With Collage Feature, Twitter Has New Storytelling Potential

Twitter recently unleashed a new collage feature for mobile that lets users share up to four photos in one tweet. Yahoo Finance was quick to ask, “Do brands care?”

The answer: They should.

The quad-photo feature packs some serious storytelling potential; after all, you can tell much more of a story in a series of four images than you can in just one. Brands could reinvent the comic, or up their behind-the-scenes game. In fact, we’ve already seen brands start to experiment with quad photos on another social network: Instagram.

The Ellen Show, which Nitrogram named the number one growing brand on Instagram, essentially created a storyboard for one of the funniest moments from a recent challenge.

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Using a similar collage setup, LeBron James represented his personal brand and thanked fans with a recap of the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.

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But these creations aren’t native to Instagram’s platform. Instead, users have picked up companion apps such as Photo Grid, Pic Stitch, and Diptic to segment their hipster-fied images.

Twitter’s new feature, built right into the platform, adds some serious strength to their mobile game. And it didn’t take long for a few major brands to jump in and test the waters.

What brands have done so far

General Electric used the feature to piece together text from an inspirational message.

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Chips Ahoy tried out the multiple choice angle, teasing sweet-toothed followers.

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Shock Top Brewing went the instructional route with a handy, four-step guide to the perfect pour.

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YouTube offered a sneak peek of one star-studded playlist from Funny or Die:

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Along with the quad-photo rollout, Twitter is also letting you tag up to 10 people in a picture without using any of your precious 140 characters. But with these features being only a couple of weeks old, there’s still plenty of room for content marketers to tell multimedia stories and engage with consumers in creative ways.

What the future holds

By the next fashion week, major labels will be able to tweet their runway looks four outfits at a time. Showrunners who love to tease upcoming episodes can offer four-part clues or riddles. Entertainment brands can hold fan contests and tag winners in photos. #FollowFridays might get a big boost if companies start tagging their selections in images.

But what about that potential for narrative storytelling? We’re not really seeing it in full blast yet, but there have been some attempts.

For instance, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon used the collage feature to break down the creation of GIF backstage.

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And Danny Sullivan, editor of Marketing Land, has been documenting the new features of Windows 8.1.

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It still might be a little while before companies find their footing with Twitter’s new feature. That just means there’s a huge opportunity for your brand to break the mold and set the bar for brand publishers everywhere.

What’s the deal with The Content Strategist? At Contently, storytelling is the only marketing we do, and it works wonders. It could for you, too. Learn more.

Image by Nancy L. Stockdale

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