“Sponsored Tweets” – The mere mention of the phrase sends chills down our collective spine and carries with it a stigma whose weight rivals that any other related to the platform, amongst it’s power users. We cherish the site as one of the last remaining media to hold out against advertising, so it’s no surprise that losing such freedom would have many of us reeling at the very thought of allowing those evil advertisers to invade our precious territory that we’ve protected for so long.
Yes, I know that’s a bizarre sentiment coming from a Social Media Manager/Strategist at an Ad Agency. And I’ll admit, maybe that’s changed my perspective a bit, as the concept no longer seems as scary to me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see brands flooding the medium with promotional content, via tweet or banner ad – trust me, I’d be the first to abandon twitter if that were to happen. However, I’m sure there’s a way that it can be implemented in a non-abusive, noninvasive, way.
I’m writing, not to advocate the practice because of anything I’ve done or plan to do, rather, with the intention of on opening up a conversation that, I hope, will de-stigmatize this sensitive issue, following 2 recent experiences with different forms of sponsorship/advertising creeping into tweets – each with it’s own spin. After all, despite our feelings about pervasive marketing, many times it’s what allows us to enjoy the content we love – whether on TV or online. As of now, Twitter’s business model, despite the new Advertising Friendly Terms Of Service, has consisted of nothing more than selling off bigger and bigger chunks of the company as they desperately try to identify a viable means of revenue generation – but we all know this already.
A few weeks ago I signed up to participate in this controversial program. It’s not super new – most of you have probably heard about it already or even considered or experimented with it. Well, I pushed it off for a while, but eventually signed up & quickly forgot about it. Then, about 2 weeks ago, I received a DM informing me of a sponsored tweet opportunity. I clicked…and the tab sat open in my browser for about 3 days while I pondering the implication of participating, of disseminating a sponsored tweet to my followers (I still hate that word, not that it doesn’t provide a nice ego boost or reinforce the idea that Aerocles is some sort of deity or demiurgic figure worthy of worship…but come on…can’t we think up a better term?). Will my followers get upset? Will they feel deceived? Will they understand my experimentation or desire for that extra $3.50 (#recessionexcuse)? Most of all – Will anyone even notice?
I tweet like 100 times a day – would one 10am tweet with a link – looking pretty much like the rest of my posts – except with the necessary disclosure of the fact that this particular tweet is ‘sponsored’ – catch anyone’s eye as notably different?
I talked about it with a few people before hand – and their main concern seemed to be the issue of deception and disclosure. People follow me because they trust that I am feeding them useful information – vetted by me and marked with my stamp of approval. I get that. That’s pretty much the reason why I start following anyone else – they add value, whether through information or entertainment. So does disseminating a sponsored tweet devalue my presence? As long as it’s not often and clearly disclosed, I deemed it acceptable. So I did it. And guess what – several people clicked on the link. A few others asked me what a sponsored tweet was. And no one complained. No one said “Hey Dave, That was a bad Idea, I’m going to Unfollow you now.”
What I liked about the service is that when creating your profile you can outline the topics you’d be ok with, or interested in, tweeting about. Making the sponsored message custom tailored to the Twitterer’s (or Tweeter’s depending on the regional dialect of Twitterse that you speak) personal interests and preferences – thus keeping the content aligned with the rest of his/her tweetstream, to a degree. Not only that, but the participant has the ability to write the sponsored tweet his/herself, and decline opportunities if they disagree with the message, brand, or website they’d be promoting
That said, I’ve posted 2 sponsored tweets, raking in a grand total of $6 (though I’ve since upped by price to $5 a tweet). And I still haven’t received any negative comments for doing so.
Then there’s Last.fm’s Song Tweets. After I ran out of free plays on my Pandora station (WHY DID THEY DO THAT???) I crowdsurfed crowdsourced of course, asking my twitter friends what they use for online radio. I tried a few of the suggestions and found Last.fm to my liking. Once I had my station set up, I realized I could sync my station with twitter, in such a way that if I tag a song as “Loved,” it would tweet the name of the artist and song with a #lastfm hashtag and links to the both the song on last.fm’s site and on amazon.com, so people could purchase the individual track or album. In this approach, the sponsored tweet is entirely in the hands on the Twitterer and obviously in line with his/her taste in music and caters to people’s desires to share their preferences.
What They Have In Common:
They are both Opt-In
They are both ‘ads’ meant to direct followers to a website make a purchase – but reflect the specific Tweeter’s preferences and interests.
So….What do you think? Are these viable means of Advertising on Twitter? How Can Twitter capitalize? Should they be taking a percentage or commission of some sort? Should I be rewarded by Amazon on a Pay-Per-Click model for anyone who buys a song or album as a direct result of my tweet?
Aerocles’ Thought of the day:
New At-Work Strategy: Keeping My ‘Lost in Deep Thought” Look Plastered On My Face – It Stops People From Interrupting My Procrastination…