The Case for Twitter Premium Accounts

June 15, 2012

It would make a lot of sense for companies to be able to have premium accounts on Twitter.

Consider the following use case:

Many companies have multiple users interacting with their customers on Twitter. For example, Southwest Airlines ( @SouthwestAir) has several customer service folks tweeting to users and addressing user questions (eg: @SouthwestWhit). Similarly Whole Foods (@WholeFoods) has dozens of tweeters including for Cheese (@WFMCheese ), Wines (@WFMWineGuys ) and for individual locations (@WFMMetroDetroit). All of these are individual accounts, even though they work for the same company.

A better approach would be to let companies have premium ‘umbrella’ accounts with multiple handles under the umbrella account. For example, Southwest Airlines would have a master umbrella account and individual reps have ‘official’ Southwest handles under this account. This will help companies streamline their Twitter communication.

Another big benefit of such an approach is that it would address questions of whether an employee’s Twitter handle belongs to them or their company.  With corporate accounts, the handle would clearly belong to the company. Of course, employees could have their own personal handles as well separately.

An extension of the premium account concept is to let companies have their own pages/ mini-portals on Twitter, where they can engage with users in a structured manner. These mini-portals can also offer enhanced functionality such as Buy buttons, Coupon downloads or Customer Service ‘conversations  ‘.

Here’s how:

(1) Product Catalogs:

Allow companies to offer product information or product catalogs on their mini-portals/ pages.

(2) Buy/ Action button:

Having a ‘Buy’ or Action button on their premium account page will enable companies to promote products/ services to interested users and enable their users to complete transactions right away. They can also directly track user response to their messaging.

For example, companies can drive greater engagement in the following sequence:

Promoted Tweets —————> Premium pages,—————-> Product catalogs ————–>Call to Action (Buy Button/ Download coupon).

If a user clicks on “Buy” or performs the action such as say, downloading a coupon from the page, the company can measure the value of the Promoted Tweet and ultimately, the ROI on their spend.

(3) Enhanced User Engagement with Company:

Users can visit the company’s page and ask questions about the product or engage in discussions. For example on a page for Acer’s laptops, users could go and ask the Acer reps questions about the laptop specs, via 140 word tweets, of course. The Acer representatives would address user questions and concerns by tweeting back to users.

Premium accounts would also be a useful vehicle for Monetization for Twitter.


Twitter Monetization: Combining Offers with Advertising Would Be a Good Approach

January 16, 2012

Make User interests Explicit

Twitter’s monetization has focused on Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts. Promoted Tweets show up in users’ timelines as well as when users perform a Search on Twitter. But unlike regular Search, user intent is typically not readily identifiable on Twitter. For example, on Google/ Yahoo/ Bing, user intent is very explicit when the user searches on “laptop deals” or “car insurance”. But on Twitter, users often do not make commercial searches. And when users are not explicitly searching, it is hard to make guesses about their intent or interests.

On the other hand, Twitter is a natural medium for Offers and Deals. Several companies such as Walmart already use Twitter to tweet specials to their followers. But instead of waiting for users to follow specific accounts, a better approach would be to ask users themselves to state their interests and then tweet to them based on their stated interests. This combines the Advertising model with the Offers model.

 

This is how it can work:

Bottomline:

  • This approach makes users’ interests and intent explicit, providing greater value to advertisers as well as a good user experience. Since users have specified what sort of offer categories they are interested in, advertisers get ‘pre-qualified’ users.

Twitter Features I’d Love to See

October 23, 2011

(1) Preview & Open Links:

One of the primary ways people use Twitter is to share and read links. It would be useful to be able to preview links on Twitter. It would be even cooler if links could open from the same page, say in a frame on the right side of the page.

 

(2) Power Tweeters Crowd Out Others on the Timeline

Some people are extremely active tweeters while others are less frequent. Often the frequent tweeters tend to swamp one’s Timeline crowding out less frequent tweeters.

Here are 2 ways this could be handled:

  • Provide the ability to put frequent tweeters on a separate tab so that the less frequent tweeters have the opportunity to show up on the main Timeline prominently.
  • Let users temporarily filter out specific tweeters on the Timeline – and be able to add them back on the Timeline once they’ve viewed others as well.

(3) Support conversations in Timeline:

Often there’s an interesting conversation going on in Twitter but it’s hard to keep track of it because the Timeline shows tweets ‘discretely’. Of course, clicking on a tweet will show related tweets on the right frame, but it would be useful to have conversations bunched together on the main timeline. If anyone wants to follow the entire discussion, they can expand it.

(4) Allow commenting/ annotating when Retweeting.

Because:

  • Users would like to add their own opinions to RTs.
  • Sometimes people RT tweets they disagree with, and would like to indicate that they’re not endorsing the tweet.