Twitter has just stepped up their activity on the photo sharing side of things with the launch of a new image gallery feature. Essentially this pulls in photos that users have shared on their profile in chronological order. You can see the most recent photos on someone's profile instantly, but clicking into this brings up an expanded image gallery where you can view all the photos that have been shared via third party apps, showing up to 100 photos from January 2010. This is a great addition by Twitter for users as it not only provides a history of your photo sharing in one easy snapshot, but presents an opportunity for businesses that are willing to make the most out of image sharing, which up until now has not really been a major focus of many corporate Twitter accounts.
What this image gallery provides for businesses is really a free space for advertising on the site, where you have an entire billboard that people can see from your profile. Companies can make use of smart photo sharing here, for example sharing photos of latest coupons or offers, and directing people to their Twitter image gallery to view all the offers. This provides a new way for people to engage with you and discover relevant offers that you have available. What Twitter has given businesses here is a whole new page of web real estate that can be used for advertising purposes. While some may view this as a slightly cynical use of the new feature - it gives people what they want, mainly free stuff and offers - in a way that is easy to digest.
Share photos more often
With the new image gallery, users can now see instantly how much value added content you're really sharing. If they expand your image gallery and see only a few images, or a significant lag in the latest photos that have been shared, the account will appear less active and personable. Now more than ever, companies should be making use of photos on Twitter to increase engagement around the content being shared and provide users with something other than a standard tweet or a link. Of course this has to be balanced as there's no point sharing a photo at every possible occasion if it's not that interesting or useful. So think about the kind of content you can access and how this can be regularly shared with your fans to add more value to your account.
Feature your followers
Including a regular 'fan of the week' feature is popular on many Facebook pages, where the company highlights their favourite fan of that week through the profile image. This is a great opportunity for companies to give something back to their fans, by uploading profile pictures of their four favourite Twitter followers that week and given them a little something back, such as a free gift. It can completely personalise your corporate profile and show that you're as much about the people you follow as you are the content you push out.
Tell a story
There is something special in the way that the Twitter gallery works, by providing people with a clean and simple history of your photos, with images and the accompanying tweets in chronological order. Imagine you're landing on your company profile for the first time and you click into images, what kind of story would you like your images to tell? Here you can personalise your company and tell a unique story that people can engage with. This could be a regular feature such as sharing photos of your latest employees or new products that allow people to see a little bit more of your company than they normally would. It is a unique opportunity to share the story of your organisation and personalise your Twitter profile in a whole new way.
A picture worthy of a retweet
With images now being discoverable in this way, where it's as easy to view a photo shared three months as it is one shared three hours ago, your photos need to have longevity. Where once you only had a few minutes to catch someone's attention with an image shared, this has now drastically changed. Think about the kind of photos you can share that really contribute to creating valuable or entertaining content. If I see the picture three weeks later, would I still want to share it with my friends? This represents a new part of your social media strategy or content plan that needs real consideration. Instead of photos being something that you do on an ad hoc basis, make sure you have a plan for how this can support your business use of Twitter, while obviously remaining flexible so that not everything is rigidly planned.