A great way to boost your social presence, but light on analytics.
I have a confession to make: I’ve been buying Twitter followers. 87 of them to date.
It all started when I saw a promotional tweet from American Express offering $100 in Twitter advertising credits to small business owners that wanted to try out Twitter’s new self-serve tool. Never one to turn down free advertising, I followed Amex and responded to the offer.
Twitter’s self serve advertising tool offers two ways to boost your social presence: Promoted Accounts (pay-per-follower) and Promoted Tweets (pay-per-click).
With Promoted Accounts, Twitter features your account under the “Who to Follow” section. You pay each time someone follows you, but only if they follow you because you showed up as a Promoted Account.
Here’s how Twitter support described it to me:
You are only charged when someone clicks the Follow button from the Ad itself. Your Promoted Account will appear in the ‘Who to Follow’ section, and if someone follows you from this location, you will be charged.
If a user finds you by other means, or if your account is displayed in ‘Who to Follow’, but not as an Ad, you won’t be charged for Follows.
I guess the big question is if Twitter highlights you as a promoted account in “Who to Follow” when your account would have shown up anyway. That would mean you’re paying for followers you could have gotten anyway.
Stats are quite limited, too. You can’t see which followers were paid versus free. You can’t change the date range of your stats, either. Basically, this is what you get:
At a minimum of 50 cents per follower, Promoted Accounts makes sense for some types of Twitter users. Frankly, it would even be worth it to me if it attracted good followers. But I don’t know who I’m paying for and who is following me organically, so it’s hard to evaluate the results.
The other advertising option is the Promoted Tweet. You’ve undoubtedly seen promoted tweets in your twitter stream from time to time.
These are pay-per-click. But here’s the rub: advertisers don’t get to pick which of their tweets get promoted. Instead, Twitter picks “5 of your most engaging, recent Tweets”. You have the option to block tweets from the list, but this requires quite a bit of management.
It’s not a problem for companies trying to promote their products if they don’t also tweet about other things. In my case, I frequently tweet links to other interesting domain articles. I don’t want to pay 50 cents per click to send traffic to these other sites.
I think Twitter advertising will be a gold mine for certain companies. I’ll continue to play around with it as well, but until Twitter offers more analytics it will be difficult to determine an ROI.
In the meantime, feel free to follow me (for free) @DomainNameWire