Social Media

Twitter Emphasizes Personali-tweets with New Biz-Specific ‘Contributors’ Feature

December 21, 2009

Last week Twitter announced plans to roll out one its much-anticipated “business-specific features” for businesses currently using the platform to connect with consumers, drive sales, provide real-time customer service and more. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our comprehensive Twitter guide for marketers.

The feature, simply called “Contributors,” is now being tested in a limited beta state and will enable businesses using Twitter to attribute tweets to specific personalities within the organization. According to Twitter, the goal of the feature is to allow users to engage in “more authentic conversations” with brands by granting individual credit to tweets from a generic business handle (such as @wholefoods, @dunkindonuts or even @360i.)

A number of businesses and organizations already manually attribute content to individuals within the tweets themselves. This new feature will automate the process (and salvage some precious 140-character real estate).

At present @CocaCola manually identifies the person behind each of its tweets.

The contributor feature could be especially valuable for brands such as sports teams, which have an interest in maintaining a unified account but could capitalize on the draw of particular players. In the future, perhaps Twitter will allow users to follow feeds, but subscribe to individual tweeters.

That said, brands benefit most when they determine what their voice is, and how personal it is. For customer service, it would generally be helpful to know it’s coming from a person. For promotions, it’s probably not as important. There are many shades of gray, but that should cover two of the most predominant ways brands use Twitter.

Though “Contributors” is a relatively small update to Twitter’s current suite of features, the announcement seems to hint at the platform’s larger monetization strategy – as well as the potential it holds for marketers in the future. This November paidContent reported that premium Twitter accounts – meaning which will include verified streams and an analytics package – will be available by the end of the year.

As brands begin to see significant volumes of traffic to their Web sites from Twitter, it’s becoming increasingly important for them to gain a true understanding of how consumers are interacting with their presences on Twitter itself. Twitter’s upcoming analytics suite could go a long way to delivering those insights.

What do you think of the new feature, and what professional features do you hope to see released in the future? Will the ability to personify tweets help brands better connect with consumers? Or should brands only tweet as brands? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

David Berkowitz, Sr. Director of Emerging Media & Innovation, and Orli Sharaby, Sr. Social Marketing Strategist, contributed to this report.