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How Government Orgs Can Stay on Top of Twitter’s New Design

Bird-TwitterRecently Twitter announced that, like it or not, on May 28th all user profiles will officially switch over to a new layout. The design, which many people have referred to as “Facebook-esque,” introduces a number of new features and focuses much more heavily on images and video. In addition to a larger cover picture and profile picture (similar to Facebook’s existing profile and cover image layout), profiles will also now include the ability to separate user feeds into “all Tweets,” “Tweets and replies,” or “photos/videos,” allowing those viewing your profile to switch between streams. With the new profile design Twitter is also introducing the ability to “pin” certain Tweets at the top of your page, and will automatically increase the size of Tweets that garner the most engagement (retweets, favorites, and replies).

Though the new design doesn’t officially roll out to all users for a couple more weeks, some government agencies have already jumped ahead of the curve and are embracing the change with updated strategies. US Department of Interior, for example, is one agency that is using the new design to its full potential. Because its Twitter feed was largely image-based already, the new layout works particularly well for highlighting and sharing its most popular, engaging content.


Here are a few important things your organization can do to stay on top of Twitter’s new look:

Get a strong cover image

With a size of 1500×500 pixels, Twitter’s new cover image provides a lot of visually rich real estate to make your organization’s branding pop. Just make sure that whatever image you end up using is high resolution and has the right dimensions, otherwise you run the risk of having your stakeholders’ first impression of your profile be pixelated and likely confusing.

Pin your most important messages

As we mentioned earlier, the new design will allow you to pin specific Tweets to the top of your feed. This means that information or calls to action that are most timely or important can become the first thing citizens see when they visit your profile, without you having to Tweet the same information over and over again. Be strategic about what you choose to pin to the top!

Take advantage of visuals

Studies have shown that Tweets and Facebook posts that include images or videos are far more likely to spur engagement than those without. Twitter’s new design takes full advantage of this knowledge by letting users view a separate stream of only those Tweets that include visuals. That means that some of your followers might choose to only look at that stream on your profile, so take extra care to make all your visuals “count” or to at least make sure you’re including visuals.

Though these changes to Twitter’s design aren’t all that drastic overall, they serve as yet another reminder of how important it is not to make social media the core of your communications plan. When you put all your eggs in Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram’s basket, then you’re completely at the whim of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By making a multichannel communications strategy (including email, SMS, and social) the foundation of your strategy, you know that your organization will always maintain control.

Have you already implemented the new Twitter design on your page? Are you dreading the change? Let us know in the comments.