Thanks to: Simply Zesty http://t.co/lYx9KaR via @simplyzesty
Case Studies about promoted accounts are hard to find. Success stories about promoted accounts on twitter are very rare. This is a useful case study for brands that are interested in buying their way to success on Twitter, Amtrak (a train service in the U.S.) havereleased stats to show how they doubled their followers on Twitter using a combination of Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts. Over a period of 3 months, the followers on the Amtrak account have doubled from 10,000 to over 20,000 , with 8,000 specifically linked to the Promoted Accounts placement. These are impressive results and show that Twitter’s unique advertising products work on the site, in order to gain more followers. Up until their investment in promotions on Twitter, the Amtrak account hadn’t matched the success of their Facebook activity, so they took the decision to pay for followers. A graph found via Media Culpa shows the sustained growth on their account, with the increase starting in April, when they introduced their promotions :
The pay for follow tactic certainly seems to have worked for Amtrak. But is this ultimately beneficial for the ecosystem of Twitter? They have achieved this growth despite only actually following 95 people, which you could argue is not the way to sustain an active corporate account, that is of use to their followers :
A new type of corporate Twitter?
The conversation on their account is decidedly one way, with roughly 1 in 20 tweets being replies to people, or retweets of other accounts. Amtrak’s growth and rise to success has almost been achieved entirely because of a direct ‘paying for followers’ model, as opposed to other means such as running an engaging account or exciting campaign that gets people interested and following. And they have a fairly large potential userbase, that should be interested in the content that they have to offer. So is this type of use for Twitter sustainable? Although Amtrak have invested in promotions through Twitter, the way in which they’re using their account isn’t supportive of the way in which Twitter functions. They have paid for their followers, but don’t seem particularly interested in doing anything with them. Looking at the tweets on their account, which are nearly all one-way messages, you would assume there is little conversation around the brand. A search for @amtrak however, shows a different story :
Given that one of their trains was also recently involved in a crash, you would also expect the level of tweets from Amtrak to be much higher, responding to individuals questioning this, as well as general customer care issues. But consistently over the past month or so, the account has been all about pushing one way messages. This shows the somewhat skewed approach to buying your followers on Twitter. What have Amtrak really bought other than a number on the side of their account? The best use of Promoted Accounts on Twitter lies in using them in conjunction with organic activity and of course, a good representative for your Twitter account. While you might look to Amtrak as a new way of using Twitter – simply as a noticeboard of information with no need to engage in conversation, akin to following the RSS feed of a news site for example, it seems odd to pay for followers but then do little to further that engagement for the maximum benefit and continue free, organic growth.
This shows the consideration that brands must take when investing in promotions on Twitter. It’s slowly going to look more and more like the Facebook Pages that are on a race for Likes, with no real strategy as to what to do in order to maximise on the followers or even how to keep them there once you’ve paid for them. This could be ultimately detrimental to Twitter, as it becomes a system of noticeboards from companies, that interrupt the natural way of conversing between profiles.