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Brands Optimizing The Twitter Layout

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)When Twitter announced their layout revamp, you startled.

Your profile was doing so well, you even added a custom background for your followers to learn more about you and contact you when they finally decide to pick your services.

Now, all of that is gone. Your old background is no longer of use.

Sure, you could stick to the classic layout and end all the hassle there, but you know how these things work — your followers will get used to the new layout sooner or later, so you will be forced to do the switch anyway. Why postpone the inevitable?

It May Be Inevitable, But It’s Not The End Of The World

Twitter designers implemented the new layout because they were confident it would enhance their users’ experience with the platform and make it more aesthetically pleasing, too:

You might not like it, it could look too similar to Facebook, but the fact is Twitter designers were probably right– you can see it already: more and more users choose the new layout over the old one (and there might be a day when the new layout becomes the standard, replacing the old layout entirely).

Since the change is in action, something must be good about it. Right? It’s inevitable, but it’s not the end of the world, because for every design change come new opportunities to showcase the best traits of your business and potentially attract new leads.

Want to know how to get more eyes to read your tweets and follow you?

Read on.

Be Personable

A social network like Facebook or Google + is a wall and every post is like a forum thread. On the contrary, Twitter is more like text messaging– more personable, shorter, informal. You have only 140 characters to attract people’s interest and get them to interact with you.

“As a brand on Twitter, you have to be human. Scripted answers and robotic tweets will get you absolutely no where.” —Brittni Castilaw at TheWrightMessage.com

In this aspect, the old layout was good, but the redesign comes with some plus points.

Plus Points You Can Leverage

Larger space for tweets

When you text a friend or a client, the simple and ‘scarce’ cellphone design makes for an improved focus for the receiver. They don’t get distracted by sidebars, navigation menus and other cluttered widget boxes— they only focus on the text you sent them along with your name, phone number and time it was sent.

The new Twitter layout applies the same principle— once it got rid of all the old clutter, there’s more and larger space for tweets, bigger eye-catching fonts and a design that makes it easy — and pleasant — to read.

Your tweets now can truly stand out!

Big profile banners

Hey, we’re talking about 1500 pixel long header banners here! Talk about making an impact! Look at the examples below to get a glimpse of how you can turn your profile banners into CTAs that make your Twitter account convert on autopilot:

twitterbanner1

Vikram Narayan uses his banner as a launching platform for his 2014 Facebook Marketing Guide for Authors, a smart move that not only boosts his e conversions, but even helps him establish himself as an expert in the Facebook Marketing niche.

twitterbanner2

Roxana Nasoi uses a softer approach– she is an SEO consultant and uses her banner to convey a message to prospective clients and readers alike that the only SEO she likes doing is White Hat SEO, with not even a shade of gray (no literary pun here).

The new banners  help smooth your branding efforts, because the banner is the first thing a visitor coming to your profile will see– they get an immediate idea of what kind of services you offer, your business approach and what a kind of person you are.

Also, they get quickly acquainted with your brand elements (logo, personality and message).

Pinned Tweets

This is one of the most useful features of the new Twitter– you can pin a tweet on your profile so that it stays on top like a sticky.

Pinned tweets are a clever tool for announcements, special discounts and limited time offers, and they are great to just share a useful freebie you or someone in your professional network produced.

It would be interesting to see a case study about the response percentage to pinned tweets. What’s certain is that they boost the engagement factor that’s generally low for an ordinary tweet.

Filtered Tweets

No more a continuous, cluttered Twitter stream — now you can filter replies out of your main stream and have a separate tab for media tweets.

This is good, because it gives your followers and visitors a way to read your original tweets (and retweets) in the main stream, without the added noise caused by conversations. That makes for a cleaner, more readable profile!

But your conversations do not disappear– visitors can still take a sneak peek by clicking on the “Tweets and Replies” tab next to “Tweets” (your main stream) and join them if they like; it’s just that they don’t get these replies (tweets that begin with @name) shoved in their faces anymore. Needless to say this is a benefit, because most visitors come to your Twitter profile to read your updates, not your conversations.

