If you’ve got a small business and an American Express card, Twitter is making it easier for you to buy ads from their website. In December the social media network began testing a new self-serve advertising platform and has announced that it’s now accepting sign-ups from small businesses.

Previously, buying Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts was a bit of a hassle, requiring advertisers to work with a sales representative to set a budget, pick run dates and target locations, and submit an application to be added to a line of people that wanted to advertise on Twitter. The new self-serve advertising platform allows for the direct purchase of ads from the site using only a credit card.

As of now you either have to accept American Express or be a cardholder yourself in order to take advantage of the service. The first 10,000 businesses to register will receive a $100 credit through Amex to advertise on the site.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo explains how the self-serve ad platform works to small business’ advantage:

As is the case for any of Twitter’s 3,000 advertisers, small businesses can set bids for promoted accounts on a cost-per-follower basis and for promoted tweets on a cost-per-engagement basis/ In the latter case they pay only when users actively engage with the tweet (by retweeting, for instance.) While national brands might be bidding on keywords or hashtags associated with major events like the Oscars, which makes bidding competitive and expensive, small businesses would be more likely to bid on highly specific terms and to localize their bid.

Twitter representative Matt Graves believes the self-serve ad platform will help small businesses to grow and engage with loyal communities, and to better compete with larger brands. “Our Promoted Products can help small and medium-sized businesses build their audience on Twitter and better engage with the people they want to reach,” explains Graves.

This is a great opportunity for small businesses to get into the paid ads arena on Twitter. However, it’s important for owners to recognize that Twitter isn’t all about paid advertising. It’s about connecting and communicating with fans and followers. A huge part of building brand loyalty through Twitter is the dialogue created between two parties- the business and the customer. Users enjoy the two-sided dynamic which allows them to praise, promote and provide feedback to the brands that they follow. With a proper twitter strategy in place, and a well proportioned combination of both promoted and organic dialogue, businesses will be taking advantage of twitter’s full marketing potential.

As a small business owner, do you plan to purchase ads for your Twitter feed? And to all Twitter users- do you worry the new self-serve platform might change the Twitter experience with too much advertising? We’d like to hear what you think in the comments section below.

If you’re interested in signing up for the service, click here. Be aware that the new ad system is not yet live, but you’re invited to sign up for the formal launch in March.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Nathan Riley says:

    what does having a promoted tweet or promoted account mean? what does it do for a business’ tweet or account?

    • An advertiser buys a Promoted Tweet when they want to reach a wider audience than just their followers and spark engagement with users. They are labeled as Promoted Tweets, but act just as regular Tweets in that they can be retweeted, replied to, favorited, etc. You can see an example of a Promoted Tweet in the picture above.

      You can find Promoted Accounts under the Who to Follow widget on the left side of your Twitter homepage, which suggests accounts that people don’t already follow and may be interested in. Buying a Promoted Account increases the visibility of your Twitter page.

      Learn more about Promoted Tweets and Accounts at the Twitter Help Center.

  • An advertiser buys a Promoted Tweet when they want to reach a wider audience than just their followers and spark engagement with users. They are labeled as Promoted Tweets, but act just as regular Tweets in that they can be retweeted, replied to, favorited, etc. You can see an example of a Promoted Tweet in the picture above.You can find Promoted Accounts under the Who to Follow widget on the left side of your Twitter homepage, which suggests accounts that people don’t already follow and may be interested in. Buying a Promoted Account increases the visibility of your Twitter page.Learn more about Promoted Tweets and Accounts at the Twitter Help Center.

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