I describe my own experience with marketing on Twitter as a blend of failing forward and learning by doing. I believed Twitter was an ideal platform for shamelessly self-promoting my own content, but in my early days online I had very little content of my own. I did the next best thing. I published sponsored tweets for an online ad agency. I could write the tweet content, and the tweets were automatically posted during times of high engagement. As pennies per click added up to hundreds of dollars, I learned valuable lessons about when to post and the best formats for tweets. Times have changed and Twitter's own sponsored tweet program has driven the agencies from the network. In fact, the appearance of the network is different. Instead of being a stream of text messages, timelines have become visual and tweets with images or video are most effective at capturing attention. I have learned to observe what others do to get ideas for my own projects.
Because big brands have marketing strategies that are not very relevant to small businesses, I have a tendency to visit their profiles, instead of following them, to look for information and promotions. Any business's well-managed social media profile is a place for sharing and discussing content (Ryan & Jones, 2009). However, the small businesses and organizations in my own timeline are a source of ideas and tactics I can model. It is especially beneficial for me to see their tweets in real time and in the context of online chatter. The most eye-catching tweets have "pictures worth 1000 words" and are crafted to complement the text of the tweet. I observe social listening practices to see how small brands engage users and see how hashtags are used for market targeting. Once again, I find myself failing forward and learning by doing as I promote my chicken sweater shop for an Etsy contest. With just one day into the project and just one brand image to promote, I am discovering that the more Twitter changes, the more it stays the same. It's going to take considerable work and patience to determine an actionable strategy to fit my purposes, but my belief that Twitter is a formidable marketing platform is still unwavering.