After months of rumored testing, small business owners can finally get a glimpse of the forthcoming Twitter Business Center, which boasts several impressive new features to help them connect with customers. Mashable has the full scoop (with screenshots) of the new Twitter console and there’s lots of promising features to talk about.
First off, don’t get too excited: The TBC is currently only available to select accounts where Twitter has already turned on the switch, but it’s expected that the rollout will continue on a gradual basis. And, of course, some folks already have it. Mashable shows that a very small group of business owners have already started to receive emails inviting them to test the Twitter Toolkit.
After receiving the invite, users can access a new Business tab in their settings to activate the features. Once there, businesses owners are asked to fill in some additional information about their company, including contact info and if they identify as a small business, large company or an individual/group.
Here are some key features to look forward to:
- Verified Business Accounts: Because trust is key in social media, the ability to receive a Verified Twitter account may help many small business owners increase trust in customer’s eyes. Previously Verified Twitter accounts have only been available to individuals. By expanding this, Twitter helps small business owners gain some street cred with their customers and helps show them that the business is serious about engaging. No more wondering if the account belongs to a company you trust or just someone pretending to be them.
- DM Customers You’re Not Following: This is a big one. Once this goes into effect, business owners will be able to have private conversations with customers without having to directly follow them on Twitter. This will aid customer service issues and will also prevent business owners from having to mass follow everyone in order to allow interaction. Businesses essentially get to take back their Twitter accounts and customers can interact with the brands that are important to them without having to do it in full view of the public. Business will have to choose to make this option available so, if for some reason, you DON’T want customers to be able to DM you, you can still stick your head in the sand. This feature alone has the potential to really increase a SMBs ability to improve customer service.
- Contributors Tab: This is one we knew was coming. The new Contributors tab will allow business owners to add multiple users to a business account to make it easier for multiple people to tweet under that name. It should prove very handy for managing and streamlining accounts.
Overall, it looks like Twitter is taking some serious steps to making Twitter more business-friendly and giving companies the tools they need to better manage their accounts. There’s no word on when the Twitter Business Center will be available to all users or if Twitter plans to charge for the new features. I suspect we’ll be hearing quite a bit more in the coming weeks about just what Twitter’s up to and how you can benefit as a small business owner.
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The contributors tab is key, hopefully it will allow different access levels and connect personal twitter accounts (employees) to the business account.
Verified accounts will be great, but the whole DM thing will probably be a little confusing at first. Personally I would be puzzled to get a DM from some Twitter account I’d never heard about, but I’m sure that they’ll put in some type of controls so business DM spammers don’t become rampant.
This looks like a great thing. It won’t be free.
(Maybe it shouldn’t be.)
The Franchise King
Penny Feigel, IAC-EZ
Being able to direct message someone without following is a great plus. Anything that Twitter does to increase communication between a company and their clients, is going to help.
Twitter Business Center is bound to convince the few remaining business that don’t use Twitter for some reason to start looking into it. Business owners, blog owners, and website owners will have a much better rounded Twitter toolkit to use without having to go to third-party applications and websites. Third-party applications often become a valuable tool for the first-party, as they can see all the features that users are desiring. This is especially true for blog networks with that Contributors tab, as multiple users will keep Twitter users from searching around for the best third-party app that can fill that feature that some require.