Is “Pay With a Tweet” an Ethical Marketing Practice?

Note from Megan: You may remember a few months ago we ran an “ask the reader” guest post by Fiona TankardIt was a huge success. Tons of people offered amazing insight and value- the comments section just lit up like a city at night. So instead of writing a long detailed post about an interesting topic, I’m going to ask *you* to do it.

(This is a new feature we’re trying out, so give it a shot and let me know what you think.)

You’ve seen it.

Someone’s got a cool piece of content available, totally for free… just so long as you tweet, like or otherwise promote it first.

There are a few ways this can be done; Content can be protected until an individual has shared it. We’ve done this several times, most recently with the Naked Marketing Manifesto. (And we think it went pretty well!)

Another method is that the owner can decide to release a piece of content if a certain number of social interactions are achieved. Olga Astakhova wrote about a bad experience she had with this in her post Get Vaccinated against the Viral Marketing Virus.

Obviously, people have a variety of feelings about this (and we’re not saying one method is definitely better than the other – not yet anyway!) – Some consider it a great exchange: share a link or like something and get free stuff. Other people have more of a problem with it: promoting something you haven’t seen yet? Risky. We’ve established that paid email (as in pay real money to send one!) isn’t the way to go – but is paying with a little bit of social juice as terrible?

So the ask the reader question of the month is:

  • Do you think it’s a good idea to ask your readers to pay with a tweet and other social shares?
  • If yes: why is it a good idea, and how would you go about it?
  • If no, why not? What might a good alternative be?

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think!

If you’ve got an awesome idea for an “Ask the Reader” topic (or a problem you’d like to have solved by the wisdom of crowds) shoot me an email at megan (at) firepolemarketing (dot) com.

Megan Dougherty has been with Firepole Marketing since 2010, first as Danny's Assistant and more recently as Education Lead. When she's not working with wonderful students and readers here, she's building her own audience based business helping the young and underemployed handle their money at Paying For Life. You can drop her a line on Twitter or Google+.

Comments

  1. says

    I would say it’s okay, espeically if your Twitter account isn’t overly big. It’s a problem when you’re an influencer, but it’s a fair price tag, espeically if you don’t have any money.

    In fact, a Like is an even lower-risk price. It’s not like lots of people are going to be shifting through them, but it still serves as search engine fuel.

    • Megan says

      Interesting point about the Tweet vs. the Like. And also that a product get more “expensive” for the more of an influencer you are. Thanks for your input!

      • says

        Oh, and another thing: There’s also the ethical issue about creating an “egg” account and using that to pay for the e-product, or using your normal account but then deleting the tweet shortly after. But that’s the nature of “free” that we need to trust people on.

        • Megan says

          You’re right, there are always going to be some folks who take a product in a way you didn’t intend – but for every one of those, there’s usually another whose system of value matches yours, I think.

  2. Andi says

    O.K. I’m a beginner, in the Marketing Arena, but is there any need to give away something – for having thousands of signups that don’t buy anything – the rate is < 5% right ? – can this pay the costs ?
    I'm tending more to giving something of real worth for free – just a Download-Button – no signup required – (or just nothing that spoils users hard-disks and is never read anyway) and have only 10% signups, but from these 50% buyers = same amount of buyers + less costs for the list + less sign outs ( the eBook collectors ).
    And why should this be different with followers – is the response-rate higher ?
    I think nobody wants to get sold sth., except (s)he is searching to buy sth. – (s)he wants – and in this moment they ask Search engines for offers instead of their email Inbox.
    Am i totally wrong ?

    • Megan says

      Hi Andi,

      I can see where you’re coming from – but if you have a good understanding of your target market, you can create a giveaway (or a pay with a tweet away) that they will find attractive – and it’s possible that they have networks that are similar to them in taste and interest. So the exchange becomes one of content for exposure.

