Amtrak touting its brand with promoted tweets

The nationwide passenger train service has gotten on board with social media in the past few years, and using Twitter ads has attracted attention.

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Do a quick search for “Amtrak” on Twitter and the first result you’ll get isa tweet from May 6: “Stay in touch with the rail world. Follow @Amtrak for the latest news.”

That’s not because nobody’s talking about the National Railroad Passenger Corp. on Twitter. Lots of passengers and others tweet regularly about their experiences, good and bad, on Amtrak trains. The May 6 tweet stands atop the search pile because, as the yellow note on the tweet indicates, it’s a promoted tweet.

In October 2010, Twitter launched its Promoted Accounts program, which displays tweets from promoted users in searches and shows promoted accounts in the “Who to follow” sidebar. Companies pay for the advertising.

“We’re always looking for new channels to increase awareness, and when I saw promoted accounts come out, it was definitely on our radar,” says Will Samolis, senior marketing officer for Amtrak. “But actually, Twitter came to us.”

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