A mere week after Twitter made its first foray into the stock market, the social networking site wasted no time in announcing a rather fancy new feature.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that Twitter Custom Timelines (I hope they come up with a snappier name for them soon!) have been added to their TweetDeck platform, giving users the chance to curate specific tweets to create a story or collection of tweets on a particular topic and share the content, either embedded on a website or using a .twitter.com link.
The function bears more than a passing resemblance to existing curating tool Storify, which may leave their bosses worried about what effect this will have on the business. Storify has offered this service for years, but for many, it’s definitely going to be more appealing to curate content directly on Twitter (well, TweetDeck) without the need for a third party.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t this just a jazzed up version of Twitter lists?” Well, not at all actually.
Lists only allow you to create custom groups of users and the tweets are fed into the timeline automatically. Custom Timelines allow you to cherry-pick the best tweets and present them on your blog or website or share with other Twitter users via a link on Twitter’s website. Users are also able to view all of your custom timelines from your TweetDeck profile on the app.
In a blog post, Twitter said: “This means that when the conversation around an event or topic has taken off on Twitter, you have the opportunity to create a timeline that surfaces what you believe to be the most noteworthy, relevant tweets.”
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So, how can you make the most of this new feature in your social media marketing campaign? Well don’t worry about it too much, because I have come up with four ways you can use custom timelines to enhance your campaign! :)
1. Curate Twitter Chat/Q&A Content
If you host a regular Twitter chat, custom timelines are a great way to curate the best tweets from the session to share on your website or blog as additional content. It will drive traffic to your site from people who were unable to take part, and also draw traffic from people who were involved, because let’s face it, everyone loves publicity!
If you don’t host a Twitter chat, consider holding a Twitter Q&A with a member of your team. Not only does it increase social engagement, but by using custom timelines in the same way as you would for Twitter chats, you will create extra content and drive more traffic to your site.
2. Cover An Event
Custom timelines offer a great way to cover an event. If it’s your own event, you can use Custom Timelines’ API to curate tweets on certain topics from certain users like your employees who are live-tweeting the event. This is more for the tech-savvy people with access to the API, as it is currently in beta testing. But the great thing about it is that you can choose which accounts should have tweets automatically flowing into the timeline. You can also choose the time span during which the tweets will be added to the timeline which will keep the custom timeline purely focused on that event.
Say you’ve brought out a new product or service, you want the whole world to know about it, right?! But no one likes a company that constantly bangs on about how great they are, or retweets every bit of praise they get. This is where custom timelines come in.
Using the feature, you could curate tweets about your new product and what people think of them. That way, you can provide potential customers with third party recommendations without shoving it in their face, and you get to keep the trolls and negative coverage out of the way at the same time. Handy, right?!
4. Present Twitter Coverage To A Client
This one refers more to an agency or consultant, but could also be useful for an in-house social media manager. Custom timelines gives you a more creative, easily accessible way of presenting Twitter coverage to your boss or client, without the need for screenshots or snore-inducing spreadsheets.
It also gives them the option to see what you’re doing in real-time and how their brand or product goes viral on Twitter. Plus, using the latest feature or technology is always going to look good, isn’t it?
So, there we have it. 4 ways to use Twitter custom timelines in your social media campaign. What do you think of my suggestions? Are there any other uses I have missed out?
Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @BubbleJobs! :)