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Mobile Matters

AmExTweet

Twitter and AmEx Team Up on Big Ideas for Small Businesses

by: | March 15, 2012

Long before Twitter emerged as a mainstream phenomenon, small businesses were aggressively exploring the platform’s potential as a marketing tool, leveraging real-time interaction to promote new products and services, advertise discounts and coupons, and keep patrons updated on all their activities.

But despite the number of SMBs active on Twitter, the company’s efforts to monetize its business via marketing programs like Promoted Tweets (ordinary tweets purchased by advertisers looking to reach a wider group of consumers or foster engagement from their existing followers) and Promoted Accounts (paid suggestions that push users in the direction of accounts they don’t currently follow but may find interesting based on their profile and preferences) have catered solely to Fortune 500 companies and national brands.

Until now, that is.

In late March, Twitter will introduce a new advertising service expressly targeting the SMB segment, promising versions of Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts designed to help companies of all shapes and sizes reach wider online audiences. Specifics on Twitter’s plans are still scarce, but partners include American Express: Cardmembers and merchants in the U.S. will be invited to test-drive the new advertising solution before anyone else, and AmEx is giving $100 in free advertising to the first 10,000 eligible businesses to sign up. For more details, click here.

Proximity-based Twitter offers and rewards would open up enormous new opportunities for all involved, enabling SMBs to promote deals that are valid for as long or short a time as they wish—lunchtime specials, perhaps, or late-night discounts to help burn off that day’s inventory.

Twitter now boasts more than 100 million active users worldwide, 55 percent of them active on mobile devices. Many are already interacting with their favorite businesses—not just big, global brands and retailers, either, but also food trucks, artisans, and other local merchants.

American Express wants to deepen the business/consumer relationship by making it even easier for Twitter followers to capitalize on offers from the companies they care about: Separate from the new SMB initiative, the card services provider is introducing a new program that rewards customers for tweeting.

Cardmembers can now sync their credit cards with Twitter, and when they tweet using special offer hashtags, AmEx loads paperless coupons directly into their accounts. There is nothing to print out or redeem; instead, when the cardmember uses that same AmEx card to make a qualified purchase in-store or online with a participating retailer, an automatic statement credit is issued within a matter of days.

American Express is launching the Twitter hashtag rewards program in association with brands including Best Buy, McDonald’s, Whole Foods Market, Sports Authority and The Cheesecake Factory. But it’s easy to imagine the effort expanding to local businesses sooner rather than later. Don’t forget that last November, American Express teamed with foursquare for Small Business Saturday, which awarded a $25 credit to all shoppers who linked their AmEx card to their foursquare account and checked in at participating merchant locations.

Proximity-based Twitter offers and rewards would open up enormous new opportunities for all involved, enabling SMBs to promote deals that are valid for as long or short a time as they wish—lunchtime specials, perhaps, or late-night discounts to help burn off that day’s inventory. The possibilities are endless, and even better, the Twitter rewards concept takes advantage of social networking behaviors that are already second nature to all participants in the value chain.

Everyone wins—Twitter, American Express, consumers, and the retailers and restaurants at the crux of the virtual conversation.Marketing Zeus

Additional Resources:
Social Media 101: A Small Business Owner’s Guide
Better Restaurant Websites and Social Media Tips

Posted in: B2C, Campaign Development, E-Commerce, Geolocation, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Matters, Twitter, Viral Marketing

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

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