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What The New Twitter Design Means

Recently, Twitter started rolling out a new design that moves its focus further away from 140-character one-liners to rich visuals instead. I love this change!

So what's different?

The change allows images, uploaded natively, to be embedded and visible in your Twitter timeline without needing to click on a link. Additionally, now you'll also be able to view just images and videos uploaded by any Twitter profile using filtered timeline views. 

Any tweets that have received more engagement will be appear larger, so your popular content is even easier to find. 

You'll also be able to pin any important tweet at the top of your feed.

And finally, both your Twitter profile photo and the header image will also appear bigger and dominate the top of your new Twitter profile, much like a Facebook page. 

While this new push towards a timeline view screams that Twitter is trying to become more like Facebook, I think it’s a huge step forward in highlighting visual content. People are drawn to photos and visuals, and it will enable you to tell your brand’s story in a more compelling and cohesive manner. Ultimately, brands will be able to show what they are about, instead of being put into the 140-character box.

Why visuals?

I know people complain every time Twitter makes an update, but I think this change has been a long time coming. There’s been a lot of buzz recently about how visuals communicate better than words. 

Facebook’s photos generate more likes and shares than text, video, or links alone. A HubSpot study found that businesses (both B2B and B2C) who used photos on their Facebook pages received 53% more likes. Posts with photos also attracted 104% more comments than those without. 

If you look up "visual learner" on Google, you'll find that 60% of people are considered visual learners. Visual learning happens when ideas and concepts are communicated through visuals instead of words. 

All you have to do is look at the dramatic rise of infographics to know that visuals are effective and growing in popularity. A Customer Magnetism study showed that high quality infographics were 30 times more likely to be read than text articles. And publishers that featured infographics grew traffic 12% faster than publishers that didn't. 

Twitter has clearly seen these numbers and has modified its service to accommodate the demand for visuals.

How We Plan to Make the Best of These Changes

We believe strongly in the power of visuals and use them to help us run meetings, plan projects, and document our processes. 

It’s a no-brainer to include more visual in our corporate Twitter feed to help us increase engagement and stand out in our followers’ newsfeeds. Instead of just linking to blog posts, videos, or landing pages, we plan to attach infographics, mind maps, Venn diagrams, and other charts as appropriate to our tweets. 

As soon as our account switches over to the new design, we also plan on updating our profile and header images to the larger size.

But you don’t have to be a designer or even hire a designer to do this. There are plenty of tools that can help even a novice spruce up a post with visuals. In general, I recommend staying away from generic stock photos. Pick images that are relevant and can tell a story at a glance.

This is a great opportunity to refresh your brand’s presence on Twitter. Don’t get caught in the trap that others will, by posting the same image from your Facebook company page. Twitter is giving you a great opportunity to highlight your best visual content. Seize the day and stand out.

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