      I can also see your argument for a totally action free download – it creates good will, and could well get people interested in learning more about you and your business – and you’ll be able to reach people who despise pay with a share system.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Megan

      • Andi says

        Hi Megan, thanks for your response – as I’m working with absolute beginners that mostly don’t have several Twitter accounts for promoting several Websites – I just don’t want to bother their Family and Friends – as far as they don’t want.
        In my beginning I didn’t want my Family (Relatives) to know what I do, because these stupids are talking bad about things they don’t understand.

    • says

      Hi,

      I’m a small manufacturer, I’ve always sold my products by word of mouth and yes that was back in the olden days of fax. Over the years, we have grown and now have the capacity to out produce our sales, so for the first time I’m entering into the marketing arena. My way of thinking still has not changed, if you produce a great product at a resonable price and make your customers feel they are very important to you, then sales naturally follow.

      My thought is if I produce a marketing piece, great content, helping others or what ever, I’m also self promoting my business and products, so it is always free, with no strings.

      People love and appreciate that, in kind they will tweet and what ever elce goes on in market cyber land without you asking for it, so once again you cannot beat good old fashion word of mouth.

      • Megan says

        True enough, Robert, True enough!

        It’s so easy to forget that social media is at it’ heart – all still social.

        Thank you for sharing this!

  3. Darren says

    I adhore the practice, you are asking me to tell everyone I know about something I have not read. If I see one of these, then I close the browser and if the marketer does it too much, then I unsubscribe.

    Giving you my email is one thing, but promoting you to my friends, family, coworkers, etc, is another. By all means ask for the like/tweet as I am sure many will, but forcing us? No information is that valuable.

    • Megan says

      You definitely have a strong take on the matter! I can see where you’re coming from, certainly.

      Does a company asking you to pay with a Tweet change your opinion of that company?

      Have you ever gone ahead and done it to get the giveaway?

      • Darren says

        Yes it does change my opinion of them, you are forcing me to promote you without me knowing fully about you (now, not your company in particular, because I have been following for a while, although, I really wouldnt do a like or tweet, because people on those lists are family and friends)

        And no, I have never done it to get the giveaway, which is why I missed out on the naked marketing manifesto.

        • Megan says

          Something good to keep in mind for all of us – thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter.

          If you’d like a copy of the Naked Marketing Manifesto, just send me an email, and I’ll get one to you! :)

          • says

            I haven’t thought about that. Personally, I would consider giving your email being a more expensive currency than tweeting. Sharing an URL is a one-time thing, while giving an email is basically giving the “seller” permission into your inbox.

            The very act of giving an email requires a degree of trust to not be spammed by either the seller or anybody else the seller might give your email to.

            • Megan says

              It’s a fine line to walk online – protecting yourself from spam – and not becoming an inadvertent spammer!

          • Darren says

            Hey Megan, yes, please send me the Naked Marketing Manifesto, you have my email already from filling in this form. If you don’t then please tell me where to email you.
            Regards
            Darren

        • says

          I may not *abhor* the practice, but I certainly do not like it. I have yet to respond by sharing (I consider it a forced share), even if it’s something that I would really like to read/have.

          I would not say that giving my email is more expensive than *spamming* family, friends, and others in online social groups because my spam and filter programs take care of protecting my email for me. But protecting my family, friends, and others is on me.

          Personally, I have ousted both family and friends who have intentionally or unintentionally spammed me by sending me links to stuff that may pertain to them but not to me. Long story short – Don’t make it a forced share of your content!

          • says

            Hi SweetPea, thanks for taking the time to write.

            I see your point that protecting your network from span is a big part of online etiquette. What would yo say to the idea that your family and friends might be interested in something not because it’s their native interest – but because it interests you?

            • says

              If I used social media for any of my IM communique, I could see possibly tweeting them, but I still would not do it with a forced tweet. But this is not the case, as among my friends and family with whom I do use social media, I am the only one even remotely interested in IM – and both I and they know this.

