11 Jan

Ingenious Way to get Twitter Followers and Advertise Your Business

Upon checking into my hotel room at the Rio in Las Vegas, where I am attending the Affiliate Summit for a few days, I received what appeared to be a typical hotel room key — plastic, about the size of a credit card.

When I arrived at my door, I examined the key more closely so that I could see which end to insert in the door lock.  It was then I noticed something different.

It turns out, it was a key branded with the logo of one of the sponsors of the Affiliate Summit event, which is being held in the Rio’s convention center.  But I’ve actually seen that before.  So while I was impressed with the sponsor’s marketing savvy, I wasn’t exactly surprised.

No, what REALLY surprised me was that the sponsor’s Twitter address was also printed on the key.  I was so taken with this, that I actually snapped a photograph:

Get Twitter followers by sponsoring hotel room key and printing Twitter handle on it

In the photograph, you see both the front side of the room key, and the back side. (I received 2 keycards, so I was able to show front and back in one photo.)  At the bottom you see where it says “Follow us on Twitter.com/ShareASale.”

Now any of you wondering what all the hubbub is about with Twitter, need to recognize this for the watershed moment it is.

Here you have a sponsor  — ShareASale — paying considerable money, I’m sure, for the branding rights to the hotel room key.  A room key is something that attendees will look at and use dozens of times over the course of a 3- or 4- day stay.  So ShareaSale should get lots of visibility from it.

But what’s most interesting to me is how wisely they’ve used the space on the key. There’s room to print stuff on it, such as the vendor’s logo, Web address and booth number at the show.  Of course, ShareASale took advantage of that opportunity and printed all of those on the key.

But they also printed their Twitter address (@shareasale) on the card, recognizing perhaps that building a community on Twitter is not only a way to build buzz at the event, but a way to extend interest following the event.  Get people who are using Twitter to follow you and you now have a way to communicate with them ongoing.

I’d go so far as to say that Twitter is on its way to becoming the latest type of permission marketing.  Just like with an email list, a person on Twitter must first voluntarily sign up (follow) and agree to receive communications from you.  Just like with email, where a person can withdraw permission by unsubscribing, so the person on Twitter can choose to “unfollow” at any time.

Like with email, Twitter can be updated quickly.  In fact, Twitter can be updated more quickly than just about any vehicle out there — blog, podcast or email message included.  So it doesn’t take a lot of time to execute.

I have 4 take-aways from this for vendors that exhibit at or sponsor events:

(1) Get on Twitter — like yesterday — if you are not already on it. Don’t underestimate the value of Twitter.  It’s where many of the online conversations are taking place today. The fast uptake is unprecedented.  I’ve seen nothing adopted so quickly!

(2) Make sure you have a Twitter strategy for any events you sponsor or exhibit at.  You can widen visibility and extend your visibility past the event by getting people to sign up for your Twitter feed.  That means you’ll need to publicize your Twitter address on event collateral and swag.

(3) If you advertise a Twitter address, then be sure to use your Twitter account to full advantage. For all its savvy in sponsoring with the room key, I am surprised that Sharesale is not using its Twitter account to full advantage.  For instance, I see the last tweet was from several weeks ago.  Sharesale could have been tweeting about upcoming preparations for Affiliate Summit and generating excitement and anticipation to visit them at their booth.  Even more importantly, ShareASale doesn’t even have a link to its website on its Twitter page (as I write this)!  Opportunities missed.

(4) Get used to using “hash tags” if you are exhibiting, sponsoring or attending events. Hash tags are a method whereby you place a designated code beginning with a hash tag (#) on Twitter messages.  Others searching to see who else is writing about the event can locate the other messages.  The hash tag for Affiliate Summit West is #ASW09.  Affiliate Summit is even importing Twitter messages that use that code onto its event home page.

* * * * *

Affiliate Summit is the big convention for the affiliate marketing industry, bringing together companies that sell online through affiliate websites, and the proprietors of those affiliate websites.

Affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry and attracts a lot of small businesses and Internet entrepreneurs who become affiliates, which is why I follow the industry.  Many vendors who sell through online affiliate channels rely heavily on the small businesses that become affiliates and promote the vendor’s products and services on their websites.

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  1. Michele Price said on January 11th, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    I love it, it reminds me of what we would do in the radio and promotion world with sponsors. Thanks for reminding me to use that mindset and eye for my own and using twitter.

  2. Phil Gerbyshak said on January 11th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Very awesome use of advertising to get folks interested. Unfortunately they haven’t updated their Twitter status since 12/22. Any folks that might be visiting their Twitter page is going to see a dormant account…and probably not follow them. They aren’t following anyone, and they don’t have a human picture for their icon. Or a URL.

    If they wanted to be super impactful, they could have posted quick updates about the conference…or have a special offer for new followers, or something meaningful.

    Your lessons are still very very useful ways to think about how to use Twitter and other social media platforms.

  3. Arthur Bland said on January 12th, 2009 at 2:05 am

    Wow. I’m surprised. I promised to myself a while back to get started with Twitter. Now this is a call! Have a safe stay in the summit, Anita!

