The concept of “Pay Per Tweet” is a way for companies to pay prominent (and not so prominent) Twitter users to tweet and retweet their content. This followed on the heels of the similar “pay per blog” model that notable bloggers like Chris Brogan so famously embraced a few years ago. Just like with paying per blog (which eventually garnered attention from the Federal Trade Commission, who created a new regulation telling bloggers to disclose their sponsors), paying per Tweet has generated its share of controversy.
Reach a Wider Audience – While any Twitter user, with time and dedication, could conceivably build up a huge following, this takes time and diligence. With a Pay Per Tweet model, that same user could get their Tweets broadcast to users whom they might not yet have reached. It’s advertising for Twitter.
It’s Already Being Done – Whether you know it or not, some of your favorite Twitter accounts may have gone “Pay Per Tweet” already. Companies and even celebrities are increasingly hiring “Ghost Tweeters” to supply their accounts with timely, interesting content, build Twitter relationships, and usher their content into the viral realm.
People See Through It – Web users have embraced social media in large part because the Tweets, status updates and blog posts they see were written by other people just like them. One could argue that a Pay Per Tweet model chips away at the egalitarian fundamentals that social media has been built upon.
The Money Factor – Part of social media’s appeal is that it is ostensibly free. (If you don’t count your time, of course.) Paying per Tweet runs counter to social media’s “free for all” reputation. Further, sites like Facebook have something like 400 million users, while Twitter has a relatively paltry 190 million users. If a sponsor is going to pay for advertising, his or her needs might be better served on a different social media platform or even via a service like Google AdWords.
In the end, it’s up to you whether you build an organic Twitter following or Pay Per Tweet. But paying per Tweet is now just the tip of the iceberg. Earlier this year, Twitter announced that it would allow “advertising” Tweets. These Tweets will be targeted, Google-like, to Twitter users based on their searches within the site. It remains to be seen whether Pay Per Tweet, advertising Tweets and whatever Twitter has in store next will alienate users of the popular social media site or merely usher Twitter on to its next evolutionary stage.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html