Twitter is launching Enhanced Profile Pages
to help companies promote their brands. Originally trialled in December with Super Brands like Coca-Cola and American Express, the enhanced profiles will soon be available to any company that can commit to an annual advertising spend of $25,000 or more.
The enhancements allow Brands to publish custom content and promoted tweets to their profile pages; all visible to customers without signing-in.
Facebook are several steps ahead of Twitter here, having launched Company Pages some time ago and "Fan Pages" even before that. They also offer options for branding the user experience through bespoke apps; with a mature ecosystem of technology and suppliers to assist.
This has helped Facebook maintain the lead in social media engagement
, with many companies now advertising their Facebook page addresses on above-the-line media, instead of their traditional website addresses. Clearly Twitter has been missing a trick, until now.
Twitter hope that giving companies increased options for branding their profiles, will make them more likely to encourage traffic directly to the micro-blogging site. Already appreciated for its simplicity, companies may jump at the chance to deliver enhanced brand messages, while still engaging directly with their customers through tweets.
Unfortunately, Twitter's new enhancements are only available to those that spend a large amount of money advertising on the site. For the prestige, few large companies can afford to ignore the initiative. Others will need to think carefully about the value that Enhanced Profile Pages can actually bring.
There are still many free options for customising the look and feel of your twitter presence. Doing this is a great start, but the real value of twitter comes from actually engaging with customers and building new contacts.
We say: adding your logo to Twitter is no substitute for really getting involved. Use the network consistently, as part of an holistic online marketing strategy, and your investment of time will pay dividends.