EXCERPT: Twitter's got a message for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Appropriately, it's embedded in a hashtag: #LetsDoBusiness.
Specifically, Twitter wants your business, not just as an everyday user but as a paying advertiser. The company continues to build out its relatively young self-service advertising platform in hopes that it becomes a cash cow, a la Google AdWords or Facebook advertising.
Is it worth paying for placement on a site that gives away its core currency -- the 140-character tweet -- for free? The summary response from some early adopters is: Yes, most definitely -- but it helps if you know what you're doing.
Optify's content marketing manager Danie Pote offered the following advice for SMBs that want to add paid advertising to their Twitter mix.
1. Research And Define Your Audience.
Pote advised SMBs to ask the following questions when determining their advertising market: "Who are they Tweeting at? What are they Tweeting? Who do they follow? What types of content do they share? What hashtags do they use? The more of these you know, the better targeted your Tweets will be."
2. Optimize Promoted Tweets For Conversions.
If you're promoting a content download that requires users to give you their information, try to tee that up as much as possible in the tweet. Use words like "download the guide here" or "fill out this quick form to get the guide" along with whatever other copy that makes your content look incredibly appealing, so that you have a much higher chance of having the engagements with your tweets actually be clicks on the link," Pote said. "Remember, you'll get charged for everything -- even clicks to expand the Tweet. So the more of those clicks are on the link, the more traffic to your site and chance of conversion."
3. Organic And Paid Go Hand-In-Hand.
"Content that performs the best organically is likely the content that will perform the best on Promoted Tweets," Pote said.
4. Check Your Campaigns Regularly.
If you're unable to keep tabs on your campaigns throughout the day, you're probably going to pay too much for engagements. "Promoted Products run on a bidding system, and your average bid cost will go down as you begin to win those bids," Pote said. "Check back every couple of hours so that you can lower your max bid based on what your average bid is. This way you end up spending less but still get those impressions and engagements."
5. Small Budgets Can Work.
Most small businesses can't pump thousands of dollars a month into advertising, especially on a single channel. That's not necessarily a problem. "You can make the most out of any budget, even if it's just a couple hundred dollars," Pote said. "Find that sweet spot and you can still drive high volumes of impressions and engagements even if you don't have a lot to spend."
6. Test, Measure, Repeat.
"The success of your campaigns relies entirely on the content you're promoting. Some pieces will perform better than others," Pote said. "I've had content that has flopped completely and I've had content that performed [very well]. If something isn't working, try something else until you find what does work."
Indeed, one thing the marketing minds agree on when it comes to Twitter ads: Cliché or not, content is definitely king. Although basic brand awareness might be just fine for Coca-Cola, lesser-known SMBs have their work cut out for them to stand out. Just as organic isn't an if-you-tweet-they-will-come proposition, neither is paid placement. Twitter devotees aren't often easily impressed, perhaps even less so than on other sites. The "Buy now!!" approach? It's probably going to fail, as will campaigns short on interesting or entertaining content; they're simply too easy to ignore. As AllThingsD reporter Jason Del Rey recently tweeted: "holy hell, do I get targeted with some BORING promoted tweets."
Click here to read the full article. Originally published on InformationWeek by Kevin Casey on June 24, 2013.