This morning the newest paid-for feature to hit Twitter was launched. Promoted Trends.
This allows brands to buy their way into the 'trending' section of Twitter - the column on the right hand side of Twitter.com when you are logged in as a user that shows you the 10 most talked-about things right now on Twitter.
Up until now, getting your story, blog, name, etc, in the trending terms has been social media nirvana. Unless of course you are Habitat, Eurostar, or Nick Griffin. Trending topics are also often an early warning signal as to breaking news. Major world events are regularly reported (or mis-reported) on Twitter first-hand, first. As you can see from the screen grab below, Toy Story 3 is now a trending term, because Disney Pixar paid for it to be there (I took this at 8:30 this morning).
This will spell interesting times for people whose task it is to manage brand reputations on social media. Here are a few ways:
- Crisis management: If for example you're BP and buying Google ads to promote your agenda amidst a crisis (as is happening now), then you would benefit from buying a trending term to promote your messages too
- Voucher codes and product buzz: If you have a product to promote that can be bought online, like Dell for example, it might shift a hell of a lot more if it trended.
- Engaging communities: Kick-starting communities is a long process and takes work. Trending speeds that up and will be attractive to latecomers to Twitter.
I'm not sure if I like some of the ways that promoted trends will work. It will be used by many as a shortcut to what other have spent years working to achieve (like size of community, engagement, and so on). But it will be interesting to see how this develops.