              So tweeting to my social “circles” about anything IM would invite unwelcome commentary from the “peanut factory”. My social sphere know that I do stuff with Kindle authorship/publishing and some IM stuff, but they’re not interested, and I don’t expect them to be.

              Also, even if at any time I were to entertain the possibility of influencing them towards the IM industry, it most certainly would not be with a forced tweet – I would make it much more personal (face to face if possible).

              However, for those of us in IM who do have those in their social sphere who wouldn’t mind being exposed to their IM-related tweets, it is up to them how much they trust the party providing the content and the quality of the content as to whether they are comfortable sharing a forced tweet.

              This post has really inspired some thoughtful commentary – love it!

  4. Zach says

    Paying with a tweet or like is definitely a new innovative idea.

    I just created a site and would consider using this strategy if I actually had something worth distributing. However, I can see people getting tired of this, starting to abuse the system, or even choosing to not receive the content because they don’t want to share it within their social circle.

    I think using it sparingly is the best option. If you use it for all your content it would definitely make many people loose faith in you. Also, I could see people creating twitter accounts specifically for when then they need to “pay with a tweet.” At that point, the concept becomes useless. Maybe instead you should let your quality content speak for itself and hope for organic tweets (new term?) instead. Finally, people may be weary of spreading the content since they don’t necessarily want to spam their social circles with promotional posts.

    Just my two cents.

  5. Chris Wilson says

    In my experience I know that many of my followers would hate to know that I think about marketing and that I am reading about it. I’m sure there are other areas where this is true as well (and it’s not just marketing).
    As such, I try to “Pay” when there are fewest of my followers around to pick up on this tweet which really defeats the whole point of the idea.
    I think it is really a fair price for getting good quality free content that you should want to spread (if it is good)

    • Megan says

      That’s really interesting, Chris – why do you think your customers are adverse to the idea of you marketing?

      I guess because I’m so “in” it, I forget how marketing can be seen by the rest of the world. :s

      Thanks for commenting!

      • Chris Wilson says

        I think that within Education people don’t like to be “Sold” things and the perception of being (highly) profitable and good quality education as a dichotomy. I’m not sure it’s true of everyone but it certainly is of marketing to other educators and teachers. I guess it’s a bit like the distrust of big pharma (only interested in making a buck and not helping people)

        I could be wrong of course! However, when I see people in my niche acting in certain ways it really makes me cringe!

        • says

          I think we can all agree that big pharma are doing things wrong!

          It’s interesting to look at education/profit as a dichotomy – especially given how expensive and profitable traditional education (through a college or university) can be. Thank you for the idea!

          • Chris Wilson says

            It’s a strange one because on the one hand Harvard et al are seen as valuable but perhaps people expect all educations money to go to education….a bit like a charity. I think (my opinion) that charities have to be subtle about their marketing (I was wondering this morning about charities that spend more money on getting more money to help people and how “wrong” it can feel.)
            I do think that marketing can be done (and is done) very well within both markets but I don’t think people like to know they are being marketed to. (maybe it’s just me!)

  6. says

    I’m glad you brought this up Megan. Pay with a tweet can be a powerful tool but I will never tweet something I haven’t read.

    The only way I will pay with a tweet is if I can see the content. At least 50% of it.

    Instead of releasing a free product and asking people to pay with a tweet, publish the entire thing. If it’s more than 5k, publish it in a series. Link the posts together and under each posts add a pay with a tweet link to get the whole thing as an ebook.

    I’ve found that people rarely ever read huge posts in one go. They skim and bookmark. I know I always wish I could download the post so that I can read it on my kindle or tablet later.

    This way, people see that your work is solid and they won’t be risking their authority and reputation by promoting your work.

    • Megan says

      Now there’s an interesting idea – like how Dickens or even Stephen King serialized their stories to drive interest and sales.

      I like that it allows for people to get an idea of what the content is before sharing it with their networks, and could really create an interesting buzz.

      I really like this idea – thank you for sharing it!

