American Express has started a social media campaign that creatively uses consumers and Twitter to promote itself and several retail partners. Some industry watchers have expressed concern that this strategy is not an example of social commerce best practice. But in the first few days, the campaign achieved a huge success and may point to a new way that sites like Twitter can compete in the deal of the day market.

The AMEX Twitter campaign encourages cardholders to ‘sync’ their cards with the social site. After that, consumers are eligible to tap into discounts with major partners such as McDonalds and Whole Foods. When cardholders tweet about the deals they got using the required hashtags, discounts are returned to their AMEX accounts.

Within the first couple of days of this campaign, over 25,000 consumers joined the program and after spending about $7 million, they received $1.4 million in discounts.

Other data collected on this campaign shows that 28% of the participants were new Twitter users. The heaviest number of tweets for discounts went to the following retail partners:

  • McDonald’s 21.4%
  • Whole Foods 13.9%
  • Best Buy 10.1%

It certainly seems that as one AMEX user promoted the good news about their discounts, others soon followed and joined the program. Some analysts object to the way AMEX has asked its cardholders to ‘pimp’ themselves to get the discounts. Others have noted that this is an example of a social media campaign done right. Twitter is a unique format. Using this unique platform to ask shoppers to share stories about favorite brands may not work. But setting up a campaign that lets users easily save money without having to worry about buying a coupon and any upcoming expiration date seems like marketing creativity at its best.

[Sources: Chaney, Paul. AMEX Cardholders. Socialcommercetoday.com. 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Mar. 2012; Chaney, Paul. AMEX Tweet. Socialcommercetodya.com. 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Mar. 2012; Eridon, corey. How to Run a Twitter Campaign the Right Way. Blog.Hubspot.com. 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Mar. 2012]