Facebook and Twitter watch each other closely, so when Facebook launched Timeline and announced plans for more premium ad options, Twitter reacted swiftly. It was time to attract businesses that could bring revenue to the website through advertising. However, it became clear that only the biggest companies would benefit from these pages any time soon.
Last December, Twitter released speciality “brand pages” to a select group of businesses, the “Big 21.” Companies like Coca-Cola, General Electric, and Nike had access to a variety of new features, including the ability to highlight their best content, showcase photos or videos within a tweet, and separate their @ replies and mentions to reduce clutter.
The catch? All these companies spent at least $25,000 in advertising on Twitter in the past. Small businesses simply could not compete. Instead, they watch larger companies gain followers, promote engagement, and increase ROI, all because the Big 21 had the biggest wallets.
After months of complaints, Twitter has announced a new, but relatively insignificant attempt to help small businesses. The microblogging site has teamed up with American Express to give cardmembers and merchants easier access to promoted accounts. Set to launch in late March, the first 10,000 cardmembers and merchants who contact Twitter will receive $100 in free Twitter advertising (in the form of a promoted account), courtesy of American Express.
In theory this sounds nice, but only 10,000 merchants will get the $100. And these small businesses won’t even have access to brand pages, they’ll simply receive promoted account status. Meanwhile, Twitter plans to add “experiences”, including e-commerce, contests and sweepstakes to the brand pages that the large companies are using.
Indeed, Twitter brand pages mean big business, but not for small businesses. At least, not yet.