In your opinion, is it worthwhile to 'promote' a tweet on Twitter?

The question is prompted by this video on the subject of ‘boosting’ posts on Facebook. The person behind the YouTube channel and website “Veritasium” says “No”. The gist of his argument - Facebook “Likes” on a page that do not engage by either liking, commenting on or sharing your posts actually dilute your presence on Facebook.

And so I come to my question - I have something which I am selling, and I’m tempted to ‘promote’ a tweet about it on Twitter. Is this an effective strategy, or a waste of money? (We’ll take it as read that Facebook and Twitter are inherently a waste of time.)

Your thoughts?

For what little it’s worth - when I encounter promoted tweets, I consider them spam.

Me too!

How do you define the difference between ‘spam’ and ‘an ad for a product you don’t happen to be interested in’? It’s in the very nature of advertising to try to bring attention to a service or a good - the trick is in targeting the right people.

The big thing for me is - I’ve sold 40 copies of an about-to-be released CD, but every one of those sales is to someone who is either a friend from the SDMB, Facebook or the church I’ve been singing at. I’m trying to find ways of promoting the disc to people who are one degree or more of separation away from me. On the surface, ‘boosted’ posts on Facebook and ‘promoted’ tweets on Twitter seem like a good idea. That Veritasium analysis would seem to indicate otherwise, and I’m wondering about people’s opinions of Twitter.

I don’t do Facebook, but I do get tweets. I would never even consider a product that came to my attention through twitter. Maybe I should, but Commerical offers on Instagram and Twitter don’t even hit my radar.

I’ve trained myself, the instant I spot the little white-on-yellow arrow and the words “Promoted by,” to move on without reading.

Personally, I’d define spam as widely distributed advertisements without consideration to the audience that is receiving it. You just get it because you are on whatever mailing list that was bought or compiled. In general, I would not consider a targetted ad to be spam, unless their targetting is bad enough that it’s virtually indistinguishible from spam, because I may have interest in seeing it.
Specifically to the OP, I think twitter and facebook are fundamentally different in how they handle these things. I don’t do twitter, but I am under the impression that in general you see all the tweets from everyone you follow, no? The point of the veritasium video (which is an excellent channel, by the way) was that with facebook, you are pretty much guaranteed not to see everything that anyone posts.

The way facebook works is it “tests” out posts with a percentage of friends/likes/follows and, based upon the interaction that it gets, you shows it to a larger audience. Thus, if you have, say 1000 likes, but typically 50-60% of them will intereact with a post, then if they test a post to 5-10% of them, chances are enough will interact that it will spread to all 1000 likes. If, however, you have 1000 legitimate likes and 9000 fake likes, your interaction rate will drop to about 1/10, and now that test audience is diluted so it is far less likely to get seen by all the legitimate likes. So, there’s an irony there that though, the latter seems to be more popular, and thus should spread faster, it has the opposite effect.

There was a similar video on comparing how youtube and facebook work either from the same channel or another one in that circle of channels and how it’s interesting that youtube and facebook are somewhat similar, in content creators posting content and wanting people to see it, but they have almost opposite business models for it. In youtube, the content provide gets paid based on views, and the more views they get, the more promotion they get, showing up in searches and all, which means the promotion is generally more targetted. Where in facebook, the content provider has to pay to get promoted, and the promotion pretty much just makes it show up in suggestions, so it’s much more like spam than targetted, which is why the results were so terrible.

So, then, how does twitter work as far as what tweets you do and don’t see? Do you only see some tweets from the people you follow? Maybe paying to promote it guarantees that all your followers will see that tweet? Does it go farther and show those tweets perhaps to followers of followers? I think if it’s at all like the facebook model, it’s almost certainly a waste of money, but if it’s closer to the youtube model, where the promotion is more likely to go to people who may be interested, then it might be worth the cost.

You see all tweets from people you follow, although if enough tweets have come through since the last time you might miss some just because they get pushed back by newer tweets. With promoted tweets they can show up on the feeds of people who don’t follow you.

And that’s what makes them spam. If I wanted to see tweets from Bob’s Fairly Decent Radiator Service I would have followed them. If Bob promotes a tweet and I see it anyway, that’s just going to make me more inclined to go to Ray’s Fair to Middlin’ Radiator Service instead, because Ray isn’t actively annoying me.

I don’t generally consider promoted tweets to be spam as such. Until relatively recently Twitter had a “Dismiss” button that would let you get rid of a single annoying promoted tweet. But now there seems to be only one way to get rid of an unwanted promoted tweet, and that is to block the promoter’s profile.

This probably means that promoting an annoying or poorly aimed tweet could do more harm than good.

I’m not opposed to promoted tweets in general, if tastefully done, but a few times recently I’ve blocked promoters simply to avoid a gross or irritating picture showing up in my feed.

On Twitter I only see the tweets of people I follow…except for promoted tweets. It’s just about exactly the same as if you e-mailed me a link to your whatzit cold, without me expressing any interest of being e-mailed information.

Do you not see retweets too?

Sure, but only by the people I follow. You don’t have to, though, there’s a setting to turn that off.

Many thanks for your advice, everyone. I get your point - I’m much better off with the odd genuine ‘re-tweet’, of which I’ve had a couple.

I’m still brainstorming other ways to promote a contemporary classical CD - suggestions welcome!