Last week, Twitter announced “custom timelines” as its newest post-IPO profile feature. Custom timelines allow users to curate tweets manually or automatically via API if you want to be fancy.
Users can now direct fellow tweeters to a hand-selected stream of tweets by simply sharing a TweetDeck-created link. A custom timeline may be hosted with its own Twitter page, like this example from “The Voice” host Carson Daly, or embedded directly into a website, like Politico’s Tweet Hub.
What does this mean for digital marketers?
On the most basic level, custom timelines make tweets easily digestible. To the untrained eye, tweets may look like a foreign, shorthand language. Given Twitter’s recent IPO, custom timelines could be a play to attract new users by simplifying the sporadic nature of chronologically based timeline tweets. While Twitter avoided repeating Facebook’s IPO debacle, the micro blogging network still has a long way to go in competing for a comparable share of the U.S. market. Custom timelines may be the user-friendly push Twitter needs to significantly expand its user base.
In addition to the broader audience appeal, marketers can leverage custom timelines to boost both onsite content and engagement directly within Twitter.
Supports Fresh Onsite Content
As shown in the aforementioned Politico example, custom timelines provide an easy, effective way to add fresh content to your website via programmable API. This is yet another opportunity to signal fresh on-page content to search engines.
Encourages Meaningful Social Engagement with Brands
Also, custom timelines offer a new way to support the growing popularity of Twitter chats. Twitter chats are live conversations between Twitter users that are organized with an agreed upon time and hashtag. Check out IBM’s popular #cloudchat as an example. Previously, users were left to third party apps or manual Twitter search to follow chats, but custom timelines now offer a native solution to this activity.
Rest-assured these use cases are just the beginning. As the custom timeline API rolls out of beta, we can certainly expect to see creative brands implementing the new feature to reach niche groups and give live events an added online visibility boost.
Are you planning to give custom timelines a try? Let us know in the comments!