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It’s been a good few days for Twitter with some positive results and the announcement of Newsfronts – their news streaming feature.  But is this enough to get Twitter motoring?  ‘Good, but more to do’ is what I think and I’m sure they do too.  Here are two ideas for what the ‘more’ could look like.
First, a look at Twitter.  Twitter is a B2B business – a classic media business model where they sell their audience to advertisers.  That audience is however somewhat unique in social media.  Whereas Twitters users are fewer than it’s competition they hold a lot more influence.  This ‘quality media’ positioning was reflected in Bloomberg Media’s comment on the launch of Newsfronts – the partnership would be “focused on the most important news for an intelligent audience”.
For “intelligent” read ‘Influencer’, my experience of Twitter is that whereas it won’t get you huge numbers for an awareness campaign it is vital to have a positive presence on Twitter.  This is because Twitter users have a disproportionate weight of influence.  Influencers are a classic and vital tool of PR campaigns.  If in the New Media world Google can be seen to be the new ‘distribution’ and Facebook ‘advertising’ (see here for more on that) then Twitter is PR.
If Twitter is about influencers and is in the business of selling advertising there is one place these two things come together most – the Cannes Advertising festival.
I believe this should be priority number one for Twitters marketing budget and if it costs the entire budget so be it.  Cannes is where the advertising world meets to “celebrate creativity”.  Media agencies, advertising agencies, social media companies and clients all get together.  Being an influencer rich environment it is fair to say that everybody is already on twitter – all day and all night (check out #CannesLions) – so Twitter should take that fact and use it to drive home it’s power and uniqueness for everybody there.  There is loads that could be done (e.g. hire creatives to do Twitter versions of the best work highlighted at the event) and the bar is very high but getting it right would bring great rewards.
Arguably Influencers currency is credibility.  Twitter serves that need with a built in credibility function – the Verified Tick (the white tick on blue background that appears beside some Twitter handles).  A new revenue stream for Twitter would be to sell it.  Sell the credibility of the Verified Tick to those who want and feel they need it.  There are numerous models but something like $100 per year to less-than-famous individuals up to a cost per 100,000 followers for celebrities and brands.  I am aware that Twitter do in effect sell Verified Tick to brands by giving it in return for a minimum advertising spend but this explores other – potentially more lucrative – routes due to the scale that it could bring.
In summary – know your target (influencers) and what you have to sell (audience).
Mick @_SMMarketing, posted here on Linkedin