Twitter as an Effective Social Media Marketing Tool

By: Justin Flory and Matt Kelling

The first message on Twitter, commonly known as a tweet, was published on March 21, 2006 by current C.E.O and co-founder, Jack Dorsey. With many new launches in the next few years for the social media platform, (such as promoted tweets and hashtags) Twitter quickly became one of the most popular social media networks, as it changed the game for traditional media.

In 2009, an airplane crashed in the Hudson River of New York City. Twitter user Janis Krums, also known as @jkrums, picked up on the nearby crash and tweeted out to his followers, “There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy” along with a photo of the crash. Without even knowing it at the time, Krums shared breaking news on his personal Twitter account and broke the story before traditional media outlets and organizations even got to it. Krums changed the way news was gathered and proved that Twitter is a successful media and marketing outlet. The rest is history.

While Twitter has become a place where users gather information, listen to others, and engage in conversations, it’s also a place where people keep in touch with their favorite companies, brands, celebrities, and events.  The platform has become a common place where companies can participate in unique marketing initiatives that their consumers can relate to.

To sum it up, Twitter has a short list of key features that connect its users. A tweet is simply just a message that users send out to their followers, or to everyone if their account is public. These messages are crafted in 140 characters or less and might be made up of photos, links, or videos. Users can respond to other people’s tweets by replying and they can share others’ tweets my retweeting. Retweeting enables users to put someone else’s message on their own feed and also allows users to comment or quote others’ messages. Users can acknowledge tweets without sharing as well, as a simple like does the job. Users can direct messages at other users by mentioning them publicly or sending them a direct message in a private inbox.

In terms of similar ideas spread on Twitter, hashtags are simple messages in the form of a word or sentence without spaces. The message is attached to a # symbol and allows users to search for a specific conversation on a specific topic. Popular hashtags appear in the trending topics section of Twitter. The site provides a search forum for users to look up keywords, as well as hashtags and users. Twitter users might also use lists, which are collections of users with similar interests that they can create, subscribe to, or become a member of. While seeing what their followers have to say on their own feeds, users can also scroll through Moments, which are top news stories selected by Twitter.

With over 320 million monthly active users, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have Twitter right at their fingertips. Through Twitter, consumers and marketers can build prosperous relationships with each other. Consumers can engage with brands in both positive and negative ways and users are able to tweet at companies in hopes that they will get a response. For example, many users tweet at airline brands when they’re unhappy with their travels. Often times, brands like Delta and American Airlines have an employee that is able to respond to angry and (sometimes) happy consumers. By tweeting at these consumers, people feel that they are being taken care of by a brand they use or trust. Companies are able to make their brand look good or bad through their responses because of this.

Other than interacting with consumers and building relationships, companies are able to participate in many marketing activities on Twitter. These include customer service, promoted and sponsored tweets, brand building, and promotional efforts. Using Twitter for customer service is done through responding to customer complaints, feedback, questions, or sharing (retweeting), and liking their content. Through purchasing a promoted tweet, companies can target specific audiences to reach more people, both followers and users who don’t necessarily follow the brand. Promoted tweets can help Twitter users become aware of a company, can help drive website traffic, as well as make users more familiar with what a company or brand does. Sponsored tweets are a little different than promoted tweets, as a company can pay someone else (an influencer) to promote their brand.

According to Twitter internal data, “69% of users are likely to buy from a business they follow on Twitter.” Twitter helps consumers decide what they like and dislike about a product or service and then act on it. Through Twitter, companies can create a consistent voice for their brand. This voice might be sophisticated or excited, depending on what the company is selling or trying to get across to its followers. Through a company’s account, customers can see pictures, logos, videos, and more, which teaches them about the company they like or are interested in.

Many companies also participate in putting their own promotions on Twitter. These might include free giveaways, contests, prizes, special deals, discounts, or one-time offers. For example, Applebee’s recently tweeted out to its followers, “Busy? We’ll meet you at the car with Applebee’s Carside To Go. Download our NEW app now & save $5 on your 1st order.” Companies are able to get more people in their door by providing special offers on areas where people will see it, such as on the official Applebee’s account.

Along with these marketing activities, companies also work toward marketing objectives that include building those same customer relationships, launching new products and services, building brand awareness, and targeting new customers. To carry out these activities and objectives successfully, Twitter provides Twitter Analytics for its users, both individuals and companies. Analytics consists of impressions to show how many times users see certain tweets and engagements that show how many times a user clicked on links in a tweet. Along with these features, audience insights shows companies the demographics, lifestyles, interests, consumer behaviors, and mobile footprints of their followers. Companies can use this data to compare their followers with other Twitter users as well. Twitter Analytics captures who is really following a specific company and how they can successfully engage with them on a daily

These lead to marketing tactics and how a company can use Twitter to successfully market their brand on the site. Companies should keep their tweets short and to the point. Users are limited to 140 characters, but the shorter, the better. Companies should use quality photos and videos because this makes their brand look better and more attractive to audiences. People like seeing pictures more than words as well, so these will capture more people’s attention. Companies should also be using relevant hashtags that relate to their brand and messages. They can use hashtags through regular tweets or can even create polls to ask their followers questions. Finally, companies should be connecting with their audience and followers. This involves replying, retweeting, and liking what their consumers and followers have to say. These actions will encourage better relationships and connections among consumers and brand interactions.

