Brafton recently reported that Twitter users are sharing more about themselves via the microblog, including local information. While local targeting on the social site may benefit brands, one expert at Affiliate Summit West suggests an alternate method of making consumers feel that a brand is close by – "Twitter parties."
Wade Sisson, director of marketing at Schaaf-PartnerCentric, says his clients have seen success attracting traffic through Twitter parties. Twitter parties bring together a group of Twitter users to discuss a specific topic and connect businesses to consumers in real time.
Sisson says this strategy helped one client gain key traffic to its site and generated significant brand exposure. His client is a small fashion retailer. "If Kleenex were the industry leader, this client was as unknown as [the proverbial] 'Schmoe Blows His Nose' brand," explains Sisson.
By creating a brand- and event-specific hashtag, the company started promoting its Twitter party to discuss new merchandise in the industry. The party was to be hosted by an expert at the company who could effectively lead industry discussions.
The client began tweeting invites to the party through the microblogging site, targeting industry influencers and bloggers who have a Twitter presence. The invites included a link to a page on the client's site that gave the details of the event (including potential prizes for participants who shared valuable insight).
After hosting its first Twitter party, the company generated impressive traffic to its event page and, ultimately, its main site. The brand built sustainable relationships with customers via the valuable Tweet and landing page content surrounding the party. It also benefited from impressive amounts of user-generated content on Twitter and elsewhere on the web based on Twitter party conversation.
The client decided to host more Twitter parties, relying on in-house experts to facilitate conversations. Each time, it asked attendees to retweet valuable information. Before long, the business was courted by Women's Wear Daily, and this contact significantly helped boost brand awareness.
The success of this client's Twitter party indicates that taking time to generate quality social content pays off – and this is confirmed by other Affiliate Summit experts who advocate social content development in 2011.
Sisson believes time and resources are what hold brands back from trying Twitter parties and other innovative social outreach, though he argues brands only "get out what they put in."
Brafton has reported that, indeed, time and resources are brands' biggest barriers to social marketing success. But investing more in social campaigns will likely be a competitive necessity in 2011; more than half of marketers (62 percent) plan to allocate 20 percent of their overall budgets into social media this year.