Twitter – is it an engagement and branding channel or a direct response vehicle? Arguably, it’s both. And that’s what “Flock to Unlock” campaigns are all about. The basic premise involves driving current account followers or target audiences to “re-tweet” your message in order to unlock an exclusive deal from a brand.  When done correctly these promotions can:

  • Drive engagement with current followers
  • Elicit interaction with target audiences
  • Deliver exceptional direct response results


It sounds simple, but a poorly planned and executed Twitter promotion can quickly become a PR and customer service nightmare, resulting in angry tweets belittling your marketing skills and brand message. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen because protecting brand integrity while also encouraging authentic customer dialogue and reaching new audiences via Twitter and paid advertising is crucial.

Consider these five key points in your paid promotional Twitter campaign strategy:


1) Plan: Consider this your “pre-release” phase

  • Fire off some teaser tweets a few days before the promotion is going live to build awareness and excitement leading up to the event
  • Determine the promotion and make sure its exclusive to Twitter because exclusivity is the “sticky” factor Twitter followers expect
  • Create a publishing calendar for the initial timing for each tweet and the audience being targeted to ensure you don’t miss an opportunity
  • Ensure that each tweet builds upon the last for connection and momentum;
  • Utilize a single organic tweet so all retweets are easily tracked and testing has shown that engagements beget more engagements
  • Minimize the number of possible distractions (AKA no URLs)  to reduce complexity, simplicity is best
  • Ensure you have separate mobile and desktop campaigns to best take advantage of optimization capabilities
  • Pick a retweet goal that is attainable such as 150.  This helps ensure you meet the goal and sets a benchmark for future adjustment
  • Make sure your promotion is ready and fulfillment is set
  • Set a promotion expiration

2) Launch: It’s Go Time, in Real Time

  • Plan, based on your publishing calendar, your set of Tweets and prepare yourself for management
  • Be sure to track and enable relevant hashtags to ensure involvement and respond to interested inquiries
  • Keep track – using manual or technology solutions – of your engagement and response

3) Amplify: Make Paid Extend Your Promotion

  • Pay to extend the message to targeted segments. Our own Adobe Media Optimizer allows you to do this in bulk and relate to other social advertising campaigns through Facebook or even LinkedIn – as well as search and display. But, there are other ways, through Twitter directly, to also pay to promote tweets.
  • Make sure you account for bid amount adjustments to account for the changes in campaign activity. Adobe Media Optimizer has Formulaic Bid changes to assist with this process which can be quite tedious if managed fully manually.
  • Optimize your reach strategy with large interest groups like Music or Movies, but also account for the fact that followers may leave immediately after the promotional timeframe. Determine other interest groups that might have longer staying power for your brand in addition to the spiked period.
  • And, always, retweet any great comments from your followers

4) Release: Unlocking the Full Potential of your Promotion

  • To ensure the best customer satisfaction, post the promo tweet immediately upon hitting the unlock goal.  Not doing so can result in some very angry tweeters and negative PR for your brand. It’s all about immediacy.
  • Hand picking a few high profile handles to message directly can also result in some phenomenal organic activity and incent customer loyalty and new followers
  • Announce winners and celebrate in their success – they are the stars.

5) Sustain: Continued Momentum for Long Term Brand Benefit

  • Time sensitive tweets can help encourage action while keeping the conversation going and create a sense of urgency.
  • The same approach used to amplify the initial message can be used to sustain the promotion. Reallocate budget towards top performing campaigns and ensure bids are competitive enough to maintain visibility.
  • Remember, this promo is not going to be judged on engagement alone. Optimizing to CPE or Engagement rates alone may not allow you to hit your DR goals.