Marketing on Twitter can be both expensive and inexpensive, depending on how much a company chooses to bid or spend on promoted tweets, accounts, trends, or ads. Promoted tweets will appear in users’ feeds and can bring increased site traffic or brand awareness. These tweets typically run between $.50 and $2.00 per engagement (per click). Promoted accounts encourage users to follow them, as they appear in the ‘who to follow’ section of one’s Twitter account. These usually cost anywhere from $2.50 to $4.00 per follower. A little more expensive are promoted trends, (popular topics) which can cost close to $200,000 per day. Lastly, Twitter ads have no exact price tag because companies are encouraged to bid, but Twitter suggests that companies pay anywhere from $.10 to $23.00 for ads that include advertising methods like website clicks, follower campaigns, or video view campaigns. Either way, advertising on Twitter can be affordable for businesses of any kind, small or large.

Plenty of companies have succeeded with using Twitter as an effective marketing tool. Clean Air London, a non-profit organization, works to better air quality in London. The organization had hopes of increasing brand awareness by trying to reach out to more audiences with their message. They did this by targeting people they thought would be interested and used geo-targeting to reach people across the United Kingdom. They also targeted Twitter users who followed similar accounts like @MayorofLondon and @BBCBreakingNews. Clean Air London ended up getting double the amount of followers they originally had before the campaign started. From this, they found that three times more of users clicked on their links and 20% more users engaged with their posts.

While organizations like Clean Air London have done well though, some companies have failed with using Twitter as a marketing tool. The official Chrysler Autos account tweeted profanity out to its followers and the employee was later fired because of it. In return, the company apologized to its followers for the tweet, but the tweet can still be found all over the internet as a Twitter fail.

With the capabilities to better customer service, target audiences with promoted and sponsored tweets, promoted trends or accounts, and building a brand, Twitter is an effective marketing tool for all companies and organizations. Twitter allows companies to target new audiences, while keeping it interesting with their current consumers. Twitter has proven to help companies with great social media marketing success and continues to do so year after year.


























16 thoughts on “Twitter as an Effective Social Media Marketing Tool

  1. Aishwarya Gunti May 3, 2016 / 10:17 pm

    While I learned about Twitter in my homeland, it was thought to be a social networking site for people who fall under the “premium niche.’ It was not long when I realized that anyone can be in Twitter. What I like about Twitter is ‘micro-blogging.’ I love to see how a message can be conveyed in such limited number of characters. It also gives users option of clicking the story to learn more details (only if they want to).


  2. Andie-Jane Phinney May 4, 2016 / 7:29 pm

    I believe that Twitter is one of the best social media platforms for companies to use for marketing. I personally do not use twitter much, and never really got into it, but I do think it is great for businesses. Twitter allows for short texts, where you are allowed to get your point across of what you are trying to market. You can post video links, links themselves and even pictures to show your audience. Followers can retweet your brand and company to others, so the visibility for your company has so many possibilities. Twitter also creates great way for customer-company interactions, as customer reviews, questions and even promotions are used throughout Twitter. Some companies really take advantage of Twitter, using it as ways to get out their promotions, show and promote their new products, and even answer back to customers who have questions or concerns. I believe Twitter is great for marketing!


  3. Olivia Sullivan May 4, 2016 / 10:51 pm

    I think Twitter is the best social media platforms for companies because you can do so many things with it and reach out to a lot of people. Having something retweeted is the best way to get it out into the world more. With twitter having only 140 characters it is easier for people to read and not get bored, along with the hashtags. Following other companies on Twitter I found that there are many tricks to getting your brand out to the world. Adding photos with clever hashtags and providing an incentive if people retweet you is a way to get a brand known or gain more followers. You can interact in many ways using Twitter and it is more popular than Facebook. Companies should take advantage of Twitter because it is one of the most used social media platforms.


  4. brigettehoughton May 5, 2016 / 1:39 am

    As a senior soon to graduate, I can see how Twitter is a great social media platform for companies to promote themselves. I have had Twitter since I was a sophomore in high school, and I had no idea what i was doing with it until a couple years ago. I used to just use it to communicate with my friends, but it was weird seeing everything that we were saying to each other show up on a timeline with other peoples posts in between. I soon stopped using it for that reason, and would only go on it from time to time to share things that I thought reminded me of my friends, or stuff that I thought were funny or cool. The sharing aspect of this website is great because you can type a short blurb about it and then get a small picture of what it is that you are sharing. Because people are so interested in what others are talking about this gives more people an incentive to click to see what they are talking about. This generates more clicks and gets more data to the site they they are on, and people learn something that they may not have known before. In the end it works out for everyone.


