These days brands have begun to understand how useful Twitter can be as a marketing channel, whether we are talking about using the basic functionality or combining the micro-blogging network with new technologies. But just how effective are campaigns run on or using Twitter?

Social Network Marketing: Twitter proving more adept than Facebook

Figures from Australian firm Macquarie Securities recently revealed that revenue generated from advertising on Twitter is far higher that than that generated by a Facebook promotion. This is despite the fact that Mark Zuckerberg’s world-leading social network has a much greater number of users and advertisers.

In fact the Twitter platform seems to be proving its worth as an advertising channel alongside Facebook and Google. But some brands have already grasped the fact that Twitter has even more to offer. Using the ‘Twittersphere’ as part of an advertising campaign can not only help to project the brand but also to engage the consumer more effectively.

Burger King is one company that has used tweets – sometimes negative ones – mentioning the brand as a basis for developing web marketing campaigns. These campaigns also include putting up large posters in places where the fast food brand intends to open a restaurant in the future. However, aside from the fun aspect and some obvious ‘buzz’ effect, one might ask what real impact this is having in terms of consumer engagement.

The same question mark hangs over an initiative Adidas took in January. The sports equipment brand was looking to get the best out of a new Twitter functionality that enables companies to send Direct Messages to groups of users. Taking advantage of the group private conversations facility, Adidas allowed Real Madrid fans who were Twitter users to interact directly for 30 minutes with one of the players on the Real team. This was certainly an innovative marketing activity but not all that revolutionary in terms of consumer engagement.

Twitter can be a really useful marketing tool when it comes to creating virality and hence brand influence, but it has addition power to create consumer engagement.

For example, cosmetics company NARS in partnership with British fashion designer Christopher Kane recently demonstrated that it is possible to take consumer engagement to the next level. Their marketing campaign was based on a very simple idea: provide an opportunity for Internet users to win a gift basket. However, by mixing Twitter with robotics, the two brands really put traditional gaming-driven competitions in the shade.

The gift basket – containing makeup and Christopher Kane’s latest ‘It bag’ – was enclosed in a glass sphere, into which Twitter users had the chance to smash their way and grab the goodies by sending tweets. Every time there was a tweet mentioning the hashtag created for the campaign - #NARSChristopherKaneUK – a robotic hammer struck the sphere, taking chunks out of it and gradually splitting it. The person who sent the tweet which finally broke open the sphere completely – the 26,000th! – became the lucky winner of the gift basket.

So what are the features of a successful campaign as evidenced by this initiative? First, it went viral because the hashtag was directly bound up with the reward. ‘Going viral’ is essential for brand influence on social networks. Secondly, by combining Twitter and robotics technology, NARS and Christopher Kane showed a savvy approach to integrating innovation into customer interaction with all the sophistication that is part and parcel of the DNA of a prestigious or luxury brand. Last but not least, there is the fun aspect of the initiative, which again helps both to project the brand image and to encourage specific consumer engagement.

By Pauline Canteneur