Twitter, American Express Partner on Small Business Advertising

This is the first time Twitter has introduced an advertising solution specifically designed for small businesses.

Financial services firm American Express announced that its card members and merchants would be the first to have access to Twitter's new advertising solution for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), which is scheduled to launch in late March. The company said it would give $100 in free Twitter advertising when using this solution to the first 10,000 eligible businesses that register starting this week.

These businesses will be able to use Twitter's advertising products to engage with current customers and reach new ones. The new advertising solution is expected to open to the general public later this year. American Express will follow up with registrants in the next few weeks via Twitter direct message to provide additional program and eligibility information, according to a company release.

"We are committed to providing cutting-edge products, services and programs to help our small-business card members and merchants grow," said Ed Gilligan, vice chairman of American Express. "This partnership with Twitter gives our small business owners access to a powerful tool for reaching and engaging existing and new customers."

This is the first time Twitter has introduced an advertising solution specifically designed for small businesses. Through the new advertising solution, small businesses will now be able to run their own promotional campaigns that tap into Twitter's 300+ million user base to help them gain new followers and engage current ones.

"Small businesses were among the first to embrace Twitter as a way to connect and interact with consumers in real time," said Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter. "Today, we're announcing a simple way for small businesses to amplify their voices on Twitter and reach a new set of potential customers using our Promoted Products. With their deep commitment to supporting small businesses, American Express is an ideal partner to help us launch this new advertising offering and give small-business owners everything they need to get started with advertising on Twitter."

Social networking accounted for nearly one in every five minutes spent online globally in October 2011, ranking as the most engaging online activity worldwide. Social networking sites now reach 82 percent of the world's Internet population ages 15 and older that accessed the Internet from a home or work computer, representing 1.2 billion users around the globe, according to a recent report from comScore.