  7. says

    Wow.. these comments and opinions themselves are fabulous. I’ve paid with a tweet before. Never went back and deleted the tweet or anything. I can see, and somewhat agree, with the fact that it is a bit much to ask me to promote your product when I don’t know if it’s worthy of promoting. However, for me, when I’m to the point of contemplating a purchase of any kind, I’ve done a bit of reading on the author/creator of the product and read enough on reviews that I generally feel comfortable.

    As for giving email. I generally give my email, but the crappy part is I end up with a million subscriptions when I’d prefer to follow via RSS. The problem comes about that you generally don’t have the option to sign up via email for just the product or maybe specific updates, but you have to sign up for the newsletter, too… but for me, I want RSS. I hate my inbox being full of articles I will and want to read but would rather do it when I get a chance to sit down with my RSS feed and read everything for a few hours instead of losing everything important in my email to subscriptions. And half the time, I’ve got the same company or blogger or entrepreneur on my RSS that I’ve got in email subscriptions, too – just so I can keep up with the non-post material that is given to readers and followers. It’s annoying.

    • says

      But at the same time – you’ll never make everyone happy. And if you’ve been thru any of Danny’s courses or paid attention to his lessons on your ONE PERSON or target audience, you just go with what that one person would want and everyone else will do what they want.

      • Megan says

        I think you’re right about the relationship making a difference – if you already trust someone’s content it’s easier to take the risk.

        That’s a really good point about the RSS, Christina. I know it’s often recommend to bloggers to discourage RSS Signups because it keeps people off the blog, and doesn’t promote email engagement – but that totally ignores the fact that some people really prefer using RSS.

        You’re right – you can’t make absolutely everyone happy – wouldn’t it be nice if we could?

        • says

          It would be divine if we could. :)

          As for the RSS – if you’re going to have one, the best way to pull readers back to your blog is to offer only a portion of the article via RSS with a link bringing them back to the site. This is what I try to do. It allows people to have their RSS feed, get a glance at all your posts and read which ones they want to read at your site. It’s just your job to make them interested enough within the first paragraph to suck them into the site. :)

            • says

              I’m in at the game, still technically in the staging process with not a penny made yet really. However, it’s what I’ve always done with my personal blogs just because seeing stats did make me happy no matter what everyone says about them. ^_^ I’m human, and I wanted to see if people were reading. :)

  8. says

    I think it’s a good idea, so long as you offer the reader some freedom.

    I like tweetables, but you should also encourage the reader to alter it and share your content in a manner they seem comfortable with. This way you aren’t necessarily asking for an endorsement, which eliminates a potential headache on the morals of this method.

    Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)

    • Megan says

      More freedom would be great – maybe the concept will be expanded so you could pay with different times of social sharing – a Pin, a Stumble, A Tumble…

  9. Joona Tuunanen says

    I don’t like paying with a tweet or like for material for 2 reasons:
    - my friends and family are not interested in all the same topics (like marketing)
    - even if the followers would be interested, I don’t know what I am suggesting if I tweet it.

    This is highlighted even more by the fact that most of my followers are not Americans / native English-speakers (even if they do speak English) and live in totally different kind of cultures where such practices are not appreciated/adopted.

    • Megan says

      You’re right Joona, those situations sound like it would be wasted – and much more of a hassle, then a value.

      What do you think an alternative could be?

      • Joona Tuunanen says

        Simple email opt-in would do the trick. That’s how I ended up on FPM email list.

        Other option would be to have so much value on the page that I would be happy to tweet it/share it even if 99% of my followers wouldn’t be the target market. And obviously the topic shouldn’t be anything “embarrassing”, because who want’s to share anything like “5 steps to get rid of depression” or “How not to be awkward when talking with girls” etc :)

  10. Jason says

    I’ve never paid with a tweet or like and won’t unless I thought my followers would like it. Two reasons: 1. No twitter account. 2. Facebook is for family and friends. I could create my first twitter account to get the manifesto and have thought of it but haven’t taken the time to do so.

