Promoted Tweets

So a big story this last week was the news that Twitter is going to finally have ads.  But the ads are a lot different than anyone expected.  Instead of ads on the side like Facebook or even GoogleTwitter is going to have promoted ads.  These advertisements will come in the form of tweets, so users can retweet them, comment on them, etc.  But what does this mean to the world of Twitter?

PC Magazine had a very insightful article explaining how the whole process will work.  Basically, when someone searches for a particular item, a promotional tweet will come up first on the search list.  Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo used a perfect example of when this could be useful to both companies and users.  Apparently, people were complaining on Twitter that their iPad battery was not charging.  “iPad battery” soon became a trending topic but clearly not for a good reason.  Best Buy recognized this problem and tweeted a solution to this problem, but the people who had already tweeted about it did not see Best Buy’s reponse.  However, if Best Buy had posted a promotional tweet, users who searched for this problem to see what other people were saying could have seen the solution at the top of their search list.  Customers and Best Buy (and even Steve Jobs if you think about it) would benefit from the use of the promotional tweet.

So what are the first companies we will see on Promoted Tweets?  Best BuyBravoRed BullSony PicturesStarbucks, and Virgin America.  Interesting variety and choice in my opinion.  I would think some of the other brands that have a bigger presence on Twitter would be included in the mix, but then again this is a trial run for Twitter.

The interested part of promoted tweets is that Twitter is not really seeing it as the advertisement I just described.  Basically if users do not retweet it, comment on it, favorite it, etc., the Promoted Tweet will disappear.  Twitter wants to continue to be a user-friendly service and keep its organic platform.

MediaPost Publications brings up a good point about Twitter.  What types of ads will people really want to retweet and favorite?  They are not going to retweet regular messages about the company.  People will not care to retweet about something that does not benefit the general public.  They will only want to retweet about sales and promotions.  I could seeJetBlue gaining a lot of attention through these promotional tweets through their weekly JetBlue Cheeps, but I don’t know if some of these other companies would be able to benefit.  But I do have to admit, Starbucks is already getting A LOT of attention by being the first company to take part of the promoted tweets.  The majority of articles being written about the promoted tweets have included the picture above of the “example promoted tweet.”

But what does this mean for Twitter?  Could it have survived without the use of the promotional tweets?  Was there another way it could have made money?  Will people become frustrated by another place that will consume our lives with ads?  Wherever you turn there are advertisements.  Even Gmail customizes its ads depending on your e-mails and what you search for in Google.  And the same goes for Facebook.  Have you ever been frustrated with an ad that appears on the side of your Facebook page?  Is Twitter going down that same route?

Twitter, Tweet, TweetDeck

As part of our Public Relations Student Society of America meeting, we had a Twitter seminar.  Even though I feel that I have a good handle on Twitter, I learned so much today.  I learned Twitter vocabulary, such as RT (Retweet), which means to repeat a Tweet.  We also went through using a “#” sign.  For example, if I am talking about a particular topic, such as “Boston University,” I will type “#BostonUniversity,” and it will become a separate trail of comments with other people who use this same category.  Before the seminar, I knew people used this technique, but I did not fully understand it.

We also learned stories about Twitter leading to job opportunities.  People have shown their expertise in social media by utilizing Twitter and connecting with other people.  If an employee follows your tweets (tweets meaning posts), he or she may offer you a job.  One of our speakers spoke about a man in Malaysia following his Twitter account and offering him a high paying job.

Additionally, companies follow what others say about them.  Comcast and Jetblue both contact individuals who tweet about the company.  This seminar told the story about one man who earned a job with Cision but tweeted about the choice between accepting this job and being miserable and having a hefty paycheck.  Oh the possibilities…

We also discussed Twitter etiquette.  How do you state in 140 characters something that you want to share with professionals, professors, and friends?  Twitter is like speaking in public with everyone hearing what you are saying.

Many people thought Twitter would die out.  How could a website where you can only say 140 characters at a time really amount to anything?  Clearly they are wrong, and it is the way of the future.  Social networking is the way of the future with Twitter at its core.

Finally, for an entertaining video, check out:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN2HAroA12w. It shows Twitter at its best.