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Marketing on Twitter

By - June 05, 2008

Marketing exec Ian Schafer has gotten folks talking (in particular, over at Mashable) about his move to sell his Twitter background on eBay. This is clearly an experiment, as much as I like following Ian on Twitter, I doubt his pageviews support anything other than a super endemic, non scalable campaign. That said, it got me thinking, how might Twitter make money? It’s got the attention of a lot of people. But it’s also got the Facebook problem – millions of hours of attention, fractured in millions of ways. Not exactly the one to many model so loved by traditional approaches to marketing. I pinged Evan Williams and he said his focus was not on figuring out this problem at the moment (and I am certain that is the right answer – after all, he’s got other oceans to boil).

For me, one answer to the Facebook problem was the launch of the platform. That provided cool applications and services that started to feel like publications – Watercooler, Graffiti, etc. And Twitter has so much potential. Perhaps it should launch a platform as well….

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11 thoughts on “Marketing on Twitter

  1. LM says:

    ugh, I was a fan of Facebook in the earlier days — until I started getting gobs of gook from friends inviting me to rank their monetary and/or “hotness” value, join in a ninja vs pirate war, and other random applications “spam” as I call it. My friends became the enemy –
    “stop sending me this stuff!”

    Hope twitter stays the (deceptively) simple same for awhile at least…

  2. Give users the option to charge their followers and take a cut.

  3. Jim Jeffers says:

    That’s one way to throw your money out the window. I sincerely doubt anyone repeatedly goes to a specific persons twitter page aside to begin following them. It’s just now how the behavior of most twitter users works.

  4. Brad Coffey says:

    I think twitter can be a powerful marketing tool when used correctly – just look at what Zappos has been able to do with the tool once they got up to scale and started benefiting from its network effects.

    I think the biggest benefit is for monitoring your brand and engaging bloggers/media in real time. There also seems to be some good benefits to using Twitter for PR.

    Mike Volpe at HubSpot actually has a good post on the topic that talks about these benefits:
    How to Use Twitter for Marketing & PR

  5. I think that they could sell commercial twits in the personal profiles like tvspots or email marketing.
    Obvously they should calibrate the number of the the commrcial twits and they should profile the users to make relevant advertising..

    In this strategy they should even make a really good work for corporate communication. They should be sincere telling about the economics and techinal problems, and they should be clear to speak about their need and the changes of the service.

    The users love Twitter and if they arrange for down servers, they could arrange for direct, discrete and useful twit adv!

    My italian 2 cents.

  6. Free SMS says:

    yeah, how might Twitter make money?

  7. Tim O'Reilly says:

    Hmmm–isn’t twitter already a platform? Seems to me that there are some very useful apps built around twitter already. More to the point, twitter is a useful system service of the emerging internet operating system. It needs to get more reliable, but hey, there are already useful apps.

  8. John Battelle says:

    Tim – Yes, there are useful apps, but they don’t talk to the platform in very useful ways. I wish someone would integrate the entire experience. Discovering new folks to follow is a very random experience, for example. I know someone could create a great app if Twitter exposed more data and made the UI open.

  9. tweetip says:

    John – what data isn’t exposed yet? How can they open more of their UI?

    Via the api we’re creating an app with no reliance on the browser. So is Twhirl, and others you’ll never hear about.

  10. @tweetip yes, data is exposed (I assume, I am not a developer) and as Evan noted to me, there are tons of apps already. But they do not make sense to a normal person who doesn’t understand Twitter, the way they do on Facebook, where they are very integrated into the UI of the site itself. I sense if Twitter is going to move past being a reflecting pool for us Web 2 natives, it has to solve this issue.

  11. Ashley says:

    For anyone that might be in the business of creating some new software or new apps. Glyphius is a very helpful way to help market your product and help to get better recognized.