Today, Mashable published an article highlighting Twitter’s launch of a new website titled “Twitter Stories“, which highlights the five-year-old social media platform’s “handful of stunning ways that the micro-blogging service has made a positive impact on people’s lives,” in the words of the Washington Post.
The site highlights 10-12 tweets that somehow evolved into an unlikely story, from a tweet that connected a kidney donor to a desperate recipient to the tweets of Japanese fishermen who sell their fresh catch before they even return to the shore.
As a Twitter user myself, I found this captivating. And from a marketing and public relations standpoint, I think this is fabulously thought out and constructed. Here’s why:
1. Videos, VIDEOS, Videos! – Twitter chose a simple one-column layout for the stories site, and the simple aesthetic works because the homepage is nothing but the videos of the stories featured. It looks like a Twitter Pinterest account. Clean, pretty, to the point. Visitors can also find blurbs (appropriately curt with 140 words or less) about the stories via links on the homepage. This layout is smart for a number of reasons, but there are several that stand out. First, it’s clear Twitter has an understanding that unique content is beneficial to improve SEO and site attraction. Second, visual is more appealing and often more viral (ever been sent a video on YouTube?) and Twitter is really capitalizing on those facts.
2. Twitter testimonies touch the emotions AND the mind: Sure, everybody gives an ear when Twitter (or outside sources) publishes stats, legitimate or speculative as they may be, about how it’s positioned to eventually usurp Facebook, how it’s the most powerful micro-blogging platform out there, etc. Okay, Twitter, you’re going to take over the world–we get it. But how do we know for sure? Personal testimonials provide the unique, human-centered appeal to pathos that we as marketers aim for. No, these videos can’t inherently serve as proof for any of that research, but they sure do make all those claims about the global power of Twitter, and other social media, seem more credible don’t they? Twitter is really hitting a double marketing whammy: The company gets to show off its reach, human impact and range of creative usability all while connecting emotionally with existing Twitter users and non-tweeters who are late to the social media game, too. Not to mention, Twitter is essentially creating its own idea incubator. Existing users will be inspired to come up with new ways to tweet and inspired newbies will want to join the movement, too.
All in all, Twitter is expanding the existing perception of the site as a real-time news outlet and way to spread revolutionary social ideas to include a personal, tangible, heartwarming, human element to its platform and purpose. WA-BAM! Now, the way I see it, that’s smart marketing.
Twitter says it will update the stories every month and is already accepting submissions for December. Tweet at @TwitterStories with your story or attach the hashtag #twitterstories to a particular tweet to submit your feature-worthy Twitter story! I already have. :D
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