Pinned tweets (the ability to "sticky" one of your tweets to the top of your Twitter feed for an indefinite period) was introduced earlier this year "so [that] it’s easy for your followers to see what you’re all about."
While this is true, I'd argue that pinned tweets are even more powerful as a way to grab the attention of non-followers; anybody who happens upon your Twitter feed, and who you have the opportunity to influence with a non-moving "banner," guaranteed to be the first thing they see. Big businesses utilise pinned tweets in all manner of ways and for many different purposes, so let's take a look at some real life examples to help inspire your own activity:
1. Highlighting shareable, inspirational content
IAMS captures viewers' attention with a heart warming image and a thought-provoking caption. While not overtly promotional, it's the type of content that people love to share, which in turn will provide the brand with exposure to a wider audience.
2. Promoting contests and giveaways
Social media contests normally run only for a short period of time, so it is important to provide them with as much promotional activity as possible, in order to garner the maximum amount of entries. In this example, Mr Kipling pins a tweet to give the spotlight to it's weekly giveaway.
3. Sharing offers and discounts
A Valassis Shopper Marketing report published earlier this year found that "Seventy-one percent of shoppers admitted that they have actively searched for a coupon online after hearing about it on social media" and "40 percent shared or traded coupons on social media in 2013, up from 30 percent in 2012." With statistics like these, it's no wonder businesses are keen to share and highlight such promotional deals on social media. Pampers is one such business, sharing a money-off coupon via a pinned tweet.
4. Highlighting products and deals
As we'll see in examples below, timeliness is one of the most crucial elements of a pinned tweet. If your product offering and demographic calls for it, I quite like the idea of changing your pinned tweet often - even daily - to highlight time-limited deals. This strategy has a couple of benefits: it keeps your Twitter feed active and fresh for potential new followers, and creates a sense of expectation and urgency amongst existing followers. If the latter group knows they usually miss a "pick of the day" tweet when it initially hits the feed, they may choose to make a dedicated visit to see what it is - and they'll find it easily, because it will be pinned.
5. Spotlighting news and updates
The pinned tweet spot is a useful destiniation for announcements and updates, that might otherwise be more difficult to find. Your Twitter account will often be the first destination for customers who are looking for important information about your business, so pinning the tweet makes it easy to spot. In the above example, Butterfinger uses a pinned tweet + video link to answer an FAQ about the availability of one of its products.
6. Jumping on trends / topical events
To take advantage of its partnership with the NFL and time it with the start of the new American football season, Duracell pinned the above tweet to promote one of its products at the most advantageous time. Interestingly, at the time of writing - almost a month later - that pinned tweet is still there. Obviously, the NFL season runs for a long while so the message still has relevance, but you want to be careful for it to get too stale.
7. Promoting other social networks / content
Have a cool new blog post you want to shout about? Want to encourage more people to follow you on other social networks? Pinned tweets are a useful way to go about it. The example above from Sephora - as with the others in this blog post - all feature pinned tweets accompanied by images (or videos). While text-only pinned tweets are okay, studies consistently show that images on social media are more effective at capturing people's attention, so do include one if you can. After all, a pinned tweet with an image is like a free billboard "advert" at the top of your feed.
Over to you
Do you use pinned tweets as part of your content strategy? Have the examples above inspired you to introduce or tweak your strategy? Let me know in the comments below!
Andrew Macarthy is a social media consultant and the author of the #1 Amazon Web Marketing Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.