    • Megan says

      If you’d like a copy of the manifesto – just send me an email, (Although if you liked it after reading – we certainly wouldn’t say no to a share after!)

  11. Susan says

    Snap you beat me to it except I hardly use Facebook even for family and friends. i did try some business pages (yes more than one) but it is one thing getting them started it is another thing spending the time to make the most of them. By the time you have added content, responded to people and kept up with the changes Facebook makes. They become a huge time sink. Ok if you have a clone of yourself to spend the time on them but otherwise the return on time invested is not enough to warrant bringing them to life. It is a question of priorities. Paying for something with a tweet or a like is really for those with the time (or the money to pay others) to take care of their Facebook page or Twitter account.

    • Megan says

      Thanks for your comment Susan!

      It definitely sounds like Facebook wasn’t for your business!

      A business may not use Facebook (we don’t really use it for FPM yet, but might someday) but it could be that the audience does, and likes engaging there. There are other potential benefits too, like increasing influence, search power and s on.

      You’re totally right about social media as a potential time sink – you’ve really got to decide which sites you’ll use and how.

  12. Cece says

    Asking to “pay with a tweet” is no different than asking to enter your email…When experts give content away for free they might need to ask for SOMETHING so they can spread their message & sustain themselves in doing so!

  13. says

    I’m going to be perfectly honest. More than half of the time I pay with a tweet, I delete the tweet right after. If the content isn’t relevant to my followers, why should I waste their twitter space with something completely irrelevant?

  14. says

    To me it all depends on *what* they’re having me tweet. My followers choose to follow me to learn information that helps them to get funded on Kickstarter. If I’m certain that what I’m being asked to tweet about will help them get funded (because I’ve read it already, or I know the person promoting it always creates excellent quality) then I have no problem with it. If it’s not going to be something they’re likely to be *grateful* to receive in their streams, I wouldn’t tweet it if you paid me. If I’m unsure, I’d most likely do it with an egg account to chek it out and then tweet it to my main account if it’s worth it.

    I do feel this is different from supplying an email address though, as with an email address you’re only affecting yourself, versus affecting every person who follows you. Do what you want with your own time, but other people’s should be treated as sacred.

    • Megan says

      Hi Piers,

      That’s an idea I like – using an egg account to make sure it works for your audience, then sharing with everyone if it passes muster. Win-win-win.

      It is different than an email address – interesting that you mention this because often getting someone to part with an email address is more difficult then getting them to Tweet or Facebook something – even though you’re entirely right in that the effect is wider for a social share- kind of makes you think.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  15. Ruthy says

    I don’t really mind paying with a “like” or “share” (I do not have a tweeter account), especially from sites like yours where I know what it is that I am “paying” for.
    Question is – does it fulfill any purpose? My Facebook friends interests are far from the topics discussed here, hence my “like” doesn’t really broaden your audience – and if so, what’s the point?
    On the other hand, if I read a post that I really liked, I’d share it regardless. I might even send the link personally to the few that might be interested.
    So maybe a better “pay” would be to forward whatever it is that you want to spread to my mailing list if appropriate?

    • Megan says

      I think every internet marketing wishes for a reader or visitor who likes their content enough to do that!

      The intended purpose of pay with a tweet and equivalents is to get more eyes on the headline, more visits to the site and shares of the content. Of course, as you say – that won’t be the way it turns out every time.

      Thanks for your comment!

  16. says

    I dont see any problem with the “pay with a tweet” model, is it any different to offering an ebook or training course in return for signing up to a mailing list?

    • Megan says

      Hey Kevin, Clicking “tweet” is an easier level of commitment to ask a visitor for than an email address – so it’s likely that more people will do it. Then, once they get the content, it’s quality will hopefully lead them to engage further, like by signing up for an email list.

      • Bob says

        “Clicking “tweet” is an easier level of commitment to ask a visitor for than an email address”

        Sorry, but I have to disagree, Megan.

