A new partnership between American Express and Twitter provides the foundation for what could be a new and exciting application of social media. American Express card holders can now tweet specific hashtags mentioning participating retailers to get exclusive discounts. Users first sync their card with their twitter account through a specific website launched for this campaign and from there, users tweet to unlock the discounts. More and more retailers, SEO companies, and expert marketers are moving to social media platforms to push the envelope in terms of creating unique engagement and user experiences.   

The potential for this application of Twitter is two-fold. First, the partnership represents an interesting and different way to connect with consumers for promotional purposes that encourage brand exposure and engagement.  The promotion can essentially encourage users to describe something about their experience with the products of the merchant in question. If the users are tweeting to get discounts for a company, then chances are they enjoy the company and will tweet something positive or interesting about their experience with the merchant.

This content that is created, the descriptions of personal preferences and experiences, can stand as many small advertisements that are shared and can spur further communication between other users. The promotion simply provides the initial nudge to get people creating content and interacting in the name of a certain merchant. Tweets then send information to those following these card holders, thus widening exposure and potentially growing American Express' customer-base. All of this activity is positive for the merchants.

Secondly, the model streamlines the process of attaining discounts. Instead of being re-directed off twitter to either retrieve or enter promotion codes and print coupons, users can receive the desired discount benefits through the social interface. Such built-in functionality has enormous potential. Through collaborative partnerships and improved design, a more efficient experience results, benefitting all involved. This is a small but transformative aspect of this collaboration. The simple fact that users can continue doing what they do (on Twitter in this case), and by virtue of an improved design, that same practice results in a desired result like brand -related tweets and a discount for the user makes this innovation potentially transformative.

ore companies and nonprofits should look at this model and use it for their own purposes. Such applications of this innovation could be used in conjunction with other social media and SEO practices to maximize their efforts.