This weekend I was pondering the ways to monetise one of my twitter accounts (that's amassed 2360 followers. Woohoo!). How could I profit from this? Initially, I was tempted to bulk buy some items then surreptitiously plug them on twitter with a link through
This got me thinking about the way in which business interacts with social media and how their relationship is constantly evolving. The following are some trends that I’ve noticed. This is by no means an exhaustive/definitive list and it's even less likely
to be an accurate one.
Twitter became the next big thing around 2008/9. Firms realised that they needed to be seen to be cutting edge by way of a social media profile. So the first trend was for firms to jump onto
the social media bandwagon and create profiles on twitter/facebook to tweet/share the latest news and respond to questions from their follower-base.
Once firms realised that social media was an effective way to get their message across, the
second trend was the use of Hashtags. Twitterers like to tweet about the latest in-thing and hashtags can help stimulate conversation, businesses have noticed this. Twitter allows advertisers to promote paid-for hashtags in
its rankings to generate brand awareness. There are times when a company gets this wrong as in the
#McDStories sponsored hashtag for that well known Scottish restaurant. Many twitter users used this as an opportunity to comment on their worst McDonalds experiences. #McFail.
After the rise of the hashtag, the third trend appeared to be the
Celebrity Endorser. Snoop Doogy Dog, Liz Hurley and Kim Cardassian (a z-lister from ITV2) have all been paid to endorse products to their followers. This can an attractive option, it's good for the advertiser as a celebrity will typically have
a fan base of 100,000s of followers. And it's good for the celeb who can earn circa $3-5000 for a single tweet. This type of advertising did backfire for
Rio Ferdinand when his followers replied to a tweet of his promoting Snickers by asking, amongst other things, "Do you really need the money that badly?".
The most recent trend I’ve found is the Non-celebrity Endorser. There are websites such as
Klout and Kred who analyse the influence of twitter users based upon their follower-base and rate them and then offer products/services in the expectation of favourable tweets. Recently, a US car
maker offered social media influencers with a Klout rating of 50 out of 100, the opportunity of a 3-day test drive of their latest model, in the hope of good feedback via social media (Not being US-based, I missed out - so don’t buy US cars!).
What are the other trends that may have passed me by? What are the current trends that you’ve noticed for corporations attempting to leverage social media to their benefit? and more importantly: Does anyone want a bulk order of Royal Wedding ashtrays?!