Pondering PR

Exploring how we choose to be heard in a noisy online world.


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Twitter Ads…To pay or not to pay?

twitter pic

This week has been pretty much a crash course for me in terms of Twitter, and their specialized advertising packages: Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts and Promoted Trends. As public relations practitioners- in-training, our job was to find out if there was any potential value to a public relations program.

According to Twitter, the 140 character or less way for people, communities and businesses to “talk about what they care about and what’s happening around them right now”, their power is that the conversations are happening in “real time”, with the opportunity to influence opinion, see and react to what is important to your target market through the strategic use of key words, hash tags and links. That’s pretty heady stuff, and much different than with Facebook, where as blogger AJ Kohn notes :

“Facebook aggregates your social graph while Twitter aggregates everything around a specific topic.  Even when someone shares something on Facebook it’s as much about who shared it with you as what is shared. You’re connected with the person not the content. Twitter is the other way around, with content coming first and people reduced to a filter.”

Very attractive from a public relations stand-point, and by doing a bit of research on your market, you can increase the potential reach of your company’s “conversation” through well-executed strategies. Twitter then ups the ante by allowing businesses to increase their reach via geography, targeted statistics such as interests, gender, devices or similarity to existing followers via  focused “niches” by offering promoted advertisements.

The cheapest options are Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts where you would “bid” to have your ad displayed. Advertisers are encouraged to set daily and monthly limits, at which case the ad would simply turn off.

Twitter explains that Promoted Tweets are “tweets you have already tweeted that you wish to promote. They appear in timelines and search results.”  This service typically costs between $0.50 – $2.00 per click (or what they call an “engagement”).  Twitter is quick point out that the typical cost would fall around $1.35, and that you pay only when your tweet is clicked, replied, retweeted or “favourited.”

Promoted Tweet

Promoted Accounts offers “the ability to promote accounts to potential followers” often costing between $2.50-$4.00 per new follower.

Promoted Account1

Promoted Trends are the most expensive at $200,000/day, and it’s easy to see via Twitter’s Success page that purchasers are pretty much what they consider to be their “XL” clients and while the returns can be substantial (check out the Paramount Picture’s story), quite honestly not many companies have that sort of available marketing cash at their finger-tips.

Promoted Trend

So how do you justify the cost of Twitter’s promoted marketing programs?  It comes down to time and expertise. Twitter has become very good at collecting statistics and identifying trends as noted by Kim Garst, so much so that they help you take the guess-work out of identifying your target market while coming in cheaper than other platforms.  Freeing your time to work on other campaigns, which if you have the budget, in my opinion equals pretty good ROI.

Clara Shih “What’s the Endgame for Social Media?”

I’ve just started following Clara Shih on LinkedIn, the CEO of Hearsay Social and Author of The Facebook Era.  Take a moment to browse this article and if you’re on LinkedIn you might want to check out some of her other posts. I find she’s asking the right type of questions about how businesses can tap into social media by stressing the importance of the relationship – something that businesses may not have brought into their social media “concept” framework previously.


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Welcome to Pondering PR….

caveman email

Hello and welcome everyone to Pondering PR – my introductory blog started as a project for the Social Media online course available through Ryerson University.

I have to admit that I’m feeling very much like the photo above – a bit of a dinosaur facing the daunting task of learning how to best use social media. That’s me there writing on the wall :). I only recently started embracing social media, having being dragged kicking and screaming by family members into the Facebook world just a few years ago, and I am still, I shamefully admit, a relative “noob” when it comes to the other social media platforms. I’ve just recently created a Twitter handle, and am slowly wrapping my head around how best to incorporate it into my daily life, and I am starting to learn more about some of the other popular programs.  My personal goal is to become very fluent in social media use before the end of this course.

What is becoming extremely evident is the incredible range of possibilities that social media offers – for the public and the business world.  Never has the emphasis on the power of relationships and conversation ever been more evident in how we interact and do business today. It’s exciting, and scary, all at the same time, because that level of interaction and expectation of customer service has very quickly become the norm – unheard of even five years ago.  What really struck a chord when reviewing our course reading was the point made by John Hayes, CMO of American Express, who stated in an article by McKinsey Quarterly  when talking about the role of social media and American Express’ marketing plan with an employee, that “the world is going to decide whether or not this has real value, talk about it, and then position it pretty much how they want to position it.  (I) don’t get to control everything that’s said about us, (but) understand, you’re still 100 percent accountable for the outcome.”  A daunting task for public relations professionals indeed.  And as Haynes noted, not fair for the organization or for the employee.

I believe however that there is great power in an integrated social media public relations campaign to help support customer service in a company and to help launch and position a brand (but as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility”).  I am looking forward to the weeks ahead to learn more about how best to harness it!

Please take a moment to leave me your thoughts – the link for comments is above at the top left.  Lets start the conversation rolling!

Cindy Tate