Yesterday Twitter announced custom timelines—a new feature that gives “you more control over how Tweets are organized and delivered.” This feature is planned for a wider release in the next few days.
I can already think of several cool things a business could do with this feature:
Custom content for custom audiences
Twitter says you could organize a timeline based on themes and events, but businesses could also use this to customize communication to different audiences. The simplest example could be a clothing store that sells to both men and women. They could have different timelines for men and women where they share tweets specific to each audience.
Live testimonials for the website
Custom timelines can be embedded on web pages, which means you could bring together all complimentary and congratulatory tweets about your business on one page. It could be a very powerful way of sharing positive word-of-mouth even with customers who don’t use Twitter.
For improving customer service
Depending on how Twitter allows you to manage visibility of your custom timelines, you could consider creating one to bring together all customer complaints. It will allow you to keep a closer watch on all negative conversations and respond more quickly to them.
This brings me to my wishlist of features that would make Custom Timelines seriously awesome.
Ability to have public and private timelines
This would make it convenient for businesses to create groups of tweets they want to see but may or may not want to make public. For example, with VendAsta’s platform, you could divide all your Twitter mentions as “Positive,” “Negative,” or “Neutral” so you could see exactly what people are saying about you and respond where necessary.
Ability to follow a custom timeline
This would enable true segmentation for businesses where a group of customers can follow only those timelines that matter to them. This might even improve conversion rates for businesses as people will be able to follow specific updates easily and avoid unwanted ones from the same business.
Allowing public timelines to appear on the Twitter profile page
The only way of discovering other people’s custom timelines that I currently see is via TweetDeck — unless someone tweets about their custom timelines. However, just like the “Tweets,” “Following,” and “Followers” links, if Twitter would allow custom timelines to be included in a menu, that would work extremely well for users to access the timelines they care about.
Custom timelines is definitely a great new addition to Twitter’s feature list. It would be interesting to see how it develops over time and the creative ways in which users put it to work. Here’s an example of a custom timeline created by Carson Daly, host of The Voice:
(Photo courtesy of Shawn Campbell)