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Twitter’s EarlyBird account shows it’s not putting all its eggs in one basket but is seeking smart routes to commercial success in social media.

But brands need to ensure they don’t see Twitter as merely a broadcast channel for deals.

Twitter has this week quietly launched an account, @EarlyBird, which will publish online shopping deals (nma.co.uk 5 July 2010). Although it’s yet to made public, reports are suggesting it’ll be used by Twitter as another route to make money through publishing deals.

Coca-Cola and Disney Pixar are already revealing early success from their use of Twitter’s ad formats Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trending Topics; Coca-Cola said it received 86m impressions of its ads in 24 hours by using Promoted Tweets. However, the effectiveness of these ads could be shortlived as users become used to them and start ignoring them.

It seems Twitter is being smart by covering all the bases in terms of a commercial model, and is following the lead of Dell and Sony, which have pioneered the use of Twitter to promote deals and offers. Dell famously announced earlier this year that it had made $6.5m from Twitter in two years, and although this is small fry compared with its total revenue, it’s a significant amount for a channel that has such a low-cost barrier to entry.

Brands now looking to take advantage of Twitter to post deals and offers must be aware that the success of companies such as Dell and Sony has been spurred by the brands’ use of the channel to engage with consumers as well as simply posting deals. In both cases, a dedicated profile was set up specifically for deals, while other profiles are used to answer customer problems and give information and updates.

Shopping offline is a social experience, whether the interaction takes place between peers shopping together or between the customer and the merchant. Just posting deals would be like a supermarket creating aisles of BOGOF offers but having no staff to help you find the right brand or product. This doesn’t make for happy customers, and a bargain alone is no longer enough to keep a brand popular online.

When Twitter announced Promoted Trending Topics and Promoted Tweets, the industry welcomed the formats but warned that brands need to remember to also use the channel to engage with consumers or the ads would be less effective. A formalised channel for branded deals should work really well on Twitter, but brands need to remember the fundamentals of social media and be engaging.

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Published 6 July, 2010 by NMA Staff

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