Ads to start running with @earlybird account
Twitter @earlybird is an official Twitter account where Twitter partners with selected advertisers to retweet offers specifically for the Twitter community. The @earlybird account allows advertisers to choose the terms of offers and have those promotions retweeted on the @earlybird account by Twitter. Businesses already utilizing Twitter for promotions within their own account can find added value and exposure by using the @earlybird account. Advertisers pay a fee to have their tweets retweeted through @earlybird.
Big brands such as Coca-Cola have utilized the services and reported success with exposure and retention rate. Disney has also signed up for the program, offering a two-for-one ticket promotion for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Twitter is expecting more companies to utilize the program, including Groupon and other daily deal online announcements.
Obviously, the power of the @earlybird account lies with the followers on Twitter. Currently there are 46,000 followers of the account, with expectations of user following to grow. Twitter is in testing phase of the @earlybird account, but it is expected to open the account openly by 2011, including to smaller companies. Of course, the second power of the interface is for some of the 46,000 current followers to retweet the message within their own accounts, creating a further web of interaction.
We see potential for this type of campaign, especially for bigger brand companies that have current or immediate promotions. As long as companies can see that the followers of the account will be looking for exclusive deals, the spread of the message should have a favorable impact. The main issue, however, is once again social media seems to be missing the effort of including local and small businesses. Social media users are just as much engaged with their local community as they are with national brands, and they would find just as much interest if Mama Dean’s Soul Food Kitchen in Fayetteville, Arkansas, was offering a special discount to these users. The problem, as we recognize, is facilitating the tweets to local users of interest.
We do hope, for Twitter’s sake, that the effort will provide a good revenue stream. We think do think there is an opportunity with this campaign, we would just like to see equal effort initially to include small and local businesses. We see how focusing on big brands can bring in immediate revenue in large sums, but the fear is that once a company experiences this type of commitment to large accounts, the focus will be exclusively on the large accounts. The problem here is that once another medium arises to compete with Twitter (possibly Groupon), Twitter will contain less power and will then have to redirect their efforts to further engage more followers. It just seems that having a two-fold marketing plan that includes small and local businesses along with national brands would avoid such barriers in the future.