Twitter users around the globe often tweet about brands and service they use, but until now that has usually been unpaid and unsolicited banter -- until now.
For all of you that have been singing the praises of your favorite companies without any retribution, American Express has fashioned a way for you to make a few bucks of those 140 characters.
American Express announced this week that it has partnered with more than a dozen retailers to bring exclusive Twitter discounts for people that message about the given brands -- as long as they use their Amex card, of course.
This new service asks that Amex card holders signup online to connect their credit card to their Twitter account and when they enter specific hashtags, they get automatic discounts or coupons automatically credited to their statement within 3 days of purchasing products at that retailer.
So, if I link my twitter handle to my Amex card and I tweet and include the hashtag #AmexWholefoods then the next time I spend more than $75 at Whole Foods I will see a $20 credit on my credit card statement. That sounds great for my wallet, maybe not so great for my Twitter persona.
This new marketing experiment is an interesting turn of the tables on what Twitter was in its infancy: a honest expression of ideas to the world. As certain tweeters gained more influence, brands started reaching out to people and offering them deals on products and services -- but these offers only went to the most followed personalities. Now it appears that everyone could get in on the kickbacks, but at what cost?
While your average, social tweeter might be able to fold in these hashtags without any concern about losing followers or credibility, I don't think that many of the very influential and creditable tweeters will be using these offers since it wouldn't be worth the saved $10-$20 to give the appearance that any of their tweets are for sale.
But this angle could be a slight push to offer coupons in a whole new way -- without all that paper and searching. Even though this campaign couldn't be a push to gain the most influential tweeters, there is a value to the sheer volume of average tweeters using a pre-set hashtag and later tracking the sentiment and analytics of who and where people are as they write this advertisement.
Other marketing campaigns, such as those used by the influence tracker Klout, only offer goods and services to those with substantial followings in niche markets.
Brands included in this new marketing offer are Whole Foods, H&M, Virgin America, FedEx and Cheesecake Factory.
American Express already has 97 million existing card holders and could very-well attract new customers if this campaign entices thirty shoppers.
For Twitter, this launch could also be yet another way to monetize the micro-blogging service and will likely try to partner-up with more credit cards to build standard analytics and practices for such campaigns.