There many interesting and innovative ways to market on Twitter, but here is one of the more interesting ones I have come across lately. Twibbon is a program that overlays a graphic of your design onto Twitter profile pictures. Your profile picture shows up to the left of your every Tweet. It was originally started as a cause marketing system for people wanting to promote things like Cancer research or the current Iran political situation. You can still see this today in profiles that have the green tinting to them. Green is the color of the opposition leader in Iran. Twitter users must opt in and choose to display the overlays on their profile picture. Users can just as easily remove or change the overlay.
More recently, I am seeing marketers pick up on this trend and design overlays for their products and services. Even fans of certain products are creating Twibbons like this fan created overlay for the HBO show True Blood. Now that’s real user generated marketing. If you can convince enough people to use your overlay, there is the potential to get your brand image in front of tens of thousands of people. Plus it’s free and easy to do.
One problem I see for users is how much will this obscure your own profile brand and how many of these things are you willing to layer on top of your profile? I’ve already seen people with multiple overlays. If you are a brand and you are using Twitter for marketing I would not use any other Twibbon other than your own. I don’t think it hurts to have one but make sure your design is tasteful and doesn’t block too much of the original profile photo. Anything that looks bad or that takes over too much of the photo will probably not be used much. Also, as always, monitor the conversation and if you find people mentioning how annoyed they are by your overlay, get rid of it.