Twitter is a relatively new arena for organizations to promote themselves and can be an important tool for generating conversation about new products and services but like any user-generated forum it can go disastrously wrong. With only 140 characters at their disposal twitter users can make or break a campaign depending solely on the mood they happen to be in. Creating a Twitter page for an organization is comparable to giving everyone in the world a marker and allowing them to write whatever they feel about an organization on the front door for everyone to see. Twitter is a dangerous game to play when an organization’s reputation is on the line, hanging in the open waiting to be torn apart by dissatisfied customers. The following are three rules to follow that will make for a successful Twitter campaign
1. The Twitter campaign should lead to something that people actually want.
At SXSW (South by South West, a festival held yearly in Austin, Texas) this year, Jay Z teamed up with American Express and Twitter to promote themselves by creating a Twitter campaign in which Twitter users could sync American Express accounts with Twitter hash tags to earn discounts to the Jay Z concert. Basically to get into the Jay Z concert the fan would have to have an American Express Card and a Twitter account.
2. Be specific in who you target.
To promote it’s new car, Volkswagon sponsored Paneta Terra (the largest music festival in Brazil) but instead of simply giving out tickets they used Twitter and Google Maps in an inexpensive yet highly effective campaign. The tickets were hidden around the city and the word was spread that the more a person Tweets the closer the Google Map would zoom towards the ticket location. When the map zoomed close enough the location of the hidden ticket was given and they raced to find it. In the end thousands of Tweets were made all specifically in San Pablo where the concert was held.
3. Keep the campaign simple.
Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream devised a simple but effective use of Twitter. All the user had to do was Tweet all the normal Tweets that they Tweet and the Fair Trade app would take the remaining unused characters and make a separate Tweet promoting the World Fair Trade day. As long as all 140 characters were not used a good message was spread automatically.
If a Twitter campaign goes wrongs as they frequently do I believe that the best response is a new Twitter campaign done correctly the second time. Twitter failures can be disastrous but are not long lasting and a second successful campaign will easily heal the effects of the first.