A result of technological advances and shorter-than-ever attention spans, the ‘visual web’ is transforming the way we digest content online. Nowhere is this more apparent than on social networks, where text and images are locked in a battle for dominance.
In many ways the rise to prominence of visual content plays into the hands of online retailers with products to promote, and increasingly image-focussed social networks are proving to be great tools for customer acquisition. Twitter in particular offers brands a host of opportunities to capture the attention of potential customers with compelling imagery. Here are four ways of making the most of what the platform has to offer.
1) Twitter cards
Over the past few years, Twitter has gradually rolled out ‘cards’, offering brands a variety of options for ‘attaching media experiences’ to their tweets. For our purposes, this means the ability to attach images and rich media to tweets that will entice readers to click, share and (hopefully) buy. Here are the options most relevant to online retailers:
Great for: increasing product visibility and driving traffic to specific products on your website.
By using this specific markup on your product pages, Twitter lets you promote your offerings with a large image, a description and two other key details about your product (such as price, sizing, customer ratings, availability etc.). Not convinced? Furniture retailer Harveys trebled their click through using them.
Twitter product card examples:
Etsy: using key details to promote click throughs
ModCloth.com: using striking images and extended product descriptions
Tea At Two Top in Royal http://t.co/sWq5HF1qIm— ModCloth.com (@ModCloth1stLook) June 11, 2013
Great for: showcasing multiple items in a new product range, or tempting would-be buyers in with the same item from multiple angles.
Another of Twitter’s custom cards, ‘gallery’ cards let brands showcase up to four photos using the markup found here.
Twitter gallery card examples:
ASOS: driving engagement through an image-led competition
M&S: promoting items in its mid season sale
Lead generation cards
Great for: online retailers promoting an offer or deal on Twitter.
Available to those on its advertising network, Twitter’s lead gen cards show users an image, a description of the offer and a call to action, and their details are then shared seamlessly with you without them having to fill in any form (more about them here).
(Secret hack alert! Read this post from Moz on how to do this without having to pay to advertise)
Twitter lead generation card examples (click through to Twitter to see full image extension):
DropWines: driving online membership
Wine at exclusive 'at cost' prices? Join the DropWines VIP Club for the best deals! - Get your FREE trial - https://t.co/pMqr1YvjHu— dropwines (@dropwines) July 4, 2013
Amazon: driving competition entries
Don’t forget deep links!
If you have a mobile app, be sure to use Twitter’s deep linking function, which will automatically link the content of your tweet with the relevant page in your app, making it easy for people to seamlessly move between the two. More on that here.
2) Twitter image previews
Great for: making your tweets stand out from the crowd in the Twittersphere.
It’ll cost you a handful of your 140 characters, but adding images to tweets has become a must for capturing the attention of casual browsers since Twitter started showing image previews in peoples’ timelines last year. There’s no limit to the amount of text these images can incorporate, so be sure to get creative with engaging copy.
Examples of great use of Twitter images:
Bonobos: promoting the retailer's Spring sale
New Look: promoting a product range
Great for: piquing the interest of Twitter followers with motion and sound in a six-second snippet.
As with images, Twitter now includes previews of Vine videos in users’ news feeds. Not only are they relatively cheap to produce, but research suggests that brand Vines are shared four times more than any other type of video - a worthy investment!
Examples of brands using Vine on Twitter:
Argos: promoting a bank holiday weekend competition
Trident: a fun product promotion
4) Profile imagery
Best for: making a great first impression when users land on your profile.
Twitter’s latest round of upgrades to user profiles have seen enlarged profile pictures (now 400px x 400px) and prominent cover images.
Examples of strong brand Twitter cover images:
Love Miss Daisy