Have you used Twitter to promote your business?

Twitter entered the scene back in 2006 as one of the first microblogging sites. With people’s attention span shrinking and the need for instant gratification growing, Twitter was a good avenue to accommodate both trends.

Founded and run by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, Twitter started to pick up speed quickly. In August 2007 the first hashtag #barcamp was posted by Chris Messina, who funny enough was told once by Evan Williams that hashtags were too nerdy and wouldn’t go mainstream.

See a history of Twitter below in this infographic.

What Is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is an easy way to group and organize conversation chains. Twitter patrons use them to keep all posts pertaining to a specific topic linked together and the full thread easily found. With over 500 million registered users as of March 2012 hashtags have become more common place as a necessary Twitter tool rather than a passing fad.

The Power of the #Hashtag

Marketers of all types are currently using #hashtags to keep the social conversation focused on one particular topic for the online community. Whether its radio, print, digital or TV ads, hashtags are becoming more popular. By creating a #hashtag, it allows people to easily remember a keyword or catch-phrase related to the marketing campaign.

As an example, Audi ran a campaign on Twitter using the #WantAnR8 hashtag. The Audi R8 is their gorgeous $150k super-car for you non-car buffs. The goal was to increase awareness and desire for the R8. They ended up creating a viral Twitter campaign utilizing twitpics of a random girl getting an R8.

The results:

  • The Audi Twitter account grew over 200%
  • #WantAnR8 received over 100 million impressions and currently stands as the best performing promoted trend ever, receiving an amazing 50.4% engagement. (Shorty Industry Awards)

In another example, Sysomos, a Marketwire company, surveyed several different brands that advertised during the Super Bowl and suggested a hashtag for people to tweet. The saw that companies who used their brand name as a hashtag such as #Doritos and #Calvin Klein had more posts using these hashtags than companies who suggested a phrase or catchy name. This is great for brand building!

With the world of social media, companies are no longer limited to strictly traditional marketing tactics and can utilize free avenues such as hashtags on Twitter to promote their message by word of mouth. Social media marketing companies who specialize in Twitter marketing and have been able to monitor referral traffic to their clients’ websites through this channel. Tracking that traffic is the key to calculating ROI for these types of social media campaigns.

Paid Advertising: Promoted Tweets

If you want to promote your tweets to non-followers, Twitter has the answer. Twitter launched their paid advertising platform with promoted tweets, promoted trends and promoted Accounts.

These tools allow advertisers to control the growth of their campaigns rather than sit back and pray that they go viral. Since the launch of paid Twitter tweets, they have opened a London ad sales office to further push the use of promoted tweets. This new capability now gives Twitter users the ability to speak directly with the brands they are interested in.

Their Ads platform can be found at http://ads.twitter.com> and allows advertisers the ability to pick and choose their campaign, very similar to the Facebook ad platform. Advertisers can geo target their campaign to one or multiple locations and choose to promote a tweet.

With 34% of marketers gaining leads through Twitter and 20% of them actually closing deals, marketers can see the power of Twitter growing. (Stat courtesy of SBW Advertising: http://www.sbwadvertising.co.uk/blog/social-media-statistics-2012/)

With promoted tweets, advertisers can pick to promote one tweet such as this example promoting a $5 dollar album or the user can promote up to 5 different tweets. What is great about this platform is the fact that advertisers only pay per click.

This results in paying only for the traffic from the targeted audience who is interested. This campaign of promoted tweets is useful to:

  • push products
  • reviews
  • celebrity quotes
  • increase social trending
  • build brand awareness
  • educate and spread the word about your brand

Promoted accounts are more beneficial for building a following, specifically on Twitter. As in any social market segment, whether digital or not, sheer numbers make a difference. People are drawn to what is popular. When advertisers create campaigns to increase their “Following” this usually generates more interest.

With the number of people signing up on Twitter tripling with the integration of iOS 5, advertisers have the ability to generate large followings of pre-qualified customers. Similar to Facebook, Twitter users can see which of their followers are following the account therefore creating a personal connection and bond with the brand. Advertisers pay per each new follower, which is better than paying per impression.

Brands Who Know How To Use Twitter

Showing no evidence of slowing down, advertisers using Twitter such as Starbucks are taking full advantage of this social media juggernaut and utilizing it to its full potential. Starbucks creates social conversations and gains interest from their audience by creating tangible conversation threads that followers can feed off. Some followers win prizes from these conversation threads. Starbucks answers questions and effectively retweets photos from their audience, making that follower a little famous and in return allowing followers of that user be introduced to Starbucks.

Since the beginning of 2013 Starbucks has utilized current events to trend various posts and increase brand awareness. They support a wide range of charities, festivals, events and musicians and continue to spread these different ventures through their Twitter account.

So to repeat the question: “Is Twitter the powerhouse it boasts to be?” I think all the evidence points to yes. If the advertiser is utilizing it properly by taking advantage of trending topics while creating new creative hashtags for their brands, they are sure to flourish.

For more information about Twitter marketing and other social media marketing strategies, read more on our site. Feel free to contact us with questions or your own comments. Get involved by replying with a Facebook Conversation below. Or send your own tweet using our @seo4anyone name.