Twitter, introduced in July of 2006, has proved to be more than simply a way for whiny teens to vent to the world and share transcendent insights on the modern condition (in 140 characters or less, no doubt). While it certainly has become a place to catch up on key pieces of celebrity gossip and the latest trends coming out of different and obscure industries, Twitter has proven itself to be a quite effective inbound marketing tool.
This is namely due to the fact that as a business you can grow your following by adding users who exist within the niche or who are a part of the key demographic that you hope to be following. But that is only the beginning. While the creation of content should never occur in a vacuum (i.e. posted and forgotten about), Twitter is an especially effective tool for content promotion as it gives businesses autonomy over the amount of exposure a piece gets and the audience who sees it.
With Great Power, Comes A Great Many Sponsored Posts
Twitter recognized the powerful potential of their service in the hands of marketers and first launched their self service ad platform in March of 2012 on an invite only basis before expanding the service to all users in April of 2013. This platform allows for businesses and individuals to have promoted accounts for commercial and advocacy organizations, promoted tweets for the promotion of specific content or messages and promoted trends (which is essentially a refined form of newsjacking trending hashtags for promotional purposes).
Of course, the advantage of all these different types of ads is that fact that based on usage trends and, though I hate to use the word, the “big data” that exists regarding the key demographics behind these trends, you can successfully target (hyper-target you might say) your desired audience by matching your promotional efforts on Twitter with your sales data on conversions by demographic–assuming your sales team has been scrupulously keeping track of said data (they should be).
In the Cross-Hairs
Twitter is about to make this process even easier. They recently released a seemingly innocent feature which allows users to post information about their birthday. While it is always fun to have your profile page decorated in glitter fonts and animated balloons (think back to the glory days of MySpace profile customization) this information will allow Twitter and advertisers to be even more effective at targeting certain audiences. Millennials watch out!
There has also been a lot of discussion about the rise of mobile as the primary platform that people are engaging the web with. And Twitter is no exception–especially considering the fact that the idea of the 140 characters comes from old sms and text message constraints. The fact that people are on their phones when accessing Twitter has not been lost on marketers. A new method of marketing based on geo-targeted ads has emerged in the wake of this transition to mobile. This, combined with the other previously mentioned tactics, provides the opportunity to create a qualified inbound funnel on Twitter that consists almost exclusively of leads generated from within a hyper targeted demographic.
Once again, Twitter is aware of the lead generating potential that it possesses. So much that they have taken steps to forego the lead generation process entirely by introducing a “buy-button”. While this feature has been met with mixed results, it should be interesting to see if the Twitterverse responds favorably to this new feature. Perhaps the biggest hurdle will be convincing users that the same place they look up the latest Kardashian gossip, immerse themselves in teen-angst and watch for the next political gaff can also be a safe and convenient marketplace.