Trying new things can be scary, and when there’s money on the line this can increase the chill factor. Twitter advertising is one of those tasks that might seem daunting and confusing at first, but once you get to know what’s going on behind the scenes, you’ll be sorry you didn’t get to grips with it sooner.
The key thing to remember about Twitter is the huge advertising potential on offer; by 2014 it has been predicted that Twitter ad revenue will top $1 billion. Although it would still be lagging behind Facebook’s $3 billion in 2011, the growth of Twitter looks promising as they confidently take to the mobile market more successfully that Facebook.
If you’re running a small business, you may be wondering if Twitter is even an option on your budget. Fear not, Twitter has advertising options specifically geared towards smaller businesses that want to increase their reach and following. Check out this recipe for small business success on Twitter:
There are two options available to small businesses: Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets.
Promoted accounts will show up in the “who to follow” section. This will aim to push your account to users with similar interests. This is similar to Facebook advertising. You can hone in on specific geographical locations, or by user platform (such as mobile only).
With promoted tweets, twitter will monitor your engagement with your followers and automatically promote your most popular tweets to potential followers based on mutual interests. This is a great way to not only monitor the success of your tweets, but to also push your most engaging 140 characters in front of a wider audience.
Twitter Advertising Analytics
As you can see from the screenshot, the analytics on offer are fairly extensive and will give your business a unique snapshot of your followers. This can help in targeting tweets, business development, and for future advertising budgets.
The pricing system for small businesses works on a CPF (cost per follower) and CPE (cost per engagement) so you’re paying for results, rather than paying to be seen by all the wrong people.
The pricing is based on an auction system, so it’s difficult to find a definitive price scale. According to Search Engine Watch a good estimate guide bid is between $0.50 and $2.50.
One news story in particular caught my eye this week. Robert McMillan wrote an article for Wired about a man who created a Twitter bot that people actually like. Back in 2008 Greg Marra created @trackgirl as an experiment to see if she could infiltrate a network of real people; in particular, runners.
The Twitter script was designed to scour Twitter for running related tweets and copy and paste these as her own words. She also followed 5 running-related individuals per day and followed back anyone who followed her. This alone is considered good Twitter etiquette – and she wasn’t annoying anyone with porn-y content or faster than lightening responses and re-tweets.
What’s interesting about this particular bot is the reaction to one tweet about twisting her ankle. People started to DM her asking how the recovery was going and showing genuine concern. All studies in human empathy aside, this could be of genuine interest to brands.
According to Corp Comms, around one quarter of Italian and International Brands Twitter followers are actually Twitter bots, which can significantly increase a brands perceived social media standing. So what if brands were able to use Twitter bots to infiltrate their target audience and spread some subtle marketing messages?
We’re all pretty well versed in how to spot a Twitter bot, but @trackgirl was able to work around this by infiltrating one particular community. If she had been created by Nike, she could have spent time tweeting about her running endeavours, and then casually slipped in a tweet about her new Nike running shoes. Not only did the experiment prove that she could infiltrate running circles, just it also showed that people actually cared what she was tweeting about.
This raises a huge number of legal and ethical questions about the use of twitter bots to create social influence, but if the Twitter bot was using Tweets that were already in the Twitter-sphere, would the use of a bot to promote a brand really be that bad? On the one hand it would simply be a case of aggregating positive brand messages, and on the other it would be deception of a brands’ audience on a mass scale.
In the past we’ve seen the ill-effects of Twitter bots getting involved with politics as they were used to bolster and spread positive messages during the Mexican presidential election. While this technology could spell good news for brands, it would be one step closer to taking the ‘social’ out of ‘social media’.
Would you feel duped if you discovered a twitter user you were following was a bot? And how would you feel if they were spreading marketing messages?
The most beautiful thing about Social Media Marketing is the unpredictably of the medium, and the opportunity available to those willing to put in that little bit of extra effort. Recently, Smart Car USA made tech news headlines with this witty retort to an off-hand tweet that was neither directed at them, or intended to be brand damaging.
