Will Twitter followers want to know when their favorite local pizza joint has a lunch special? The social media site that limits posts to 140 characters or less certainly hopes so. The company is rolling out an initiative to entice small businesses to begin using ‘promoted’ tweets.
The company’s advertising system has been used mostly by large companies who seek to reach the 13% of online consumers who use Twitter. The demographics of Twitter users skew slightly male. About 14% of online men use the service while only 11% of online women do. Twitter users also tend to be under age 50, college educated and based in urban and suburban areas. In addition, 25% of blacks and 19% of Hispanics, those who are online, say they use Twitter.
Twitter is starting slow with its small business outreach. Only companies which have a relationship with American Express will be allowed to the use self-service ad platform that is being rolled out in March. And American Express is also crediting $100 to each business, up to the first 10,000 merchants that apply, to generate interest. Later this year, all interested small businesses will be able to buy ads.
The platform will work much as the display ad business model does. The marketer pays the platform provider only when a consumer acts on the message. The activity includes, clicking, replying or passing along the message.
It’s too soon to tell how successful Twitter will be in reaching small business owners. Until now, the company has been offering personalized service to large marketers that invest in promoted tweets. Small business that use the new Twitter service will need to be tech savvy enough to manage the process on their own. Local media companies can compete by continuing to offer personalized service to their clients but they need to be aware of this new kid on the block.[Sources: Ovide, Shira. Twitter to Pursue Small Ad Clients. Online.wsj.com. 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 27 Feb. 2012; Smith, Aaron. Twitter Update 2011. PewResearch.org. 1 Jun. 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2012; Agrawal, Rocky. Twitter partners with AmEx. VentureBeat.com. 16 Feb. 2012. Web. 27 Feb. 2012]