15.01.2016 Twitter ‘Happy Tweets’: adding reasoning to the rumours

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know we think Twitter provides a huge opportunity for companies to communicate with their customers, and vice versa.

As the second largest social networking website in the world, with 288 million users, it isn’t surprising that ambitious brands are making the most of Twitter’s vast user base to market their products.

The latest rumour about the platform centres on the selling of tweets to brands. The new ‘Happy Tweets’ function allows brands to have access to all the positive tweets from users about their products. They will then be allowed to direct message those people to ask for permission to feature the tweet in a ‘brand enthusiast’ gallery.

What exactly is happening?

Reports say Twitter will sell a database of positive tweets to brands that are keen to promote their products in a ‘real’ way. Previously, companies have relied on celebrities and influencers to speak for them but this can incur a cost and consumers are increasingly aware of how this kind of partnership works.

The brand enthusiast gallery will include tweets from real, relatable people with a genuine experience of a brand or product. This makes it easier for brands to find their advocates without having to create artificial relationships, and consumers are much more likely to trust reviews by people they can relate to.

Selling data is by no means a new thing for Twitter. It has previously sold huge reams of information to data miners, allowing companies and advertisers to see who is tweeting what. They can then target their Tweets around particular trends and also promote them to reach maximum audience potential.

Twitter’s data strategy chief Chris Moody told The Guardian that “[Data selling] is done in a completely anonymised fashion, so we are not sharing private information”, which is where the new feature could differ.

Huge advantage for brands

When brands harness the data that Twitter provides, they can target their consumers directly with a cost effective strategy as opposed to broad, generalised marketing campaigns.

We recently blogged about how Twitter is considering expanding its 140 character limit for tweets, indicating the platform is becoming even more appealing to companies who were previously put off by the limit. This doesn’t come as a surprise; with Twitter’s share prices continuing to drop in the past three months, it is searching for new ways to increase its number of users.

Don’t panic!

While Twitter has neglected to comment on this potential new feature, users’ tweets have always been held in the public domain and the feature would mean nothing new for users except that their tweets are easier for brands to find.

Users are aware from the outset that their tweets can be viewed by anyone who chooses to follow them or search for a tweet on the same topic. With the use of hashtags and the Trends column it is easy, but time-consuming, for a brand to find opinions about their product.

Of course, it is no surprise that Twitter is trying to be more brand-friendly to create a greater revenue stream, but if it annoys users by giving brands direct access, the popularity of the platform could plummet. We’ll be keeping an eye on how this progresses.