Oneupweb Reviews : The Twitter Brand Page Rollout

Since the announcement of new Twitter “brand pages” in December, most socially savvy CMOs have naturally asked the question:

“How do we get one?”

In late January, Twitter answered: Get in line. Oh, and on top of that, you’ll need to be a $25k+ advertising partner to even qualify for the initial rollout. A few nonprofits will get the pages, too.

So, essentially: You’re not getting one – unless you’re big like Coca-Cola or we’re feeling charitable. A short and to-the-point kind of answer from the company that invented communication in 140 characters. Not exactly the kind of answer most CMOs were looking for.

The American Red Cross' new Twitter brand page
Twitter has begun rolling out brand pages to select advertising partners and nonprofits.

So what’s next? A quick review of Twitter’s latest short and to-the-point moves on brand pages:

1) Twitter is late to the party.

Sometimes I catch myself feeling sorry for Twitter like you might feel sorry for a younger sibling that, for all their obvious uniqueness and worth, just can’t quite live up to the expectations set by the older brother or sister. Facebook is that older sibling: the All-American, the Valedictorian, the Prom Queen of the social landscape. Facebook wrote the book on brand pages. Now Twitter is struggling with the screenplay.

2) Twitter looks desperate.

Twitter’s early struggle to monetize itself was once a favorite topic of social media cocktail hours – gossip that’s been effectively crushed by 2013 ad revenue projections of $400+ million. Both facts, however,  make Twitter’s decision to limit brand pages to $25k+ advertisers particularly dangerous from a PR perspective. One makes the company appear financially unstable; the other makes it appear selfish. Again, Facebook isn’t making things any easier: if the world’s largest social network can offer free brand pages, why can’t Twitter?

3) Twitter is overplaying its hand.

When presented with a problem, ask yourself what Tim Gunn would do. There’s only one answer. Tim Gunn would make it work. And that’s exactly what Twitter’s brand pages were supposed to do. But the road of online ventures is paved with good intentions and littered with MySpace’s, Friendster’s and Google Wave’s. The Waste Land of Tomorrow is a Netscape. Twitter’s brand pages are a great idea in theory, but when the time came to execute, the company hasn’t just failed to make it work… It’s actually made it worse – and risks making itself look arrogant and out of touch in the process.

Keep Calm
Twitter's brand page rollout ignores Tim Gunn's famous advice.

Bottom Line: It’s tough growing up in the shadow of Facebook. But just because you didn’t make it to the White House doesn’t mean reality TV is your next best option. At Oneupweb, we say save the digital drama for your mama. It’s time for Twitter to quit playing games – and just make it work.

What do you think of Twitter’s brand page rollout strategy?