        When I provide an email address to get a product, that’s between me and the person making the offer. (I do realize that I’m counting on the person to honor unsubscribe requests and not share my email address without my consent.) To me, that’s a very low level of commitment.

        If I share on Facebook (I don’t have a twitter account), I feel like I’m recommending a product sight unseen to quite a number of people, many of whom, I’m quite certain, will have little to no interest in it anyway.

        • says

          Fair point, Bob.

          I guess it depends how an individual sees their inbox vs they’re wall or streams – on which space is the real estate more valuable?

          Thank you for posting.

  17. says

    Great article, Megan, and touches on an interesting, and relatively hot topic.

    I’ll just weigh in real-quick (that means unlike usual, I did not read the entire discussion :P)

    In my experience, people ADORE sharing.

    But they like doing it by far the most when they feel:

    a) Free and unobligated to share.
    b) Smart, special, and The One To Discover / Disseminate ‘cool shit’.

    If a “pay with a tweet” campaign can be couched nicely in these principles and be perceived well according to them, I’d say you’d have very little resistance, and high rates of success with the promo.

    If on the other hand, you step on or skip the above key factors, I’d imagine people would generally be up and arms, and you’d probably have to milk the whole thing for some bad publicity, and then spin it :)

    Either way you’re good, but I kinda prefer the former to the latter.

    Thawtz?

    • Megan says

      I think you’re bang-on about the reasons people will want to share, and I especially like the idea of being “the one to discover.”

      That’s an idea that could be really powerfully harnessed. Thanks for sharing it!

      I think what you’re saying all comes down to where pay with a tweet comes into your overall strategy, and the reputation that you have with your audience.

  18. says

    This technique is employed in the Congress of the United States. The Speaker of the House once famously intoned that if you wanted to know what was in the bill, why, all you had to do was pass it. :)

  19. Jason says

    Do you think it’s a good idea to ask your readers to pay with social shares?
    Not in the way you have done so as you have required and not asked.
    If no, why not? What might a good alternative be?
    In a perfect world it would be built into the product somehow so it is EASIER to like or tweet than to not do so. That said I don’t know how to do that.

  20. says

    I have 2 Twitter accounts. I would pay for something with my personal/marketing one, but not the main one for my niche.

    Facebook = No way.

    I guess the hunt is still on for the best way to do it. No doubt someone will find the answer soon.

    • Megan says

      I think it’s more and more comment for folks to have multiple accounts.

      There will always be new options – it’s keeping up that’s hard!

      Thanks for commenting!

  21. says

    Call me cynical, but I think that as an individual case, a pay-with-a-tweet message doesn’t have much impact.

    Despite having over a thousand followers, only two or three notice my tweeted links, if I’m lucky. I ‘m already in a niche full of promotion, so if I pay with a tweet and the product is bad, it’s likely no one got hurt anyways, because no one cares either way.

    Personally, this kind of payment works better as social proof or collective promotion, not an individual basis.

    • Megan says

      Oh, thank you for writing social proof – the phrase has been on the tip of my tongue all day and I couldn’t get it out!

      How big a part of your strategy is twitter, and how do you use it?

      • says

        I would say Twitter is a big part of my strategy. I use it to interact with fellow fiction writers, especially on weekly chats and other hashtags, along with some links to articles in my round-ups.

        However, from looking at my feed, there’s a lot of promotion going around in my niche, so it’s unlikely a “tweet payment” would be clicked on, unless I’m directing it to someone or putting particular emphasis on it.

        On the other hand, I don’t have a small following of family members who will see every tweet, and I’m not an influencer with 10K+ followers, so it’s case-by-case.

  22. says

    I can’t find who said this, but I actually like the idea of the “Pay-with-the-Tweet” sharing the article with the freebie offering as opposed to the freebie itself. An example is on this very site! http://www.firepolemarketing.com/web-traffic-strategies/

    With this approach, the reader has a transparent reason to pay with the tweet. It might reduce conversions on the actual freebie, but there’s reassurance that you’re sharing something you’ve already read, instead of a product you haven’t.

