Friday 09 December 2016

Twitter Adds Custom Timelines

On the heels of its IPO, Twitter unveiled Custom Timelines, giving users more flexibility to collect and organize noteworthy and relevant tweets around topics, events, interests and conversations.

While Custom Timelines can only be created and managed through TweetDeck, they are public and have their own page on Twitter.com, making it easy to share so others can follow along in real time as more tweets are added. In addition, these powerful streams of information can be embedded on any site. Any Custom Timeline created will appear on one’s Twitter profile. For example, Politico created timelines to track energy conversations on Twitter and embedded them on its site, organized by energy-focused reporters, influencers and lawmakers. So what does this mean for other brands?

Custom Timelines give brands the ability to curate content without needing to leverage a third-party vendor. Given that this new feature makes Twitter more content-specific and more user-friendly, brands should begin taking advantage where appropriate, and as soon as possible. Below are five ways brands can start using Custom Timelines into their Twitter strategy.

Information Gathering Tool

When news breaks now, it’s always on Twitter within minutes, at times it’s even on Twitter first. The Custom Timelines feature will only help gather information faster around timely news and events. Specifically, it’s a great way to gather a focused stream of real-time information, which has always been tough on Twitter, without cluttering up the main timeline. Custom Timelines will help data collectors gather a sea of information on what people are talking about regarding a particular topic.

Curate Twitter Chat

For brands that host Twitter chats, Custom Timelines are a great way to curate the best tweets from the session to share on the website or blog as additional content. It’s a strategic way to drive traffic to the site from people who were unable to take part, and also draw traffic from people who were involved. In addition, brands no longer need to make sure that chat participants are using a specific hashtag during the chat, and don’t need to worry about other brands or personalities hijacking the conversation simply by using the same hashtag.

Testimonials/Reviews/Positive Coverage

Curating the social buzz around a new product or positive coverage does several things for a business, however no one likes a company that constantly discusses about how great they are, or Retweets every praise. Using Custom Timelines, brands can curate tweets about a new product and leverage third party recommendations without pushing too much, while establishing higher credibility and trust among followers.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Rather than simply tweeting about a big event or product, brands now have the opportunity to own the conversation. Advertisers can sponsor the timelines of partner brands or topics, creating more harmonious and impactful partnerships. For example, an advertiser could move beyond an on-air television spot and sponsor the real-time conversation surrounding a full episode via a dedicated Custom Timeline.

Showcase Twitter Coverage

This one refers more to an agency, but could also be useful for any social media manager. Custom Timelines give a more creative, easily accessible way of presenting Twitter coverage to the client, without the need for screenshots or dull spreadsheets. It also provides clients the option to see what consultants and agencies are doing in real-time.

The Custom Timelines feature is still in its early stages, but it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. Share your thoughts below on how you are looking to utilize this new product from Twitter.

Photo credit: Anthony Quintano

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