Photo galleries will change the way businesses use Twitter

All those pictures you’ve been posting to Twitter using third-party apps, such as Instagram or TwitPic, will appear on your Twitter profile starting Monday.

According to the announcement,the galleries will automatically display the 100 most recent imagesthat a given user has shared through Twitter,pulling images from as far back as January 2010.

You can display the new galleries either in a grid view or asa list, which shows when each image was shared along with theaccompanying tweet.

For now, you’ll still have to use one of these third-party apps to snapa photo and instantly tweet it. Yet, Twitter’s push to become moreimage-centric could have huge implications on businesses’ communicationstrategies across the platform. Image sharing–now common but bynomeans ubiquitous–could spark a serious shift in the way the platformis used now that you’ll be able to scan a user’s image historyalongside their tweets.

Image galleries could become much more than an afterthought forTwitter, and this could have huge implications for the way yourbusiness uses it.

Does your company tweet images? If not, get started. The good news isthat you can use any of the third-party image apps, and when Twitterrolls out its new service, they’ll aggregate and display whateveryou’ve shared so far.

Here are somebrief tips on sharing images via Twitter:

Don’t spam
Snapping a pic of every product your company offers and pushing it ontoyour followers is a good way to get unfollowed. (Fortunately, you candelete archived images in the new galleries.)

Use high-quality pictures
This doesn’t mean you need high-resolution photos (smartphone pics areokay), but share images of your business, employees, or products thatyou would be proud showing off to anyone, because they’ll now all bearchived on your profile.

Because many business owners have limited time to spend on social mediasites, there is a tendency to share, but not respond. This is a wastedopportunity. Even for business owners with limited time, responding toinquiries or concerns is a powerful way to strengthen existingrelationships and broaden your appeal. Snapping a picture to addressconcerns or answer questions about your products will demonstrate thatyou’re willing to make the extra effort to engage. And now that extraeffort will be archived for all to see.

Get everyone involved
Let’s face it, communicating on Twitter can take up the whole day.Lighten the load by setting clear guidelines for images and othercommunication, and let employees snap and share pictures on yourcompany’s behalf. But stay involved and make sure the images coming outof your Twitter account are in line with your company’s values.

Have a conversation using your images
Designing a new shoe? Snap a pic of the prototype and ask yourcommunity to weigh in. Take their input seriously. Chances are, they’llbe the folks buying the product. This will also create a compellingvisual narrative through the new Twitter image galleries. So, forexample, users could see the shoe going from the sketch to prototype tofinal completion.

Twitter’s new gallery platform shouldn’t be mistaken as another add-on.It could drastically change the way the platform is used, by consumersand businesses. After all, images speak a thousand words, and theydon’t take up any character counts.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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