Getting Started with Twitter: Using Twitter Ads

twitter-bird-white-on-blueSince beneficial influence is a key factor in using Twitter to its fullest potential, you may wonder

Should I use Twitter ads to gain followers?

I am not an expert on this particular subject, but I recently enjoyed a good experience using Twitter ads. Don’t worry. I’ll point you to better resources in addition to sharing my small story.
Due to Hootsuite‘s largesse, I received an email with a $100 voucher towards Twitter advertising for my @Writers_Read account, a twitter handle I use for my other blog, With nothing to lose except time spent learning their ad models, I visited and redeemed my voucher.
Twitter’s ad management console is very straightforward. This stands in stark contrast to the seemingly overwhelming world of Facebook advertising. If you’ve been looking to get into online advertising and you’ve amassed at least some followers (let’s say 100), you’d serve yourself well by trying out Twitter advertising.

Promoted Accounts

First, select where you’d like to target users. I chose the U.S., but you can choose a different country, a state, or a city. This is a key step, so think smartly about what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish by using Twitter ads.
You’re then presented with two options: Promoted Account or Promoted Tweet. I chose Promoted Account. You can set a daily spending limit. I set mine at $10/day. You’re then asked to bid per new follower. According to them, “Twitter recommends a maximum bid that attempts to get the most follows for you within your budget.” Fortunately, they make a recommendation. For me, it was $1.25. That sounded fine. After completing those two options, Twitter computes an expected follower rate per day for the numbers you’ve entered. If you want more followers, increase your daily budget, your bid, or both.
By choosing Promoted Account, your account is featured in the Who to Follow section on the sidebar of a user’s Twitter landing page. This is prime real estate for a nominal fee. Yes, your Twitter name will have a small icon and “Promoted” beneath it, but, in my short week of accruing new followers via Twitter ads, I found that like-minded literary individuals chose to follow my promoted account. Twitter did a good job of finding those whom I can influence and vice-versa because we hold a few particular interests in common.
All in all, I gained 123 new followers in 7 days for $100. That averages to $1.23 per new follower, just two cents less than my highest bid. I received 7,553 impressions with a 1.63% follow rate. I don’t know how this stacks up against other Twitter ads users, so if you’ve used their ads, consider sharing your successes (or failures!) in the comments.
If you’ve set a particular budget for yourself (i.e. $100/week), be sure to set up a reminder that will warn you when you’re approaching your limit.

Promoted Tweets

Promoted tweets offer the same options as promoted accounts, but it’s your specific tweets that are promoted as opposed to your account. In addition to setting a daily spending limit and bidding on clicks, you’re also provided the option of Twitter choosing your “newest, most engaging Tweets” or manually selecting tweets to promote. If you know that you produce great content and want others to click your links, this may be the option to choose. Promoted tweets show up in a user’s timeline. They have the same small icon as promoted accounts and say “Promoted by ___ ”
Additionally, viewing your Twitter growth over time of both paid and unpaid followers for both Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets is now simpler than before due to Twitter’s new graphs.

More Twitter Advertising Resources

The best place to learn more about Twitter ads is from the bird’s mouth itself, the Twitter Advertising blog.
Getting Started with Twitter Ads for Small Business can help you assess whether you should tackle Promoted Accounts or Promoted Tweets.
How to Use a Twitter Paid Media Campaign to Build a Strong Community offers a case study in Twitter advertising.
Twitter keeps a list of business case studies as well.
Lastly, Social Media Pastor (that’s really his title) Nils Smith offers this super advice that all should heed if considering using Twitter ads:

“One key to always remember is that advertising only speeds up your growth process. If you are irrelevant, ads won’t make you relevant or really grow your community at all. You might have some short-term numbers increase, but long-term you will see no change. If you have a growing Twitter following, these ads can really help you grow faster and reach further.”

Have you made use of Twitter ads? Did you consider it successful? Do you plan to make use of them now?
Read every post in Getting Started with Twitter: 10 Steps to Twitter Competence.