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Mike Templeton is an experienced marketer with a history in building community on the web.

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Buying Black Friday Buzz on Twitter

While catching up on tweets after a hefty Thanksgiving meal, I noticed something unusual about the day’s trending topics. What wasn’t unusual was that a promoted topic (#ShackFriday) sat proudly atop the trending list – a common occurrence since Twitter launched the feature. The thing that surprised me was the fact that another brand was also trending (Wal-Mart), and it had happened organically.

Though retailers have caught my attention with promotions earlier and earlier each year, this year is the first I’ve paid attention to brand buzz on Twitter. Consumers are bombarded with ads on TV and can get the scoop on the best deals from Black Friday bloggers, but I hadn’t thought about the impact that Twitter could have on sale-savvy shoppers.

RadioShack laid the right track, but are consumers on board?

RadioShack has been moving at full-steam this season, rolling out a comprehensive multi-channel strategy that includes TV, print, foursquare (Innovative? Perhaps.), and Twitter. For Twitter, they’ve paid to promote #ShackFriday, which seems to be garnering mixed responses when you dig into the hashtag search results. Some people are seeing the connection to RadioShack, while others have absolutely no idea why the topic is trending. On the other side of the equation, Walmart has produced a naturally occurring trend on Twitter because LOTS of people are actually talking about their Black Friday deals.

Twitter isn’t a typical broadcast platform

When marketers look at Twitter’s Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts, I think they’re seeing a traditional push option: taking well-crafted creative and pushing it out to their audience. However, what they don’t realize is that people don’t like that type of advertising. It’s the epitome of why consumers have shifted attention to social media. It seems RadioShack has yet to figure that out, but Walmart isn’t any closer either – they just have better deals.

Have you noticed strange Promoted Trends? Do you pay attention to online conversations that have been sponsored?

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