are identified and perhaps even how you are perceived. Have you been branding yourself by your username or as your name? For some of you they are the same, but for many, your @username has become well known and even its own brand.

The example that comes to mind immediately is @Pistachio who is Laura Fitton. She is well know in the Twittersphere and co-author of Twitter for Dummies. To be honest I followed her for almost a year before I knew her name!

But check out how she shows up in the new profile:

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In both of these screenshots you can barely see, much less notice her @Pistachio username.

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So what does this reformatting mean for businesses using Twitter for marketing?

Mostly, you need to be aware of this change. You or your social media marketing consultant or staff can decide if you need to take any action. The good news is that you can change your username or your name. I wouldn’t advise changing your username since it has been your brand to many of your followers. (I am not sure what happens if you change your username but I assume you would keep your followers).

You may however, want to change the name associated with the account. If it’s your own name, I’d recommend keeping it, but if it is a made-up word or combination “name” you will want to assess the impact of it now being front-and-center. Now’s the time to make a change if you believe another name will improve your branding.

A final consideration related to your Twitter identity, is the photo or image that you use with your account. Now, more than ever, the image that represents your account is critical. If you aren’t crazy about it, change it now to assist with your branding.

The new format is an exciting change for this micro-blog. Hopefully it will stay the same long enough to allow businesses to optimize it for marketing…unlike another social media venue, (which will go unnamed) that changes almost daily! #FB Smile

P.S. As you can see, my Twitter accounts aren’t exactly brimming with followers, but you can change that! Let’s connect!

  • http://twitter.com/Pistachio Laura Fitton

    really interesting point. after reading this i checked to see if Laura @Pistachio:disqus  Fitton would fit as my name, but alas, no. thank you for using me as an example! 
    Warmly, Laura

    • http://www.christinegreen.com/ Christine Green

      Laura,
      Thanks for your comment. You were my choice for an example because you have done the best job of branding a Twitter username! Now you get to reintroduce yourself! ;-)