It has been nearly a week since Twitter launched their redesign, including the addition of a profile header image. It was instantly identifiable with Facebook’s existing concept of a cover photo, but there are significant differences below the surface.
The first noticeable variations are dimensions and orientation. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Facebook’s space is more, well, spacious. There’s more room to showcase graphic content, and the panoramic area is a nice option for placing horizontally-dominating images (such as large groups of people or sprawling landscapes).
Photos Courtesy of Moyan Brenn
But size isn’t everything. Personally, I’ve found it frustrating having to severely crop images that were originally in a 3:2 aspect ratio so that they could fit in the cover photo. This may have something to do with the spatial perfectionist tendencies that come with being a photographer, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of modern digital cameras shoot in either a 4:3 or 3:2 aspect ratio. This makes it inherently difficult to transform an everyday picture into a cover photo without cutting off nearly half of the image. Twitter’s new header, however, is much closer to the average Joe’s aspect ratios. It’s just longer than 3:2, ending up at something around 3.3:2.
In layman’s terms, a photo can be used for a Twitter header straight from the camera with almost no added hassle. That’s a nice perk right out of the gate.
The punch line
Covers may not include:
- Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”;
- Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;
- References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or
- Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
Well, that’s bound to set your business page back. Facebook was like, “Here you go guys! Have a huge space for graphics above the fold that you can’t do anything productive with!”
Meanwhile, here’s what can be done on Twitter with the newfound visual resource:
– Contact information and third party URLs: User profiles already include fields for an “about me”, location and website below the avatar. But personal info can be supplemented by the header image, allowing users to include a larger, more eye-catching link to their own site.
This is one of the best examples of smart promoting in a header I’ve seen so far. Mr. Ducker has a large, attractive URL at the top edge alongside an offer for a free resource. Great inbound marketing at work right there, Chris!
Additionally, contact information such as email, phone number, address and other social media pages can be displayed. A pizzeria, for example, would benefit substantially from integrating their phone number(s) at the top of the header. This will also vouch for the authenticity of the business, since people know they can dial a number and talk to a real person if need be.
– Showcase events and promotions: If there’s something special happening, you’ll want people to know about it. Whether it’s a conference, talk, appearance or promotional event, Twitter followers will get a sneak peek. Boast high-profile happenings that you’ve been a part of by showing photos. This approach will legitimize your position as a professional.
David Scott uses a photo of himself speaking at a conference. When people see photos like this, it speaks a thousand words for your reputation as a professional. And while I understand the appeal of negative space, David might consider going a step further by indicating the event the photo was taken at (or his role as a keynote speaker) in a few words. Might as well utilize that negative space to boast your expertise and let visitors know that you’re the proverbial boss.
– Plug your experience: Why not give visitors a quick sample of your past work or professional involvement? Stick snippets of your portfolio or awards you’ve garnered into a header to draw attention from potential customers. If you’ve done work for big names then make sure people know.
– Advertise a deal and include calls to action: The same thing goes for product promotions, savings, and resources that would appeal to consumers. The header is a great place to advertise attractive deals and offer help (as Ducker also did in his header above).
Users can be pointed to special offers or promotional content on third party sites. It’s too early to tell whether calls to action in Twitter headers will be effective, but there’s no harm in experimenting.
– Encourage people to follow: If you’re a business, you use Twitter to gain outreach with consumers. So why not encourage people to follow you in the header?
An indicator can be placed on the right side (the “Follow” button is just below the header) that nudges users to hit the follow button, such as an arrow or small call to action.
Surprisingly, only a fraction of the folks I’m following have switched to headers thus far (around 30%). It’ll be awhile before users jump on the bandwagon en masse with header images. But the potential marketing benefits are abundant, and the smart businesses on Twitter will be taking advantage of this.
(view original post on Prime Social Marketing)
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