This was inevitable. Twitter has added photo and video previews that users see when they log onto the social network from the Web or a mobile device. The move comes just ahead of Twitter’s IPO next week, as the company looks to feature more multimedia elements and expand its appeal among consumers.
The change—which is in keeping with the ongoing arms race among all the social networks to add more visual appeal—is one more reason for PR pros to make visuals part of their social media efforts. (Instagram, the photo-sharing service that’s owned by Facebook, recently started selling visual ads.)
With the change, tweets will still show up in chronological order, with the most recent first, according to The New York Times. Tweets that contain photos or Vine links (Twitter owns Vine) will automatically preview those images, the Times added.
While the move is most likely an effort to garner more online ad dollars, it holds several repercussions for PR pros. No longer just text, Twitter now boosts its appeal for brands that want to communicate their messages via visuals, pictures and videos.
Countless studies have shown that consumers are more likely to click on a message via tweet, Facebook post or LinkedIn message, if it’s accompanied by a visual image.
The move may not harbor the demise of print, but certainly pushes visual messaging closer to the top of the PR food chain.
To learn more about how to tell your story with pictures and videos attend PR News' Visual Storytelling Workshop, which takes place November 5 at New York City's Grand Hyatt.
Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1