Clayton Hove, an ad agency creative director, made a comment on Twitter about the size and strength of the Smart Car:
Saw a bird had crapped on a Smart Car. Totaled it.
This is a great example of how brands are using social media to expand their reach and gain free publicity. It’s also a great example of how, even the simplest of infographics, can gain so many shares.
Inforaphics are becoming the number one way to display and share complicated and lengthy data – if you’re conducting surveys on your customer base or industry, you’re far more likely to get a positive response to the results if they’re shared in a graphic form rather than pages and pages of text and numbers.
The Smart Car infographic was successful because it’s simple, and it tells a joke in a visual way. If we look at the overnight success of Pinterest, it’s easy to see that Internet users are huge fans of images and visuals.
If you do decide to try your hand at producing an infographic, here are some top tips for getting you on your way:
1. Pay equal attention to the info and the graphic. Your infographic needs to be visually pleasing, but it also needs to contain information. There’s nothing more disappointing than an infographic that fails to deliver what it promises.
2. Tie the design in to what the information is about – the current trend seems to be leaning towards retro style signs and interesting typography, but this might not necessarily fit with the information you’re presenting. Don’t be sucked in to trends.
3. If you plan to produce infographics periodically, consider using a website like visual.ly, which will allow you to produce infographics based on your Twitter and Facebook activity. It will also allow you to upload and share infographics you’ve created for added exposure, or browse others’ work for inspiration.
Stumbling upon the news that Microsoft has ventured into the world of social networking is guaranteed to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Not that I have anything against Microsoft, or Bing, I actually love the new Bing layout. It’s just that Microsoft feels intrinsically uncool, it’s like the dorky dad of the Internet.
Based on looks alone, so.cl is quite obviously Microsoft branded, with the distinctive square stock photographs with thick white borders. And how exactly are we pronouncing So.cl? I refuse to pronounce it as ‘social’ until I see a few more vowels in there.
So.cl isn’t strictly a social network, it’s been described as the Frankenstein’s monster of the social networking world. Microsoft have taken the most successful aspects of each social network and mashed them up to create one sharing/ discovery tool which revolves around Bing search. You can ‘Pin’ like you’re on Pinterest, ‘Like’ like you’re on Facebook, ‘hangout’ like you’re on Google+ and Tweet like you’re on Twitter.
The question is, does anyone really have enough time to add yet another social network to their already hectic schedule?
The answer to this: Microsoft isn’t really asking you to. According to the promotional video, which I found deeply confusing until the end, So.cl is a student research tool, and it’s still in the early stages of development. It’s more likely an attempt to compete with Facebook’s file sharing for groups, which is ideal for academic project work. I can already see the benefits of being able to collaborate on project work with a tool such as so.cl.
With the Facebook IPO still fresh in our minds, only time will tell if any newcomer to the social networking scene can knock the top three off their spots. Do we want to combine our social networking, or are we happier to segment our online activities?
Top Tip: According to PC World, if you want to avoid the queue’s and jump straight in, make sure you connect with you Window’s Live ID rather than your Facebook account.
Google+ is slowly but surely gathering momentum amongst brands, with more and more adopting and expanding into this relatively quiet social network. This may be down to the integration of social media data into search results, which makes Google+ as much an exercise in SEO as SMM. Although, the data seems to suggest that there is genuine interaction and sharing.
The top brands dominating Google+ at the moment are Ferrari, H&M, Gucci, Burberry and Starbucks. The overall trend seems to show that cars, electronics and luxury goods are the most engaging on Google+.
So, they’re activly posting, but is anyone actually reading, sharing, or taking any notice of them? Yes! 23% of the top 100 brands have circles which exceed 100,000 members. And the growth of ‘circlers’ amongst these top 100 brands is also very impressive.
‘Content is King’ isn’t just a fad phase, it’s exactly how these brands gained their following. Multi-media sharing accounted for most of their updates, and while Photos were the most shared items, videos were the most engaging. Engagement was most active during the working day; the peak time was 10am, with the peak day being Wednesday.