A few weeks back I got a Direct Message inviting me to check out Sponsored Tweets, and I had many of the same doubts and reservations any smart marketer would have. Last week, Ted Murphy took a handful of us on a walking tour of the platform and I must say, it's not the devil and it is a giant leap forward past IZEA's traditional product offerings.
However, if you don't believe in sponsored conversations or posts, you will not like this platform. I personally believe in the Mutual Social Contract Theory, and believe that each tactic may have it's place in a marketing toolkit, assuming it is performed ethically and with full and clear disclosure. This is a highly controversial area and not the subject of this post.What Is Sponsored Tweets?
Sponsored Tweets is a platform that allows brands and marketers to pitch sponsored messaging opportunities to tweeters of all levels of influence. While advertisers can control the sponsored tweet either by writing the initial tweet or reviewing user created sponsored tweets, the tweeter always has the right not to post. The premise behind Sponsored Tweets walks the fine line between advertising, sponsorship and PR while respecting the tweeter fairly nicely.How It Works
Advertisers have a pretty decent dashboard for managing campaigns, placing bids on individual tweeters and choosing whether or not to accept the tweeter's message (assuming they don't mandate a generic message). The system includes decent profile information on the tweeter so the marketer knows who they are bidding on and what their approximate value is to the advertiser.
There is also a separate option to work with both individual and publisher tweeters with larger followings in a less "long tail" platform. For more details on the dashboard, check out Mashable's coverage or the Sponsored Tweets site.
The only real shortcoming of the platform is that advertisers cannot yet track subsequent conversations generated by your tweeters.Analysis
With that being said, there are a few things this platform is not. This platform is not:
- THE Twitter Advertiser Solution
- Suitable for most healthcare or financial brand messaging
- A stand-alone social marketing solution
- A substitute for good social marketing strategy
- A substitute for influencer outreach
However, if used strategically this platform may be good for:
- Sparking a conversation
- Getting a message out fast
- Getting on certain power-users radars
- Becoming an instant trending topic (you had better have a good follow up story to close the loop if you're running with a gimmick)
- Getting your link out into the twitterverse
- Generating buzz about something brand new
With that said, brands should consider the following best practices:
- Whenever possible, let the tweeter write the message
- Give yourself or your agency time to read personal messages
- Consider the potential to re-use these personal messages in ad copy
- The more creative your message, the more it will stand out. Be short and pithy.
- If you are in including a URL, keep it short. Let your URL tell your story.
- If you don't have a Twitter account, consider using your Sponsored Tweets promo to introduce yourself to the world.
- Include your Twitter account (if you have one) in this promotion.
Follow up on sponsored messages with a thank you.
- Sponsorship is around the conversation. Your strongest success will come from the advocacy you foster within the conversation. Don't substitute marketing with a gimmick. Get into the pool and play. Have a conversation. Build relationships. Don't just buy it, earn it.