Over the last year or so there has been a shift by most major social media platforms to become increasingly visual. Facebook introduced the cover image, Google+ introduced the cover photo, the popularity of Pinterest continues to explode, and now Twitter has introduced some updates of its own.
Last week Twitter launched a few key changes to profile pages including:
- The introduction of header images
- Allowing greater control over background images
- Giving greater prevalence to photos in the side bar
Twitter profile pages have instantly become more visual with the introduction of header images (dimensions are 520 x 260px for browser-based Twitter). Similar to Facebook cover images (check out one of my previous posts on creative thought-starters for how to use Facebook cover images), Twitter header images can be used in several ways. 5 creative thought-starters follow:
1 – Branding
Obviously, the new header image provides an additional opportunity to clearly brand your Twitter profile. Get creative and design something that works well for your brand, but be mindful to give your profile picture and bio some breathing room.
2 – Campaign Integration
If you are running a mass media advertising campaign, use the header image to carry the idea over to Twitter and give some context to campaign-related tweets.
3 – Promotions
Include details of a Twitter-based promotion with a CTA in your header image to reward your current followers and acquire new ones. Remember, unlike Facebook and Google+, Twitter’s promotional guidelines are incredibly lenient, so be sure to take advantage of this with a creative Twitter promotion.
4 – Product/Service Launch
Launch a new product or service by featuring a photograph and critical information in your header image. Additionally, you could ask your followers to write 120 character reviews (so that you’ve got 20 characters to RT the review) in your header.
5 – Community Spotlight
Give some control of your brand to your community by asking them to design your weekly Twitter header image. When a new image is posted, give a shout-out to the community member who submitted it.
With the latest Twitter update, we have been given greater control over the justification of background images – we can now justify left, centre, or right. While these justification options will yield creative opportunity, centre justifying an image will allow messaging to be seen more predictably on both sides of your profile, rather than just in the left margin.
Photos have now been given greater prevalence in the side bar. The position of the photo stream has been shifted higher above the fold, the size of thumbnails has increased, there are now 6 thumbnails instead of 4, and even if you haven’t tweeted a picture, empty thumbnails appear on your profile. I would imagine these changes will result in a greater number of pictures being tweeted.
How have you used your Twitter header image? Do you have any creative ideas for how this could be used by businesses and brands? Let me know in the comments.
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