On Twitter, every account has a profile page. As you can see in the screen capture to the left, the profile page includes your “bio” – a very short blurb about yourself, a background image, your number of followers, and your live stream of tweets – meaning the tweets you sent out. It’s the background image we want to talk about today.
We saw a really interesting story recently in Advertising Age. The article was about how People StyleWatch used the background image on their Twitter profile page for promoting a product (in this case Jergens). Although the example could not get much more consumer-oriented, we actually thought this was the start of a potentially highly successful way to ease B2B companies into social media.
Let’s start with some background facts. We know that many companies, whether Business-to-Business or Business-to-Consumer, worry about jumping into social media. In addition to concerns like brand maintenance and how to measure efforts, companies simply are not sure how they can find the time needed to create a successful online presence. Building a Twitter following or a healthy Facebook community takes time, consistent effort, and a lot of patience. What becomes a lesser priority as those priorities rise? That can be a tough call.
While many companies are struggling with these issues, many publishers have already begun the process of building a social media presence, even in industries where social media has not become a major force. In fact, many publishers have been on Twitter and Facebook for 2-3 years now. Because a lot of their advertisers are not using social media, however, these publishers have had a difficult time in truly leveraging their online presence for the benefit of their readers and advertisers.
That’s where our idea comes into play.
What if a B2B publisher that already has a Twitter account created a program where their background image could feature a different product monthly, weekly, or whatever time interval would be desired? This would accomplish a lot with a very simple action:
1. The publisher would have an easy-to-understand way to bring advertisers into the social media world
2. Advertisers would have a way to “test drive” social media without having to do the day-to-day work
3. Publishers would create a new revenue source
4. Ideally, the advertiser whose product is being featured would benefit from new leads
The pricing for this type of program could potentially be difficult to pin down. If the publisher does not have a large following on Twitter, it would be difficult to charge a substantial amount of money for the opportunity because, reason dictates, the featured product would not be seen by many people. On the other hand, publishers would need to price the program with an eye towards future growth. As the account grows and more eyes view the profile page, one would expect the pricing to incrementally increase.
Communication would also be essential for this sort of program. The publisher would need to advise the advertiser how many followers the account had, and the publisher would likely need to validate those followers – how many of those followers are actual active accounts? Because URLs in the background image are not clickable, we’d advise publishers to use space in their short bio statement to point to the featured advertiser’s website.
Finally, the publisher would have to make sure to drive traffic to their profile page. Once an account follows you on Twitter, that person usually doesn’t return to your profile page. They simply look for your updates in their overall stream. The publisher would need to make sure that people were reminded to go back and see the featured product.
One thing we did note about the Jergens promotion, which is still live as of the writing of this post, is that there is no URL, no call to action, and no information about the product. The background is simply an image of a product. In the B2B space, or for any brand not as well-known as Jergens, this would be a poor way to use the opportunity. The image would need to be tweaked so that a URL at the very least would be visible. The advertiser should also be advised to benchmark web traffic before and after the campaign to monitor the impact.
If your company is not using Social Media right now, would you consider this kind of program as a way to test out social media as a tool? Why or why not?
We’d love to hear your thoughts!