If you upload media (images or videos) with your Tweets, these will show up in your main stream, but even under “Photos/Videos” (https://twitter.com/username/media). This feature makes it easy for a visitor who looks you up to only search your uploads.

Cleaner Structure

The old Mentions and Interactions tabs have been replaced with a single tab called Notifications.

Under that, you get two subtabs on the left, Notifications and Mentions, but all you need is the Notifications tab to keep track and interact with other Twitter users.

This cleaner look makes it easier to respond to relevant tweets and track your Mentions count. Also, it keeps your conversations in order, with no risk of losing older messages earlier in the stream.

Bigger Profile Photo

Your profile photo on Twitter used to be a tiny thing, barely adding a face to your brand whenever a user decided they were up for a try.

Well, things change to your advantage with the new design— your photo is now a prominent factor on your profile, so you can’t just show visitors the face behind the brand, but you can also add brand elements to it.

Ann Smarty’s @MyBlogU profile is a great example of this technique– the ‘photo’ is a group illustration representing all people involved with the MyBlogU project, including Ann Smarty. This profile photo gives both the brand and the people behind it a personable, friendly face.

More Readable

Bigger fonts and less clutter make for an easier-to-read website. With the new Twitter design, reading and interacting should be definitely more pleasant for you and your visitors.

To enhance readability, write clearly and concisely. Punchy, active verbs definitely work on Twitter!

Looks Like a Landing Page

This is important for your brand — a landing page look-alike increases your chances to convert visitors into customers or subscribers.

Optimize your Twitter-’landing’ profile with:

  • a memorable, informational banner
  • great pinned posts that invite your visitors to take action
  • a good photo that adds brand elements to your image
  • a clever bio that makes people want to learn more about you.

Use all the tips under the “Plus Points” section of this post to make your Twitter ‘landing page’ stand out. ;)

Minus Points To Counterattack

Like with everything else, there are pros and cons. The new Twitter design comes with some ‘minus points’ you should counterattack in order to make an impact on the visitor.

Too Facebook-like

Yes, we didn’t really need a clone of Facebook. However, it’s interesting to notice how the trend is running among different social networks— users are familiar with designs similar to Facebook, they use them with confidence, so that’s a natural step for most developers.

Counterattack! Use the new approach to your advantage— now that your visitors perceive Twitter as more personable and friendly than before, so make your content captivating and friendly, too.

Some Users May Need Time To Find Stuff

For some users, the new Twitter is not as intuitive as it used to be. Even I (generally fine with most ‘weird’ designs) found it a tad harder to navigate the first time.

Counterattack! Give your visitors specific instructions to find stuff on your new Twitter profile– sentences like “Click Photos/Videos to find my latest webinar!” or “Hit Tweets and Replies to find our latest niche chat!” will help them speed up discovery and lessen frustration.

Still No Categorization

It would be helpful to categorize your tweets by category, but there’s no such option for now. Out of all changes Twitter implemented, this one would have been pretty useful.

Counterattack! Use #hashtags to categorize your posts.

Profiles Take Too Long To Scroll

Not as slower as it was with the old layout, but pagination would be handy.

Counterattack! – Keep your most relevant tweets on the first page (before the first scrolling happens).

Needs A Tweet Search “Per User”

Right now you can search tweets, but not per user, which is kind of discomforting when you need to search a user’s tweets about a certain topic.

Counterattack! – Assign a #hashtag to your profile and use it on all your tweets. Users will then be able to search your posts via the #hashtag.

Takeway

The new layout is totally pro-conversions, but to make it work, you should play all ‘plus points’ to your advantage, no omissions. Don’t want your profile to be one of the many out there, do you?

If you want more Twitter tips and tricks to add to your branding plan, check out Hubspot’s article from April 2014 and BufferUp’s 5 optimization tips.

Comment below if the new Twitter profile is bringing you conversions and new followers! I want to write a round-up next time and invite you to contribute your experience. :)

Image by Paul Ritchie

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13 Ways To Get Online Customer Reviews

Online Customer ReviewsReviews for a product, business, service, or anything else are vital now a day. Especially with the ease of simply doing a Google search to find thousands of reviews from multiple 3rd party websites. It can be treacherous as there are many false and paid reviews out there, so you must always be skeptical and browse through a few sources before making a final decision as a consumer.

