Seeking to take Twitter beyond a social phenomenon, its founders have lately set their sights on making it business-friendly as well. For marketers, this means new opportunities are opening up all the time.
Twitter never seems to rule anything out. The company is philosophically opposed to banner ads, but has nevertheless dabbled with them in Japan. Likewise, it recently experimented with text ads in the U. S., but, according to Adam Bain, president of global revenue for Twitter, that doesn’t indicate much. “I wouldn’t read too much into it,” he says.
The experiment has yielded some winning ad formats, Bain says. Chief among them are Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts. All comprise very new forms of advertising that leverage Twitter’s strengths. However, many marketers don’t seem to know what to make of the formats, or Twitter itself, for that matter. Taking that into account, here are some Twitter marketing guidelines for those who are making a move.
Of course, you can easily create an account to tweet on behalf of your company, but read on for further advice to get the most out of the microblogging platform.
1. Use Promoted Trends or Promoted Tweets to Publicize an Event
Twitter is all about discovering what’s going on right now. As Bain notes, many users return to Twitter’s homepage a few times per day just to see what’s trending. Promoted Trends leverage that phenomenon by giving advertisers a premium position on the page.
Bain says that this can yield much higher engagement rates than standard online advertising, for example, banner ads. Introduced in 1993, banners have notoriously low click-through rates, even though such advertising is still growing rapidly. (Proponents of banners also point out that, while the ads work fine for raising awareness, direct sales are still measured by clicks.)
Nevertheless, Bain says Promoted Trends and Promoted
Tweets yield engagement rates between 3% and 10% on average, and sometimes much higher than that. For instance, Volkswagen got 52% engagement on an April 18 Promoted Tweet for its 2012 New Beetle launch.
In this case, engagement is defined by click-throughs (which usually accounts for 80% of the total), retweets and “favorited” tweets. The buying process for Promoted Trends and Promoted Tweets and all of Twitter’s ad products follow a model similar to Google’s – marketers buy them in an auction at a cost-per-engagement rate, and then pay based on engagement.
Obviously, if you’re running a Promoted Trend or Promoted Tweet, it helps if you have some kind of news, product launch, or associated event. For instance, For instance, Coca-Cola earned high engagement during the 2010 World Cup – whenever a goal was scored, Coke would unleash a celebratory tweet.
2. Build the Brand With Promoted Accounts
While Coke’s case is instructive, Bain says that Promoted Accounts are likely a better vehicle for long-term brand building. “We ask, ‘What’s the lifetime value of a customer?'” Bain says, “We look at it almost like a joint business account.”
With a goal to gather as many followers for a corporate account as possible, Twitter positions Promoted Accounts in front of users who might be interested in the brand. Twitter gauges such interest by noting who said people follow and what they tweet. If you follow a lot of baseball teams, for instance, then a Promoted Account for Major League Baseball might make sense.
3. Use Your Hashtags