  5. Marisa Harrington May 5, 2016 / 4:24 pm

    I think Twitter is a very effective social media marketing tool. Almost everyone has a twitter, and it is a cheap way to reach a large number of potential customers. In only 140 characters or less, it gets the point across to the potential customer. It also makes it easier to reach your target market with the use of hashtags. I agree that Twitter is a good way to announce promotions and giveaways. There is a radio station in the area that always tweets the keyword in order to win the $1000 giveaway. I listen to this station everyday on my way to school, and because of their twitter page I always call in and try to win. It promotes their brand, and makes you use/listen to their service.


  6. Hechuan Lou May 6, 2016 / 2:16 am

    I don’t use Twitter a lot, but it’s a very common social media tool. It provides a large portion of segments to the marketers. It will no doubt that Twitter will be successful in their advertisements posts. But as marketers, they should notice that how to choice the best social media as more and more social media came out.


  7. cbernard7778 May 6, 2016 / 8:40 pm

    Twitter is by far one of the top three ways to market depending on the company. For a fast updating, live company, they can benefit posting consistent updates onto this social media platform to keep followers updated. It’s important for companies like airlines and Amazon websites to have constant contact with consumers since so much of their business is changing rapidly. Its also great for personal branding with musicians and celebrities since it keeps their relationship more intimate with their fans. Marketing on a social media platform as large as Twitter allows for maximum exposure of an advertisement or promotion. The only challenge is the wide competition since twitter has endless capacity for users.


  8. Derek Lawton May 6, 2016 / 11:51 pm

    I almost never use Twitter but I know it is a great marketing tool. I think Twitter has faded with consumers our age and has become a major way of companies to market themselves. It helps spread news fast and this is exactly what companies need. I think Twitter is going to be around for a long time they just need to come up with new innovative ideas to keep consumers attention.


  9. Kevin Poulter May 7, 2016 / 12:29 am

    Twitter is a perfect marketing tool. It is a up and coming app with a great way to reach to the younger demographic and the quickest way to get your information out to the masses. Its brief enough not bore your reader but a great way to get your point across. As twitter evolves as a platform so will the companies marketing using twitter.


  10. Meg May 7, 2016 / 1:27 am

    Twitter has quickly become a source of information and news for many people, often the sole source of news for the younger generation. Twitter is a great ways for companies to quickly get out information and discuss discounts and promotions. People are likely to like a tweet and retweet something that they like, and then companies are able to spread information to the friends of their consumers as well. Companies can also use twitter to respond to complaints about their business.


  11. Ashley Alves May 10, 2016 / 3:07 am

    Marketers can use Twitter in a cost-effective way. I believe as long as the Twitter account is staffed at all times the business/company should see success from the account. There is not a need to boost tweets or pay others to promote the company if the twitter page is managed correctly. If consumers are tweeting a company, the company should have someone that is responding right away, in order to create a dialogue. Also, tweeting promotional items is a great tool for marketers to use. People will follow your company on twitter if you are known to let people know of discounts or deals through this social media site. It is also a way for marketers to get instant feedback from their consumer. Consumers are becoming more vocal and twitter helps them do this. If a consumer has a less than satisfactory experience, chances are they will tweet the company directly. This not only gives the company an opportunity to rectify this negative experience but to use this as a way to improve on their product(s).


  12. Maria May 11, 2016 / 3:00 pm

    I mostly use Twitter to follow celebrities or YouTubers I subscribe to on YouTube; as you’ve mentioned, the good thing about Twitter is consumers are able to have that ‘relationship’ with the company or person.

    A feature that is helpful is the poll feature that Twitter have, which companies are able to take to their advantage, however, I mostly see it being used by YouTubers to ask their viewers what theme should be their next YT video. Twitter is a great and must-have social media for those who are trying to build a clientele, and to be able to share quick updates on new features or services/products.


  13. Jessica May 12, 2016 / 6:57 pm

    Twitter is a very successful social media platform. Many companies are now taking full advantage of the opportunity to market their blogs and/or products on twitter. Moving into grad school i have seen more and more how important twitter is to your personal brand as well. Many individuals are utilizing twitter to give employers a better idea of their passions, hobbies, and interests. Building a more personal idea of who they are, outside of their resume and linkedIn. Twitter is a great tool and I believe it will continue to grow as a successful tool in marketing.


  14. Jane Walsh May 12, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    I think twitter reaches a widespread group of people, so marketing via twitter can be a good idea. But, as with many things, ads tend to take over and twitter users will become numb to its affects. I personally am not a very big twitter user, and the idea of there being ads on it is more of a deterrent from my usage.


  15. Jing Wang May 12, 2016 / 11:55 pm

    I think Twitter is a good tool for marketers, but ads tend to be more and more flood in the social media, so it may be lead the audient tired to read the commericial ads.


  16. Xinran Zuo May 13, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    I am really interested in twitter marketing.Twitter facilitates convenient interaction between enterprises and their customers, which enables businesses to get a clear and timely idea of market trends and customer needs. Moreover, marketing costs at Twitter are low. These two aspects make Twitter a good tool to maintain brand image and improve corporate influence. It could even help solve business crises in rapid and effective ways.


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