As a business you are always striving to obtain more reviews. As more reviews transpires into trustworthiness, which equates to sales. More sales = more revenue. A win-win situation has arisen, but how do you obtain these reviews?

You do not want to come of as pushy or begging for reviews, so what is the secret. We all know upset customers will leave a review, whereas satisfied customers are less likely to leave any feedback. How do we get around this problem? Listed below are some of the techniques I have used in the past for clients and have seen great success.

  1. Ask Customers – This is one of the easiest and most effective way to obtain reviews. Ask the client what they think of your service and if they would post a review online (as long as thy are a happy client)
  2. Act Swiftly – Do not wait a couple of days or weeks. When getting customers to leave reviews it is important that it happens that day or a few days later. Anything longer and the customer will have forgotten about it and moved onto something else.
  3. Emails – Sending out emails is a great way to connect with past, future, and existing clients. It is always good to email clients after finishing a project, completing a job, selling a product to make sure everything is working properly. In this email you can offer links to your review sites such as Yelp, Google Maps, your own site, etc.
  4. Extra Functionality –Many sites offer users that leave reviews new products that may be of interest to them. Amazon is big on this; when you leave a review you will be shown products tat go along with that product already purchased. This simplifies the buying process.
  5. Publish Reviews – Everyone likes to read reviews about what your business has to offer from third party sites, but it is often helpful to crate a reviews page on your website. Create a section devoted to customer testimonials where users have the option to add their own reviews. This adds a sense of trust and confidence to potential buyers.
  6. Third Party Reviews- It is a great idea to add a live stream of reviews from third party authority sites such as Yelp, Google Maps, YellowPages, etc.
  7. Incentives – Often times, especially for new businesses, it is a good idea to offer an incentive to users that leave reviews. These can be a percentage off their next order, money off a service, or anything else that can be a bargaining tool. This is a good short-term plan, but in the long run ti can backfire. If someone outs that your are offering free services for positive reviews your creditability can be ruined.
  8. Samples – Free stuff is always something will admire, but like the above scenarioit can backfire. If it does backfire your company is in a lot of trouble and this type of online reputation management is difficult to repair.
  9. Borrow Reviews – If your company is selling a specific type of product that is popular amongst consumers you can take reviews from the company website and third party sites such as Amazon, eBay, Overstock, and others as factual reviews. Just make sure to give credit to the sites where the reviews were taken from. Once your business has been established and has original reviews you can remove those taken from third party websites.
  10. Using Social Media- Many companies do not realize the power and influence social media sites have on their brand appearance. Many times people will do a company search and the top sites will be the company’s site along with their social media channels. This means having a positive influence on these channels is vital. Make sure posts from users on social media sites are appropriate and if not respond to them accordingly. Do not be hastily, but simply try and resolve any issue.
  11. Reach Out – Find people who have reviewed similar products or services and see if they would be willing to write a review for you. This is a great tactic, as the people you are targeting have already shown an interest and are most likely knowledgeable in the field. This is great for credibility, especially if you find influencers in your niche to leave a review.
  12. Keep it simple – Make it easy for users to leave reviews. This means giving users options to leave reviews on different third party sites. Post the URL’s to your Yelp pages or another sites. Do not make users search the web as they will often times be discouraged and give up. The easier it is to leave a review, the more likely you are to receive that review.
  13. Buying Reviews –This is something that occurs all the time, but is highly frowned upon. We do not recommend ever using this tactic, as it is deceitful and unethical. Make sure to obtain real, truthful reviews. Unfortunately, there is a large market for fake reviews. People will spend thousands of dollars to get reviews removed or hidden. It is a deceitful tactic, but unfortunately there is no way to thwart this currently.

By following these techniques your business will see your review count skyrocket. Reviews are a way potential buyers gauge if something is worth their investment. Therefore it is vital to get positive reviews for your business using the above techniques.

What techniques do you use to grow client testimonials for your online business?

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