In an effort to bring more context to tweets and expand upon its location-based functionality , Twitter introduced Twitter Places yesterday , which allows users to associate tweets with specific places, and gives each place a dedicated Twitter page. The new feature will be rolled out to users on twitter.com and mobile.twitter.com over the next week, so if you don't have the new functionality yet, hang in there -- it's coming!
How Twitter Places Works:
- Tagging Tweets With Places: When users tag their tweets with a particular place (e.g. a local business, restaurant, stadium, museum, what have you), their subsequent tweets will be associated with that location (see image above). Users will know the new feature has been rolled out to them when the "Add Your Location" link appears below the Tweet box. (For help, visit the Twitter Help Center .)
- Mapping: Also seen in the above image, when users roll their mouse over a location associated with a person's tweet, they'll be shown a map.
- Dedicated Place Pages: Clicking "Tweets about this place -->" will bring the user to a dedicated page, or Twitter Place, for that location, showing recent tweets and check-ins (that's right, it's integrated with Foursquare and Gowalla!) associated with that particular place.
- API and Additional Browser Use: Along with the Twitter Places launch, Twitter is also releasing API functionality and Twitter Places functionality for more web browsers (Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox).
If you think Twitter's new feature sounds a lot like Google Places (formerly known as Google's Local Business Center) , you're right; there are definitely some similarities. Right now, Twitter Places only shows the tweets/check-ins associated with a specific place, but Twitter definitely has an opportunity to take it to the next level by giving every business a home on Twitter, just like Google Places does. By incorporating additional features such as the ability for businesses to build profiles on their Place page, Twitter could make their offering a preferred and much more functional alternative to Google Places for business owners.
The Meaning for Marketers
Hey marketers and business owners: has the light bulb gone off in your head yet? Think about it, if people visit the Twitter Place page associated with your business, they're going to check out the tweets and check-ins listed on that page. If that person has no prior relationship with your brand, that feed is going to have an impact on his/her first impression of your business.
So what can you do to help make their first impression a good one? While you have no control over what visitors to your place of business will tweet, you do have an opportunity to own some the tweets listed on your Place page. Is there a special promotion or discount you're publicizing? Make sure you associate your tweet (and your corporate Twitter account ) with your business' place before you tweet about your promotions so it appears on your Place page.
Are you a B2B company without a storefront? Again, make sure your corporate Twitter account is associated with your office location before you tweet about your content, etc. You can also ask some of your employees who are on Twitter to associate their tweets with your business' location while they're at work, enabling visitors to your Twitter Place to connect with your employees.
What other ways do you think Twitter Places will be beneficial to businesses?
Webinar: Twitter for Marketing and PR
Download the free webinar for tips and tricks to drive inbound marketing using Twitter.