Twitter giving away ad services to small UK businesses

Krystal Peak · June 13, 2012 · Short URL:

UK businesses could get £1,000 in Twitter ads just by sharing how they use the service


Twitter has done a lot of campaigns to help raise the volume that small businesses have on its microblogging service in the past -- a lot of it with the help of American Express. Now, Twitter is offering £1,000 in ad credits ($1,600), redeemable on Twitter’s Promoted Products, if small businesses share their stories with the company.

Businesses that would like to be considered for the offer are being asked to send a tweet before July 30 with the hashtag #ukbizstories, describing in 140 characters or less how the business uses “Twitter creatively to connect with the community and reach their customers.”

Often times when I take a look at what ads, promoted tweets and promoted trends are on my feed I get the usual big brand companies, but occasionally I see a local business or one that I've never heard of. Twitter seems to really be reaching out to get a more diverse selection of brands and companies familiar with their advertising model and the power of their service in brand awareness and loyalty programs. 

This promotion is valid until July 30, 2012 and is open to UK businesses only. 

Twitter is making a smart move by expanding its advertising offers to more small businesses because, not only are they getting more people familiar with their ad network, but they are also collecting a lot of stories and inspiration on how people are using their service to improv business.

The entry form even states that: “By submitting a testimonial, you grant Twitter permission to share your testimonial (including your name, profile picture, and any other text or media associated with your Twitter account) in case studies, presentations and other promotional materials. Twitter may work with those businesses we have selected to find the right Promoted Products to promote their account and Tweets.”  

This offer follows up a  Facebook deal launched in Europe at the end of May where the social network giant started offering up to 50,000 businesses with Facebook fanbases of more than 50 the chance to grab £20 in Facebook ad credits.


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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.