  4. Amanda said on January 12th, 2009 at 10:22 am

    This is one of my new year resolutions – to get better involved with social media sites like Twitter. Before, I really couldn’t believe there was much value in spending any time Twittering. But as time goes on, with more and more bigger companies using Twitter as a marketing tool, I think I’m missing the boat by not taking advantage of it’s benefits.

  5. Advent Creative said on January 12th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    This is really cool! we are in the process of doing something similar for a local news paper.(http://www.adventcreative.com/blog/?p=213) it’s a really exciting time to be involved in business.

  6. Travis Campbell said on January 12th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Great points Anita. Thanks for taking time to put this post together and upload the photo. I was surprised to learn just how much traffic Twitter drives to my sites. I’m definitely moving forward with cultivating relationships with folks on Twitter.

    Have a great time in Vegas,

  7. Luz Spielberg said on January 13th, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Hi Travis,

    I understand you learned how much traffic that Twitter drives to your site. What tool can we use to track those?

    Thanks in advance!


  8. Anita Campbell said on January 13th, 2009 at 12:53 am

    Hi Michele, yes, this was a creative way to do a sponsorship, wasn’t it?

    Hi Phil, yes, as I pointed out, they missed opportunities. They could do more with branding on their Twitter page and could be using Twitter in a more meaningful way to generate interest.

    — Anita

  9. Rose Anderson said on January 14th, 2009 at 1:25 am

    I have a question about Twitter. Do you follow everyone who follows you? Will that help your Twitter rankings?

  10. Anita Campbell said on January 14th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Hi Rose,

    Great question! I do not think there is any single right answer. You have to do what feels good to you and is consistent with the way you like to use Twitter. That’s the beauty of Twitter — it’s flexible and the choice is yours and yours alone.

    But I have noticed 2 major schools of thought about Twitter following.

    (1) One group follows back everyone who follows them. I fall into this group. I think it’s a bit arrogant to think that others should follow you, but you don’t find them important enough to follow back. (Unless they’re a spammer or write about XXX rated adult topics or something — then I don’t follow them back.)

    (2) Another group limits themselves to following a smaller number. Some people do this because they truly want to give individual attention to each person they follow or have specific interests — and I can certainly understand it if that is their true motive.

    But some unscrupulous people use Twitter to jack up their numbers by following thousands of people, and then as soon as those people follow them, immediately “unfollow” everyone so that they end up with thousands of followers and only 50 or 75 they follow back (it’s a ploy to make them appear to be extremely popular — “hey look at me, I have 15,000 followers but I am so exclusive that I only follow 42 back”).

    — Anita

  11. Martin Lindeskog said on January 14th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I haven’t written any “tweet” message today, but I am starting to get hooked on it. Right now I am trying to “chew” the differences between blogging, tweets and threads on FriendFeed and how the different tools could interact and compliment each other? I wonder if you have tested Tumblr? It could be something between a blog post and a tweet message.

  12. Rose Anderson said on January 15th, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for that reply. I appreciate that. I feel like I wanted to belong to the first group. I can see it as a form of courtesy to someone who follows you. Thanks!


  13. Anita Campbell said on January 15th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Hi Martin, Tumblr seems to be popular in New York city and also among those who share musical selections. Not sure why that is, but that seems to be the case.

    From a marketing perspective I like to stick with a few things that I can build up the way I want to build them up, and that means I want sites that I can turn into a valuable asset. I try not to dabble in too many things, as it dilutes my efforts.


  14. Brian Littleton said on January 15th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks Anita for the writeup on this, and glad you found it interesting.

    I disagree a little bit on some of the points made regarding how we are using the account, but that is probably just because my goals are different than many Twitter users.

    For anyone interested…. general ShareASale news is at twitter/shareasale. Announcements on new programs coming to our network are at twitter/shareasalenews and you can also follow me personally at twitter/brianlittleton for a combo of my personal life and ShareASale.

    I follow a number of people personally, but in the case of the ShareASale account, it is intended to be a news launch point and is not one where we follow anyone. Instead, we utilize “Search” as well as the @replies that we get in order to maintain conversations with interested parties.

    I fall into the “don’t follow everyone” crowd because I personally feel it is important to maintain quality conversations – and I can’t do that in mass numbers. Some people can though, and can follow a much larger group of people.

    Thanks again for the discussion and feel free to ping me if you have anything you want to chat about on this subject. We were a fairly new user to Twitter so it has been fascinating to see the development and the rapid mass market that it reached. When we first had an account I think it was much more about “status messages”, and now it is much more marketing focused in our industry. Personally, I liked it better as a “status” platform which is why we created the two seperate company accounts for people who truly wanted marketing news as opposed to people who were interested in our individual staff members and their status/tweets/etc….

  15. Rose Anderson said on January 16th, 2009 at 2:26 am

    Hi Anita,

    Sorry to bug you again but I have a follow up question. As much as possible, I wanted my Twitter relationship with others as mutual so I wanted to know if is it okay if I will unfollow those who does not follows me back after a week that I followed them? Does it affect any etiquette rules as Twitter user?

