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Cashing in on Social Media: Tweeting for Profit

Membership rewards at American Express allow credit card members to turn their social currency, their testimonials on a live twitter feed on the American Express web site into spendable points. “This is just the beginning,” says Twitter’s Adam Bain, earn points just by retweeting certain hashtags.

Tweeting for Profit

Tweeting for Profit

“Twitter is already being used as a platform to connect buyers and sellers, but no one has really nailed it in terms of proving that Twitter conversations can drive directly to commerce, or that tweets can really be linked to transactions,” says Dave Wolf, VP of global business and market development at AmEx. “That’s what we’re really excited about doing.”  There is a new connectivity between what is happening in the store and on line. All consumers have to do to get cash back is sync their credit card and social media accounts and retweet certain hash tags or share their opinions.

American Express members can use these points to order from Whole Foods, Best Buy, Zappos and McDonalds. This is an effort on the part of AmEx to cashing in on the social media trend. If you go to the Amex membership rewards page you will see a panel on the right hand side with a live twitter feed. Since it is a live feed it provides the reader with some great testimonials but also it has the potential of sending some negative publicity viral. McDonald’s recent twitter campaign has just experienced some nasty negative publicity going viral with stories of foreign bodies found by customers in their food all due to a live twitter feed.

Still testimonials in advertising have always been a great way to put new or potential customers at ease and have allowed companies in the past to reap great benefits.   So much so that the FTC has had a long standing policy that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed to the public. AmEx seems to have found a way to adhere to the letter of the law by making this reward for twitter feed a public offer of points and then making any skepticism about the Twitter feed vanish, since all feed on their site is public. They also allow the feed to be visible on their site for only a few minutes since new feed is always coming in pushing out the old entries.  If it is good hopefully it will be followed by more of the same, and if it is bad then it will be gone in a few minutes.

The only thing that AmEx has not shared is how they are measuring the impact of the feed on sales. To the casual observer though if the frequency of the positive feed is any indication of the acceptance of the AmEx brand by social media users then it should be a rousing success.

What’s your Social Media Strategy?


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Filed under: Marketing Strategy, Social Media