Partnering Your Business with Twitter; A Conversation with Brent Herd

Long time Twitter users Desiree Scales and Joe Magennis speak with Brent Herd, the Director of Southeast Partnerships for Twitter, on this episode of The Bella Buzz podcast.

In the face of feature enhancements by other major social networks, Twitter continues to provide a simple to use platform for communications.  With 140 character limitations and minimal user disruption, the service continues to be a stronghold for messaging and breaking news coverage in particular.

It is possible that many listeners were not aware that Twitter had opened some satellite offices with the intention of helping brands take advantage of the sponsorship opportunities.  Brent opened the Atlanta office in January of 2011 and has dealt directly with some of the major residents of the city such as Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola.

He has gone beyond just a simple sales role and has witnessed first hand how some of these companies are integrating Twitter into their total customer service package.  Delta has their own Social Lab set up with flat screen panels to monitor Twitter activity.  They use the real time information that they are collecting to respond to customers, to be proactive, and even manage connecting traffic. They have  a specific Twitter account @DeltaAssist for these efforts.

There are a variety of different sponsorship opportunities available on the platform, Promoted Trends, Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts  ..   Brent gives us a nice breakdown of each segment, specifically pointing out the company’s intention of making them as organic as the conversations on Twitter themselves.

  • Promoted Trends – Giving the advertiser the ability to own one of the hashtags that appears in the Top 10 trends on Twitter.  It is analogous to a placement on a web site home page.
  • Promoted Tweets – (interesting factoid; It took Twitter about 3.5 years to get to 1 billion tweets, now they do 1 billion tweets in about 3 – 4 days!)  Advertisers now have the ability to put together a very targeted campaign, including geo-targeting, so that a finite group of users will see a sponsored message.  These can be very affordable campaigns since they are based on CPA type models.  They use the term “engagement” as a measurement, which includes Replies, Retweets and Click Throughs.  Current engagement statistics are 3% – 5%, much higher than standard click through rates on the web.
  • Promoted Accounts – helps brands build a follower base in a very quick time period.
Another interesting approach to using Twitter and the ability of a brand to develop a “personality” is the way that Coca-Cola uses the @DocPemberton account.  This is a fictional representation of the inventor of Coca-Cola, who lived in Atlanta during the 1800′s.  This consistent messaging represents a form of branding that is less intrusive than the standard dissemination of corporately crafted fare.  (Baseball fans will be reminded of the @OldHossRadbourn Twitter account)
To wrap up our conversation, Brent fills us in on the Analytics dashboard platform for publishers, with hints at features to come. Also, keep an eye out in the coming weeks for the deep integration of Twitter with the new iOS devices such as the iPhone 5.
We want to extend our sincere thanks to Brent for joining us on the podcast, and we look forward to another interview in the future.


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