Home » OPINION » Columns » TODD SMITH — 5 hottest Twitter innovations from big brands

TODD SMITH — 5 hottest Twitter innovations from big brands

Big name brands are testing myriad interactions on Twitter these days to stand out. While some marketers are bulking up their tweets with buttons to drive sales, some of the most interesting uses aren’t about social media at all. Instead, brands such as Mountain Dew, Specialized bikes and Evian enlist Twitter in conjunction with traditional tactics such as on-the-street or video marketing.

Here are five of the most interesting Twitter campaigns from brands in the past few months showcased by Adweek.

Marketers link tweets to sales

Earlier this month, Twitter rolled out a shopping button that brands can employ to drive conversions straight from tweets. Clicking on the “buy” button in tweets triggers a landing page to pop up, where shoppers can type in shipping and payment information.

Home Depot, Burberry and a handful of nonprofits and musicians are among those testing the feature.

The buy button is Twitter’s latest attempt to court more direct response advertisers that use performance-driven metrics like conversion and lead generations.

Direct response branding

When Mountain Dew decided to bring back its Baja Blast drink in July, (after fans sent 30,000 tweets asking for it to come back) the company decided to run a sweepstakes on Twitter asking fans to call a phone number and leave a voicemail for the chance to win a case of the drink.

A call button embedded in tweets within Twitter’s app automatically called a 1-800 number featuring professional skater Paul Rodriguez. A total of 3,500 calls were placed, and 78 percent of the voicemails left lasted longer than 30 seconds.

The tweet (which also included a paid media push) received 600 retweets and more than 1,300 favorites after the contest ended.

In terms of direct response-heavy marketing, Mountain Dew may not be one of the first brands that comes to mind. But the soda giant’s effort could signal a bigger trend, with more brands trying lead generations to drive brand awareness via Twitter.

Racking up video views 

Since launching Twitter Amplify last year, video has become key in the social platform’s revenue strategy.

Specialized Biking Components tested out Twitter’s video ad product during the Tour de France this year with a campaign that doubled engagement rates. The bike brand’s tweets that included videos generated a 6.5 engagement rate, which the company claims is double the level of engagement from last year.

The video product has since become available as a beta product for marketers and could help the company gain a bigger foothold in digital video, which eMarketer predicts will bring in $6 million in ad dollars this year.

Across all social media platforms, Specialized generated about 500,000 engaged users and six million impressions during the bike tournament, an increase from 350,000 last year.

Taking real-time marketing to the street

Evian recently used Twitter to distribute product samples in real life. The water brand’s recent #Evianbottleservice campaign turned tweets from thirsty users into an on-delivery service to dole out free products.

From Aug. 19 to Aug. 21, a team consisting of Evian’s community managers, social media agency Team Epiphany and public relations firm Edelman homed in on social chatter in neighborhoods around city parks to respond to tweets.

Then, consumers in these areas who tweeted the hashtag #Evianbottleservice were met at their location with a bottle of water delivered by a brand ambassador within five to seven minutes.

The stunt generated 147 new Twitter followers per day, and it is also being tested internationally.

YouTube ad revenue to cross $1B in 2014

U.S. advertising revenue for YouTube, the biggest Internet video website, could reach $1.13 billion in 2014, according to a report from research firm EMarketer.

That would be an increase of 39 percent from 2013. A recent research report from Jefferies estimated that total revenue for YouTube would grow to $5.9 billion, up 50 percent from 2012.

YouTube says people watch 6 billion hours of its videos each month and that 80 percent of its traffic comes from outside the U.S.

Looking at the overall U.S. digital video ad market, EMarketer said it expects revenue to increase 56 percent this year to nearly $6 billion. That growth may taper off over the next few years, however, slowing to 13.9 percent in 2018.

It’s worth noting that traditional television advertising continues to dwarf online video’s sales. According to EMarketer, TV’s ad revenue will reach $68.5 billion in 2014.

3 Steps to improve your writing on Twitter

Whether you studied English literature in college or you read the back of a cereal box this morning, if you’re on Twitter, you’re a writer. Here’s how to be better.

1. Edit, edit, edit. With only 140 characters to work with, a single word goes a long way on Twitter. So make it count. To become a better writer on Twitter, you’ve got to be a good editor. You’ll often find that, after writing a tweet, the idea you want to express is just longer than 140 characters. You’re hitting the 160 character mark, and it’s frustrating.

To overcome this, be judicious with your editing. How can you say what you need to say, but more concisely? Is there a shorter word or two you could substitute?

The more practice you get with being concise, the better you’ll be at avoiding that 140-character guardrail. And with some extra characters to spare, you might be able to squeeze in an image or a hashtag next time you tweet – both of which can increase the exposure of your tweet.

2. Check your spelling. A single misspelling can cause your tweet to fall on deaf ears. Your tweet will be ignored by many of your followers – or worse. It might even cause them to unfollow you.

It only takes a few seconds to pass your eyes over your tweet before you hit “Send,” and it’s worth it. It’s easy to type “teh” instead of “the” when you’re eager to reply to someone, and by reviewing quickly you’ll catch these easily fixed – but off-putting – mistakes.

Misspelled tweets indicate that you don’t have time to bother with your Twitter presence. It brands you as lazy, and alienates your followers. Just like with essays or business reports, do a double (or triple) check to make sure your tweets are spelled correctly.

3. Have a “Voice.” Perfect spelling and concise tweeting are two essential elements of properly written tweets, but they don’t go far enough. In fact, if that’s all you master, your tweets will be more than a little bland.

The best writers on Twitter are those who let their personalities shine through. They treat every tweet like a conversation, and they respect those they have conversations with – essentially, all of their followers.

People are looking for value when they traverse the social sphere, so why not give it to them? If you’re funny, write funny tweets. If you’re helpful, write helpful tweets. Write your tweets to reflect your personality, and you’ll quickly attract followers.

Golden Mic | Derek Jeter steps up to the plate in last home game

It was a most improbable ending to Derek Jeter’s career at Yankee Stadium and, at the same time, utterly predictable: ninth inning, runner on second, game on the line and the player who has been called “Captain Clutch” at the plate. As he has done so many times over the past two decades, Jeter jumped on a first-pitch fastball and with that instantly recognizable inside-out swing slapped the ball hard on the ground into right field to score the winning run in a dramatic 6-5 New York Yankees victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Jeter’s last at bat galvanized his image as one of the great sports superstars of our era – and is on his way to Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame. For Jeter’s heroics on – and off – the field, not to mention his branding gold for one of the iconic baseball teams in all the world, he stepped up to the plate and grabbed The Golden Mic.

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.



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