Twitter advertising has been a hot topic this year, with countless big brands signing up to reach the 300+ million users to promote their airlines, luxury cars, sodas and numerous other consumer products. A beta program in which advertisers were vetted and approved, the minimum cost for Twitter ads was $5,000. A month. With a three-month obligation. That’s pretty steep for many small and even mid-sized businesses, especially to test something out for the first time. Advertising on Twitter was deemed a tactic small businesses with similarly-sized advertising budgets could only dream of. Until now. Teaming up with American Express, Twitter recently announced a small business advertising solution, which will roll out in March to the first 10,000 applicants (small business owners who are also AmEx card holders). The self-serve program will allow advertisers to buy and place their own ads, ala Google Adwords. The small business ads will be similar to the Twitter advertising program that was already available bigger brands and budgets, but actually obtainable, as there won’t be the $5,000 a month, three-month minimum. Small business can finally test Twitter ads with their own budgets, for their own needs. And AmEx will even throw in $100 advertising credit to those lucky enough to be among the first 10,000 to try it out. There will be two advertising options available: Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets. Here’s how they work: Earn more followers with Promoted Accounts Great for building a following you can continually engage with, this option would show your business’s Twitter profile as a recommendation to users for “who to follow.” But who sees that recommendations? That’s up to you. That’s right: you can determine who sees the suggestion based on their location, interests or topics they’re discussing on Twitter. Imagine if you own a business that provides a product or service that someone just tweeted that they wanted / needed. Your profile could be shown as someone they should follow. You might even get to some users before they go to do a Google search for auto repair, new lighting, or real estate agent, etc… The cost per follower really depends on the competition, but since it’s so low, even big businesses aren’t paying much more than a couple of dollars, so it’s likely much less for small businesses. This option may be best for most small businesses who are still working on building their brand awareness and following. Spread your message with Promoted Tweets Let’s say you’ve been fairly active on social media, and are feeling pretty good about your follower base on Twitter. First, good for you! We are aware of the hard work and dedication that goes into building and nurturing a Twitter presence. Now, maybe you don’t want to necessarily pay for followers; that’s fine. There’s still an advertising option for you by way of Promoted Tweets.
Promoted Tweets allow you to share a message (that, if we’ve taught you anything, includes a link back to your website or some sort of call to action you’re hoping for viewers to take) visible in your followers’ streams, as well as the streams of users Twitter finds similar to your followers. So yes, if the message is relevant to them, you could end up with new followers as well.
The main difference with this option is that instead of paying for each new follower you earn from an ad, you pay for engagement. A click to a link, hashtag, or the details pane all count as engagement, as well as a retweet, reply, or favorite. Sure, it may sound like a lot of options to spend money, but remember, you set your own bids and manage your budgets and again, competition is low, low, low. Big businesses who’ve been utilizing Promoted Tweets have had a minimum cost per engagement of $0.10, but it’s widely suggested to set the CPE bid at least $0.50. Again, that’s big businesses, so small businesses starting out can likely expect to pay much less. If you’re not able to be among the first 10k for the AmEx trial, be prepared for Twitter to roll out its small business advertising in the coming months.