Back in 2010, when Apple unveiled the new operating system for iPhones, iPods and iPads, iOS5, one of the most talked-about features was the integration the new iOS had with the social network Twitter. iOS users would connect one or more Twitter accounts within their phone’s settings and wouldn’t have to keep logging into Twitter going forward. What’s more, the ability to quickly send a tweet was built right into the Notification Center. This development enabled Twitter to instantly triple its iOS sign-ups.
A year later, Facebook received a similar treatment, though with less fanfare. Perhaps posting to social media from your notification center had become passé.
This year, with the announcement of iOS7 comes even deeper Twitter integration. And once again, it’s Twitter that’s hand-picked by Apple to support new innovative features.
First, Twitter and iTunes now play together, with the ability to now check out tracks on your phone that are trending on Twitter’s #Music service.
And Siri gets into the game as well. When users use Siri to search for something, they’ll be searching a combination of Bing search results and Tweets on the topic.
And those developments are cool, but what’s potentially game-changing for businesses is how Twitter is now being integrated into Safari, the default web browser for iOS.
Safari is actually getting a lot of tweaks and upgrades, but what stands out here is a feature called Shared Links, which will also be available on OS Maverick, Apple’s new desktop OS that will be available later this year.
Shared Links will exist as a tab within Safari – part of the Bookmarks – displaying tweets from your Twitter connections that contain links.
That means if you’re sharing links to your business or articles on Twitter, for people who are following you, your tweets will show up in their Shared Links tab.
Now, it remains to be seen how much this feature will be used. For some, like myself, who are already following thousands, it seems unlikely that we would use Shared Links for any kind of serious searching or content curation. But perhaps for many others, if they’re being more selective of who they follow, particularly local businesses, this might really help raise awareness of your brand and message.
So what should businesses do to prepare?
- Make sure you have a business or personal branded Twitter account.
- Focus on connecting with potential customers and influencers in your industry.
- Have a content strategy in place (blogging).
- Regularly create great new content and share it to Twitter.
- Be selective about what else you share and retweet and make sure that it’s helpful and on-topic.
Fortunately, these are items that, frankly, you should be doing anyways. I’m not advocating anything special just for iOS7 – that way if Shared Links doesn’t pan out, you haven’t wasted any time. Connecting with targeted Twitter users and sharing great content is going to help you in countless other ways.
And if people use Shared Links as much as Apple and Twitter think they will, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Please share your thoughts and opinions on Shared Links and iOS7 below, and if you have questions about how to better integrate Twitter into your business marketing, or if you just need help with social media in general, please contact me.