  16. Joel Libava said on January 16th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    This Twitter thing is so powerful! I love connecting with lots of folks who I never would have known. {Probably}
    We are so early in this, that we don’t even know what new twitter apps will be around in just 6 short months.

  17. Anita Campbell said on January 16th, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    @Rose Anderson:

    Hi Rose, I certainly would give people more than one week. Some people don’t check their Twitter accounts that often. At least a couple of weeks is appropriate.

    Meanwhile, you might send the person a direct tweet (example: @smallbiztrends). Because some people only follow those with whom they have had direct contact. Or just re-tweet one or two of their posts, to show them that you are interested in what they have to say. Personal attention is how to get others interested in you.


    Hope this helps! If anyone else has other suggestions, please feel free to weigh in!


  18. Martin Lindeskog said on January 18th, 2009 at 2:24 am


    Thanks for the input regarding Tumblr. I will continue with Twitter and I will start to use FriendFeed more, due to the fact that it integrates tweets and messages from other sources.

  19. Bo said on February 6th, 2009 at 10:13 am

    To improve your social web popularity you can try too http://www.SocialClan.com!, SocialClan members Read, Follow, Flave, Mark, Subscribe, Vote… YOUR site or blog!

  20. Steve Atkinson said on February 6th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Twitter is only as good as you use it, and it’s just like everything else, you need to have a plan. What good is having a twitter account, other than keeping someone else from having the name, if it’s not going to be used.

    I will have to admit that I am just as guilty since I registered my account with the idea of holding the name with not plan. But I’m working on one.

  21. Pete Moring said on February 9th, 2009 at 3:11 am

    This reminds me of a Warrior who went around writing his web-address in large letters in the sand at a prominent beach just after the tide went out. Great exposure at NO cost except a little time.

  22. Tyler Dockery said on April 9th, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Are people slapping these on business cards yet? http://twitter.com/tyler_dockery

  23. Martin Lindeskog said on April 10th, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Tyler Dockery,

    I think that some people are doing it. I am not planning on doing it. Maybe you will see special “lifestream” URLs in the future, similar to Facebook’s shortcut “profile to” URL. I have http://profile.to/ego

    All the Best,

    Martin Lindeskog

  24. faisal majeed said on May 2nd, 2009 at 6:23 am

    So Twitter is awesome for Taking traffic to you website . It is very
    simple to setup and its a fun positive way to keep in contact with
    people. To get more followers on twitter check out this amazing

  25. Ryan said on May 22nd, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    We run a conference and trade show each summer that is tied to our publication and for several years have sold sponsorship of room key cards. We’ve burned through a few different sponsors and so far don’t have one for this year because we cannot get the hotels we’ve used to force their front desk people to hand them out to our attendees. It’s hit or miss despite a note that is in each hotel registrants file that tells the front desk person to use on of our special key cards at check in. What’s worse, the actual sponsors have checked in and haven’t even received the key that they paid for. If you do this, make sure you have written into the contract any ramifications for the hotel not holding up their end of the bargain. Even with verbiage in the contract as we’ve had, regardless of the fact that the hotel has picked up the tab, it can hurt your reputation with advertisers and sponsors.

  26. Joey said on July 5th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Follow me on Twitter!

  27. Waldo Waldman said on September 9th, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I increased my Twitter following last month by 4,000 people and have noticed the results in my business. As a motivational speaker I have started integrating the, “follow me on Twitter” (http://twitter.com/waldowaldman) at the end of my speeches and the response has been great!

    If you are in any type of public sector I suggest putting that out there or even just attaching it to the end of your email messages. It worked for me.

  28. Steven Roddy said on September 9th, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I like to follow everyone that follows me on Twitter. I have it set up that way. My reasoning is that the majority of the people are beginning to unfollow everyone who does not follow them back. Because of this I do not want to lose followers.

    Also, I still maintain relationships with just a few people but I think people understand that when you have 10K + followers you cannot maintain relationships with everyone. Also, when you follow those you follow you back you can send them private messages.

    One site that really helps me find targeted twitter followers is Twellow.com. This is like the yellow pages for Twitter. Hope this helps.


  29. Cassie said on December 23rd, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    You’re so correct about that. Twitter is an amazing way for businesses to advertise themselves. This was a good article talking about the genius advertising on that key card. 🙂


  30. Steven Sokulski said on December 26th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    You might be surprised how cheap this actually is. In most cases, there aren’t any fees to have the hotel’s keys replaced for a period of time. You simply have the keys produced, deliver them to the front desk, and you’re done. The only catch is that many hotels will require you to produce enough cards for the entire hotel’s population to use your card so that front desk personnel don’t have to differentiate between your group’s members and other hotel guests.

  31. Lawrence said on January 1st, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I think that Google is slowly indexing all the tweets so that if you keep the quality high that it will start showing up on Google. That is what I hope anyway. If you just play the game of follow me and I’ll follow you then it won’t work.


  32. Cheryl Foster said on February 14th, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Thank you I’m going to tweet more often from now, that was really useful.


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