Twitter marketing: celebs, promotions, cost and ethicsPosted 24 June 2011 by Sandy Cosser
Marketing on Twitter is not a minefield; in fact, it’s hardly a field at all. If you have the money you can pay people to tweet good reviews about your products. If you have even more money you can buy promoted tweets and ensure that you appear in trends, follow recommendations and timelines. Appearing in Twitter timelines is a recent development, but one which has been in the offing for some time.
Twitter marketing is achingly simple; all you really need to do is find a willing vessel. And you don’t have to look too hard either.
Twits for sale
Every business niche has several Twitter power users. These are the people who have followers in the tens or hundreds of thousands. If your niche is highly competitive there may even be power users with millions of followers.
Follow them all for a while before approaching them to get a feel for their tone and attitude. In this way you’ll see if they’re right for your brand.
When you’ve made your decision – you don’t need to limit yourself to one or two, pick as many as your budget will allow – you can begin the delicate negotiation process.
If the power user is more or less an average Joe who struck it lucky in a particular field you’ll probably be able to stretch your budget quite far, but if you’re looking at celebrities, even minor ones, you’d better have deep pockets.
For example, South Africa radio DJ and Idols judge, Gareth Cliff, charges R20 000 ($2900) per positive mention, be it on Facebook or Twitter. Hollywood celebs don’t balk at charging upwards of $20 000 per tweet.
Ethics of buying tweets
It was inevitable that companies would start paying people to tweet about their products, which means that debates about its ethicalness were also inevitable. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (Womma) was established to determine codes of conduct and guidelines regarding this kind of paid social media marketing.
The most important guideline, the only one that really counts, relates to transparency. Anyone who is paid to tweet a product or service, or who receives something in compensation for a positive mention has to disclose as much.
Paying for promoted tweets is your other Twitter marketing option. Twitter real estate is auctioned to companies and brands eager to appear in front of as many Twitter users as possible.
Brand or company promotions are demarcated as such and appear in recommended followers, trends and their followers’ timelines. When they were introduced last year, promoted tweets cost in the region of $15 000 per day. Now, they cost an average of $120 000. This obviously means promoted tweets are the sole reserve of brands such as Nike, Toyota, Coke and Virgin.
Whether promoted tweets are actually worth the investment is still being debated, but using high-profile users to aid your marketing efforts has been shown to increase conversions.
Even if this is still out of your price range, with judicious use you can leverage Twitter as a marketing tool. Just don’t come across as too desperate.