Companies that rely on a visual or photographic web presence often find it difficult to convey their media on Twitter. Take, for instance, apparel brands that need to get social media eyes on their merchandise, or a design firm that seeks exposure. How can these types of businesses ensure that Twitter followers see their wares?
E-commerce or design companies may prefer Facebook, due to its inherently visual and expansive nature. However, businesses these days can’t afford to bypass Twitter entirely -- especially because many people keep their Twitter feeds open all day long.
Read on to discover four pillars of “visual tweeting,” or how to make sure that your Twitter followers get the picture.
1. Twitter voice should be consistent and relevant
Obviously not all businesses can afford to hire a social media manager who monitors and shares across social channels full-time. However, try to keep the same individual tweeting most of the time so that your Twitter account’s voice and style remains consistent.
That said, people come to visual-centric brands for a reason. They follow these types of companies and individuals in the hope of discovering new clothing, products, design tips and inspiration in general. Therefore, be sure to provide that very thing.
Remember these two tips: Be descriptive and be relevant. If you want to share a new collection of animal print blouses or a fancy new gadget, explain as much about the product as you can in 140 characters. If you include detail, like in designer Mike Rundle's tweet above, people will be more inclined to click when they’re intrigued by the prospect of a visual payoff. Then, either link or embed an image at the end of your description.
Inexplicable craving for Lucky Charms - does this ever happen to anybody else?
— Topshop (@Topshop) January 5, 2012
On the other hand, if your Twitter account represents a visual brand, don’t get too personal to the point of being off-topic (read: Lucky Charms?). People are following your business, not your personal account, for a reason. It’s a tough balance to strike, especially because people want to feel that a brand is relatable and human. A good rule of thumb is to keep every tweet related to your visually-pleasing products or personal brand, but to kill two birds with one stone by injecting a fun or off-beat voice at the same time.
2. Favor native images
Now that you’ve got a tweet’s description down, it’s time to attach an image. There’s no rule that says you must embed your images into your Twitter feed, but now that Twitter allows you to do it, why not make it easier for your followers?
Third-party photo apps like Instagram, TwitPic and yfrog allow you to attach images to a tweet that can be expanded immediately within a Twitter feed, so the user doesn't have to jump to a photo app's website. Keep in mind, however, that these apps perform differently on mobile. For instance, on Twitter’s iPhone app, Instagram kicks you out to a separate page, but you’re able to view a TwitPic image directly underneath the tweet. Perform a test-run to determine which app suits your business best.
3. Pageviews are paramount
Although embedding images into tweets is convenient and visually pleasing, you’re likely still clamoring for pageviews, and therefore, will want to link out to your site as often as possible. That means you’ll have to be more strategic than ever.
— Veerle Pieters (@vpieters) January 4, 2012
Try putting attractive language at the beginning of a tweet that your followers can’t resist. Designer Veerle Pieters advertises a sale using caps lock, and then directs people to her site.
The Doctor is in. ow.ly/8jCMX
— NASTY GAL (@NastyGal) January 5, 2012
Above all, don’t be vague or else people won’t click through to see your product or design, ultimately losing you valuable pageviews. For example, women’s apparel company Nasty Gal may have a distinct and irreverent voice, but its tweets often do little to introduce attached links. How are we supposed to know that “The Doctor is in” refers to a blog post about Doc Martens?
4. Backgrounds Still Matter
Although more and more people are accessing Twitter profiles via simplified mobile design or dashboard applications like TweetDeck, you might still consider customizing your Twitter.com profile background.
Or create your own background that reflects your product or design aesthetic. But be sure to take into account Twitter’s new profile design, which locates the tweet feed on the right-hand side of the page, and lists and suggestions on the left-hand side. Therefore, don’t let important images fall underneath your profile’s opaque boxes. For instance, can you spot the elusive third model in Topshop’s background above?
Instead of obscuring important information, create images that account for the placement and width of the Twitter feed, like designer Grace Smith, whose left-hand mini-bio adds a smart touch.
How do you or the brands you follow optimize a tweet to reflect its visual content? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto