The following excerpt is from an article written by Lydia Dishman, Contributor, for Forbes.com. View Dishman's full article for more information on Twitter's new feature and statistics about how it could impact retail.
Now dotting streams full of 140-character updates, users will see images in their feed without having to click links that redirect to Twitpic, Instagram, and other photo platforms. This new photo-laden feed can also be a powerful tool for savvy retailers who currently use social media to drive e-commerce sales, according to David Chang, managing director and senior vice president at Acquity Group. He tells FORBES: “The new Twitter design presents a great opportunity for brands and retailers to reach customers with timely and rich, yet concise content. It will take time for some users to adapt to the new visual elements, however pictures and short video (i.e. 6-second Vine videos) can convey an incredible amount of information quickly—which is the spirit of Twitter communication.”
Here’s what Chang said about how retailers can best leverage this new opportunity:
What does the new design mean for retailers?
From an advertising perspective, retailers are capitalizing on native ads on social networks to get a greater return on their ad spend. Acquity Group’s retail clients see an average click-through rate of 4.71% on ads in the Facebook Newsfeed (as compared to .03% on “traditional” Facebook display ads). We anticipate Twitter to soon enable visual ads in their feed as well and would expect similarly strong results—so long as the ads are timely and contextually relevant.
What should retailers keep in mind especially since so many users are complaining of seeing the images in their feed?
Brands should be respectful of this and ensure their posts are timely and contextually relevant, and not abuse these features especially during this user adoption period (think Facebook and the “uproar” from users every time the company updates the Newsfeed and Timeline functionality). Take the opportunity to share user-generated versus promotional content to engage your followers and to avoid giving your posts an ad feel.
How can retailers mitigate the annoying factor and leverage the image to drive sales?
The essence of Twitter is to capitalize on the moment – updates are delivered real time and displayed in chronological order.
Retailers should avoid cluttering feeds with meaningless photos or videos, and don’t make photos overly advertorial by putting their calls to action over images. Consider what followers have come to expect from your brand’s social experience and use the imagery as a complement to their existing social strategy.
What should a retailer NOT do with the image space?
In the world of Twitter, a picture is worth 140 characters. Images and video should be quick to consume and digest. Twitter controls the dimensions for the posted images, so retailers should understand how the photo will be cropped and what the user will see.
How does your store plan to use this new feature? Share your ideas in the comments section below!