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NASCAR: The Future of Branded Hash Tags on Twitter

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The Challenge: Twitter just unveiled major changes to how they handle branded hash tags. Marketers have to act quickly to keep up.

Twitter ran their first TV ad last week. Their target audience? Marketers.

The ad ran during TNT's June 10 broadcast of the NASCAR Pocono 400, and featured NASCAR's branded hash tag: #NASCAR. Viewers who searched that tag got a glimpse into the future of Twitter hash tags.

In the past, hash tag searches on Twitter simply took users to a standard search results page. With #NASCAR, Twitter has introduced major changes to branded hash tags.

UPDATES TO BRANDED HASH TAGS ON TWITTER

» Brand pages now have a new URL: e.g., twitter.com/#NASCAR rather than twitter.com/!#/NASCAR.

» Searching #NASCAR takes users to a branded NASCAR page, with brand imagery and logos.

» The new page also included a showcase of images from recent tweets, and "Top People" associated with #NASCAR.

A few days before the ad ran, Omar Ashtari, Twitter's head of sports, called the pending updates to Twitter.com/#NASCAR an "experiment." But once the changes were revealed, industry watchers came to a different conclusion. As Owen Thomas wrote at Business Insider, "We don't think this is an experiment as much as it is a harbinger for how Twitter is going to revamp its site to be a far better showcase for advertising."

The new pages promise to be a great experience for users -- and great experiences for users translate to high value for marketers. They just need to make sure they're ready when Twitter unveils the update to all businesses.

PREPARING FOR TWITTER'S NEW HASH TAG PAGES:

» Select a Memorable Branded Hash Tag
Customers will talk about you on Twitter, whether or not you're involved. Select a hash tag for your brand, and it will be much easier for you to monitor and moderate the conversation about your products and services.

» Prepare to Brand Your Twitter Homepage
The new #NASCAR page includes a brand logo and a prominent background image. Once Twitter makes these new pages available to all businesses, you'll need to have these ready. (If you currently manage a Facebook Timeline page, you probably have these assets already.)

» Drive Multimedia Tweets
Twitter's new hash tag pages prominently display photos from recent tweets. If nobody includes photos in tweets related to your brand, this showcase will remain stale―or empty. Add multimedia in your own tweets, and give users a way to engage with more than just text.

» Implement a Social Media Disaster Plan
Every time you make it easier for your customers to engage, you make it easier for them to communicate negative experiences. With a social media disaster plan, you'll be prepared to deal with these situations, rather than handling them ad hoc.

Ernan Roman is President of the marketing consultancy, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing.
Recognized as the industry pioneer who created three transformational methodologies: Integrated Direct Marketing, Opt-In Marketing, and Voice of Customer Relationship Research.

Ernan was recently inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Clients include Microsoft, NBC Universal, Disney, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

2010-12-08-ernan.jpgErnan was named to "B to B's Who's Who" as one of the "100 most influential people" in Business Marketing by Crain's B to B Magazine.

His fourth and latest book on marketing best practices is titled: Voice of the Customer Marketing: A Proven 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay.

Ernan is also the co-author of "Opt-In Marketing: Increase Sales Exponentially with Consensual Marketing" and author of "Integrated Direct Marketing: The Cutting Edge Strategy for Synchronizing Advertising, Direct Mail, Telemarketing and Field Sales."

www.erdm.com
ernan@erdm.com