Promoted Tweets: what are they and how can they benefit my business?

A few months back Twitter announced that their ‘promoted tweets’ advertising platform is now open to small to medium sized businesses here in the UK, as well as in Ireland and Canada. Until this month, Twitter’s paid advertising platform was only accessible to huge brands who have been using promoted tweets to advertise for years.
Many small to medium sized business owners were thrilled to hear that they will now have the opportunity to advertise on the huge social media platform. Twitter’s popularity continues to grow by the day, making it a highly sought after place to advertise. As of July this year, there were more than 500 million Twitter users, with an average of 135,000 new accounts created each and every day.
What are promoted tweets?
Promoted tweets appear in a number of places over Twitter, including user’s timelines, the trends section and in search results. When users join Twitter, they ‘follow’ other people or companies. Each time someone tweets, this appears in their follower’s home page timeline.
Promoted tweets allow companies to get their tweets into a user’s timeline, even if the user is not following that company. These tweets are labelled as “Sponsored” with a yellow icon so that the user can distinguish between paid advertising and general tweets.
Promoted tweets can also appear in the ‘trending’ section of a user’s accounts. The ‘trending’ section displays hashtags or phrases which are currently hot topics on Twitter and links back to a feed where others are discussing that trend.
The trending section displays the current trends in a user’s country or city. Companies are able to put a phrase or hashtag in the trending section of a user’s account which links back to a stream of users discussing the topic. Promoted trends can also appear in relevant search results on Twitter.
How do companies target users with promoted tweets?
There are four ways in which a company can target users via promoted tweets. The first option is to target users by their gender and interests. Twitter accesses data on the gender and interests of users from their profile information and the accounts that they follow. Companies are able to use gender and interest targeting to ensure that their promoted tweets are only displayed to users who are likely to be interested in their company.
Alternatively, a company can target users by geographic location, an ideal solution for a company that offers services in a specific location. Companies also have the option to target users by device, such as mobile phones or desktop computers. Finally, companies can target users who are similar to their own existing followers, increasing the likelihood of these people interacting with the promoted tweet and becoming a follower themselves.
What are the benefits of promoted tweets?
Promoted tweets allow a company to get their most interesting, important tweets in front of their target market. Using the user’s interest, location, device or followers, companies are able to determine which groups will be most likely to interact with their tweet.
In order to ensure that promoted tweets are effective, Twitter will only display the content if it is deemed to be relevant to a particular user. Twitter has a number of systems in place which determines which tweets are relevant to users, such as how that user typically interacts with accounts on Twitter and the type of content that they usually retweet.
Promoted tweets are known to help companies drive sales and engagement with their brand, with engagement being the priority and eventually leading to sales. By posting relevant, engaging tweets, a company aims to get retweets and new followers. With additional followers, the company then has a larger pool of consumers to advertise their goods to in future. On the other hand, some brands have been successful in using promoted tweets to drive direct sales by posting tweets about special offers and promotions on their products or services.
So, can anyone post a promoted tweet?
Proving that sponsored tweets are well and truly available to everyone, a British man named Hasan Syed took to Twitter’s promoted tweets platform to vent his frustration with British Airways. Mr Syed’s father had lost his luggage and he was extremely unimpressed with how BA dealt with the situation. He decided to use the power of social media to spread the word, purchasing a promoted tweet to warn other customers about British Airway’s poor customer service.
With promoted tweets literally available to everyone, it is up to a company to use the platform to its advantage, choosing engaging, relevant tweets to promote to a relevant audience.

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