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Twitter Marketing: It's More Like E-mail Than You Think

And That's Why It's Worth the $100 Million Investment

By Published on . 4

Zephrin Lasker
Zephrin Lasker
Twitter delivered incredible news with its $100 million funding round, but many are wondering how it can justify this valuation, considering that many marketers who use it aren't paying anything to the company.

Here's the good news for Twitter. It is real. And it is valuable. Comments like "@bibinetallez i say we keep all skittles lime green ! its such a perfect colour" or "@beaupitcher You'll see more last minute offers on our other feed @JetBlueCheeps" deliver an understanding of consumer behavior that very few television ads can hope to achieve.

Viewed in this context, for Twitter to justify $100 million in financing and potentially a $1 billion valuation, it needs to leverage the data it knows and transform it into real results and real revenue for marketers. It can start by studying what made email successful and work towards integrating these best practices for marketers.

Many email-like capabilities would be valuable to Twitter advertisers -- the ability to segment audiences, access dynamic reporting, test and optimize campaigns in real time, conduct A/B creative tests and port newly acquired consumers directly into the Twitter engagement stream.

Like any social-networking campaign, loyalty program and, yes, even an email campaign, Twitter is an excellent vehicle for brand marketers to engage consumers in relevant ways. If Twitter can deliver on these basic capabilities it should find no shortage of advertiser dollars. Advertisers can start and deploy Twitter campaigns easily, using practices that are not very different from email. Twitter marketers will find that they are able to build responsive Twitter groups by focusing on two of the most important aspects of email marketing:

Getting the right consumers
Great groups are made up of people with high intent and interest. This is why, before anything, you should first run an acquisition campaign to acquire Twitter user names of people who are interested in your brand.

Performance advertising is the most efficient way to accomplish this objective cost-effectively. You can add a checkbox to your search landing pages, where consumers can give you permission to contact them on Twitter. Or you could run a campaign to offer products or information, in exchange for the right to communicate via one's Twitter handle.

Once you have a file of all of the users that have expressed interest in hearing from you via Twitter, you can easily connect with them using Twitter's easy-to-use API, which allows you to put external data into the Twitter system, and build a group of people with high intent -- a community.

Engage your Twitter group in a relevant way
The rules of etiquette for good Twitter communication are the same as those for human-to-human interaction (remember that?).

Email marketers know the value of relevancy in communications. Retailers, technology marketers and even political candidates segment their databases down to zip code, age, sex and other vital demographics. Once the campaign is deployed, consumers are further segmented based on their frequency of response. The aim always is to make the consumer feel unique, special and understood (a difficult goal for a therapist, let alone an email marketer).

Good Twitter marketing requires listening to your consumers and offering considered responses. Be interesting. Be relevant. Make your community feel special. Give them special deals and offers that they can't get elsewhere. Empower them with the tools they need to be powerful advocates for your brand. And, as you would do for any other campaign, optimize.

As marketers like Zappos, Skittles and JetBlue have found out, Twitter is a great medium for engaging consumers in a real-time, two-way conversation. The Twitter efforts of these marketers, and so many others, are in line with a broader shift in brand marketing: the move from broadcasting to engagement.

Twitter is a relatively new vehicle on the marketing block, but the rules for successful Twitter marketing aren't very different from what's worked in the past. Start your vehicle. Engage. Accelerate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zephrin Lasker is CEO of Pontiflex, a New York-based CPL lead-generation market.
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