Twitter Promoted Tweets Becomes Zecco's Branding Tool

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Zecco, an online brokerage firm, taps social media to engage existing users and gain potential customers. The company tweets about specific content and real-time market data, leveraging the Twitter platform to send direct messages alerts to customers about specific stocks.

Four-year-old Zecco, along with mega brands like Coca-Cola, Disney/Pixar, Ford Motors, JetBlue and Turner Broadcasting Systems, relies on Twitter Promoted Tweets to realize revenue from contextual ads and conversions on the site through keyword searches.

Sampling 50 Promoted Tweets to measure effectiveness, the company realized, in some cases, between 280% and 300% increases in click-through rates on "hot" topics, especially around content pertaining to BP. Most delivered twice as much. During this time, the majority of Zecco's tweets focused on financial market commentary and new product offerings, explains Zecco's CEO Michael Raneri.

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As an online broker, Zecco needs to acquire accounts at a lower CPA, compared to its competition, to become more profitable. The majority of the company's acquisitions come from search engine marketing and banner ads. Its marketers don't want to pay to find acquisitions, but rather valuable engagement with existing and prospective clients.

Raneri calls it the "first true branding opportunity" within a sort of pay-per-click (PPC) marketing tool. He views the ability to buy keywords in Google that get consumers to click as completely different.

Zecco targets 35- to-45-year-olds, with $100,000 to $500,000 in investable assets, which might give marketers an idea about the age demographics and financial status of people tweeting.

The strategy for Zecco to come to the trader -- rather than drive the trader to the Web site -- supports the company's browser plug-in ZAP Trade, launched in March. It supports Zecco's move in social media to find clients at sites like MotleyFool.com, TheStreet.com, Bloomberg. com, and YahooFinance.com, among others. The idea is to help clients take action, such as trade a stock on the site where they stumble upon content.

Traditional firms like Charles Schwab and E*TRADE also rely on social media, but not similar to Zecco, which supports a community of 350,000. Zecco lets community members share stock tips and actual trading transactions. When a member "friends" someone, it gives them access to show the symbols being purchased and sold, along with the overall position of the portfolio. Zecco takes the intelligence of that community and turns it into market data.

Companies and individuals continue to find innovative ways to tap Twitter. NBC's Jimmy Fallon, the host of this year's 62nd annual Emmy Awards, has been asking Twitter followers to submit introductions. He plans to read the ones he deems most creative as celebs walk on the stage Sunday.

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