Twitter’s new ‘promoted tweets’ feature could turn out to be a hugely significant development for Social Reputation practitioners. For anyone who hasn’t caught up with Twitter’s plans yet, in a nutshell, it allows brands to place a special promoted tweet at the top of the Twitter search results for a selected word, or brand name. Early adopters of the format are Starbucks, Virgin Atlantic, Red Bull and Sony Pictures.
In some ways it’s similar to a ‘sticky thread’ in a forum, a post that stays at the top of the discussion irrespective of the time of posting. It’s this ability to buck the usual ‘real time’ rules of Twitter that makes Promoted Tweets so interesting for those looking after a brand’s reputation.
Put yourself in the position of a brand that is facing a reputational firestorm online. The community is angry, Twitter is abuzz and you need to get your point across to try and restore some balance. Up until now any comment placed into the Twitter stream by a brand would rapidly get ‘pushed down’ into the conversation by subsequent Tweets on the same subject. By using Promoted Tweets you will be able to ensure that your content appears at the head of the results when individuals search terms relevant to your situation. A carefully considered Promoted Tweet, signposting readers to additional content that supports your argument, will become a key tool in turning detractors around. What’s going to be interesting to watch is how successfully brands can bring together the skills required to really make the most of this golden new tool.
As outlined by Twitter COO Dick Costolo, at the Chirp conference for Twitter developers last week, in order to be successful with Promoted Tweets, brands will have to do more than simply purchase the space. Promoted Tweets that aren’t replied to or retweeted, in Costolo’s language those that don’t have ‘resonance’, will be pushed out of position. So, success will be down to mastering both paid media and earned media skills. In a crisis situation the key will be doing that at speed, and in a way that sees the brand join the conversation as a prominent, yet welcomed voice. Get that right and another of the Promoted Tweet’s unique attributes will kick-in, the fact that it’s an ad format that’s easily shareable. People who find the content engaging will retweet it to their own streams creating a powerful visibility beyond the Twitter search results pages.
Social Reputation gold.
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