In days of old, advertisers had to buy TV airtime, magazine placements, or radio spots to send their ads out to reach customers. Usually one of the largest chunks of cost is the media placement, followed by “creative” development and content creation.
What if there was a way to cut out most or all of the media cost? And what if we could also substantially reduce the cost of “creative development” and “content creation?” Look at the JetBlue example below. On Twitter, JetBlue has nearly 600,000 followers. Each of these followers has basically “opted in” to receive their updates, often multiple times a day (“costless media”). There is no “media cost” for getting these messages out. Compare this to what it would cost to air a TV ad that reaches 600,000 viewers (assuming all the viewers wanted to receive the ad, and were sitting there in front of the TV watching the ad when it was aired).
Also, the cost of content is nearly zero too. JetBlue has their customer service people (and fans) help create content by tweeting. These tweets range from customer service (“twitter customer service”) , to service notices (e.g. dense fog in NYC area airports causing delays, etc.), to tips from frequent travelers. This type of content is more “real,” valuable, and trusted than an advertisement. And there is no cost of “creative development” because the content does not need to be dressed up into a glossy ad for TV or print — it’s just 140 characters of text at a time. It’s more effective AND lower cost?! Imagine that!
Finally, notice in the “bio” area on the upper right of the screen shot that it reports who is currently on duty — “Morgan and Lindsey” — this gives the normally faceless customer service system a name and a face and perhaps even a personality. JetBlue’s twitter is a great example of social marketing done awesome!