How Twitter #hashtags do the Quick

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With newly launched SMB platform in India, Entrepreneur caught up with Emily Huo, Head-SMB Sales, APAC, Twitter, to know why India is a huge market for Twitter.

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Twitter’s newly launched self-service ads platform is trending. How does it work?

We launched the self-service ads platform for India and more than 200 other countries in September. As long as you have the access to a Twitter account and a credit card (we accept Visa and MasterCard), you can get started with Twitter Ads, which is a complete self-service advertising platform for SMBs. With this, you can set specific campaigns, where you have event targeting features for campaigns you want to launch. There is no minimum

expenditure and there is no commitment.

Businesses manage their own accounts online. All you need to advertise is a Twitter account and a credit card.

If you sign up for this service, you can set up different campaigns. Normally, we tweet on Twitter and those

tweets reach to the people who follow the account. Suppose you have a small business like a coffee shop and

100 followers and want to reach out to a follower base of more than your 100 people to share the message out that you have a special offer this weekend.

For this, you can sign up for our Twitter self-service ads platform and use our event targeting features. You can also target users who are the followers of Starbucks, which implies that they are coffee drinkers or people who are tweeting/searching coffee or those who are interested in food and beverages. In this way, Twitter advertising allows businesses to amplify their organic Twitter message and reach more people by targeting a specific audience.

It’s been almost a month since launch. How are you promoting it?

As a part of our marketing efforts, we have a dedicated website for small business marketing – business.twitter 

com. We also promote it through our own app handle called @TwitterSmallBiz that targets India and has

information on what small businesses can do on Twitter.

So ads are displayed only in tweets and further targeted towards specific audience?

Ads are there but look like normal tweets. Many a times, I hear from users that they don’t see any ads on the

platform, which is a great news for us because ads are definitely out there. Ad format just looks like our native product with event targeting features.

Why are you focusing on India?

If we look at the growth of SMBs in India in last few years, it’s going to be 18.5-billion market by 2018 and moreover, mobile Internet transition in India is on rise (around 80 per cent of our users access Twitter through their mobile devices).

Share promotional tools that work for you.

We do marketing in India similar to what we in other markets. We stick to a lot of our core marketing traffic first which includes e-mail marketing, we have our own website, we advertise from our own Twitter account. At the moment, we are focusing on what really works well for us and then figuring out areas that need improvement.

Mobile is hot nowadays. Your take?

Mobile has been the first screen for most of the users now-a-days, and on an average, a person unlocks his phone around 150 times a day. This gives marketers a chance to engage with consumers that many times. On a platform like Twitter, brands can build conversations, engagements and have realtime interactions wit audiences. Brands need to look at the content strategy, how to engage with people, and at the same time, get brand message in place, and real-time targeting tools too.

(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (November 2015 Issue).