3 Approaches to Paid Promotion on Twitter
Twitter has been an unofficial advertising platform since its beginnings, and has been a natural fit for services like Pay4Tweet and deals where celebrities are paid to mention certain products. But as brands began to develop their overall social media presence, and found the value of producing content specifically for Twitter and engaging with users, Twitter introduced “Promoted Tweets.” Earlier this week, they introduced the same concept for Twitter on mobile devices. This allowed a single tweet to appear at the top of a list of Twitter search results, similar to a Google AdWords placement. This strategy is similar to Facebook’s “sponsored stories,” which increase the visibility of branded posts in the Newsfeed and on the right hand column. I have noticed three distinct approaches to promoting content on Twitter recently, and each involves a different level of brand control.
The first strategy is to promote branded content on a pre-existing hashtag. Last year, as NH’s First In The Nation primary started to heat up, Mitt Romney’s campaign “purchased” the #FITN hashtag, which included commentary and tweets from a wide spectrum of users, all somehow related to the primary. So any time a voter, journalist, or any other Twitterer clicked on the #FITN hashtag to view the real time primary tweets, the first result was a Tweet from the Romney campaign. This was a focused effort that reached exactly the people the Romney campaign was targeting.
Brands can also promote their tweets across a variety of pre-existing hashtags, based on select keywords. Of course, many of the hashtags that trend on Twitter are either offensive themselves or contain offensive tweets. Yesterday morning I clicked on one such hashtag, the number one trending topic on Twitter, and saw at the top a tweet from Motorola. I screencapped the surprising image, and tweeted my surprise at Motorola. They responded quickly, letting me know they had not chosen that topic specifically, but that their ad was placed based on “family-related keywords” in the hashtag.
Jaguar is taking a different approach to promoting their “Feel Alive” campaign on Twitter by creating and promoting a #FeelAlive hashtag, and promoting a Jaguar tweet at the top of that Twitter search. Looking through that search, there are a mix of tweets talking about Jaguar, and plenty of tweets that Jaguar would probably have preferred were not associated with the brand.
Brands that choose to market themselves using Promoted Tweets are taking a calculated risk. While Twitter brand pages are “owned channels,” hashtags are completely open for public interaction, and can be hijacked to include content that might not be “brand-appropriate.” This means that brands like Motorola have to be quick to react and adjust their strategy.
Have you seen any other interesting cases of brands using this feature, or any potential pitfalls that they should avoid?
Nathaniel Grimes is the Business Development Coordinator at GY&K. Connect with him on Twitter:@Nathaniel_g