    Maybe this is what I’ll try.

    • says

      That’s another really good point. Thanks for highlighting this compromise – I think it well satisfied both sides of the debate – value either way and a good preview. Thanks!

  23. says

    I would say, no to ‘pay with a Tweet’ for cold offers.

    However, if you treat it like trying to get someone to buy, and give them a taste first, then I wouldn’t mind so much.

    I’m still not fond of the implied social blackmail involved, but I’m more okay with it, if I’ve seen what it is FIRST, and know it’s something I’m comfortable promoting.

    Especially now that I’m starting to get a bit known in my little section of the Internetz as a connector, I want to make sure I only promote things I truly believe in. :>

    • says

      Absolutely something to be concerned about – connectors have so much power, they have to use if wisely and respectfully. It all comes down again to relationships and reputation. (Who’d have though?) ;)

  24. says

    Hi Megan,
    Good conversation and definitely food for thought.
    I use it as an alternative to adding email address to receive my email series e.g. at http://howtocreatefuture.com Visitors can then choose to opt in for the gift or, choose to share about the page to get their download.
    I’ve also used it after confirming email opt in when visitors have already subscribed, got what they requested with their subscription and then I offer an extra package of gifts in exchange for sharing e.g at this page http://www.forwardsteps.com.au/ThankYouAll.html
    Personally, I think it’s fine to use in those instances because visitors are given alternative options, or it’s an added extra to gifts already received.
    However, if it were a “cold” offer & they don’t know my content or me, then I’d think it would be a bit “rich” to ask them to share about someone or a site about which they know nothing and of which they have no past experience.
    Cheers,
    Thea

  25. Tony C says

    I don’t use Twitter at all so not having any followers it wouldn’t bother me. Someone set up an account for me once so I can tweet if I really have to, like to get the Naked Marketing book, but I haven’t got a clue if anyone sees my tweet. Pretty much same with Facebook. To me it’s far too dangerous for most of the private info they share on both those systems to be public knowledge.

    I know of some that use it sensibly but saying “Look at me I’m on the other side of the world” on FB is asking to get your house visited by undesirables that you might have thought were friends of yours and know where you live. It’s happened to a few I know.

    Why pay for anything with any form of payment if you don’t know what you are paying for? Being told what you are getting and seeing what you are getting can be vastly different. Like others have said, most accounts are for social reasons and not for passing round info that is probably not relevant to a majority of the recipients. It’s a marketers way of thinking that all forms of communication were built for them to advertise on and everybody on there would want to have what they are offering. WRONG!

    If I see something worth passing on, I am extremely selective who I pass it on to. Unfortunately, FB & T are not that selective I’m told. I’m willing to bet that me handing info on to my selected few gives greater returns than the blanketed tweet etc. It’s just that I have control of it and not the marketers is what bugs them.

    Tony

    • Megan says

      Hi Tony,

      There are definitely many different ways to use social media, and marketers may well be guilty at looking at everything in terms of advertising – but I know here, we consider engagement and really personal marketing more important than advertising. A common thread that’s come up in this discussion is what you mention – it’s not right to ask for an endorsement for something unseen – and knowing that many people feel that way will really help inform marketers of the best decisions to make for their audiences.

      Thank you for joining the discussion!

  26. says

    Megan, great questions. I just did what you discuss here.

    I asked various influencers in the coaching world of marketing and social media if they would tweet
    3 messages to their followers for a week. Of course, I knew them from joint ventures and ongoing chats for years. The response was good so far.

    I also announced this favor to my Linkedin group of 4500 members 2 times and to my own list from my website subscribers. The message went to my FB fan page group too.

    Just copy and paste these tweets any time from today to Oct 10th. Feel free to post them on Facebook and LinkedIn too!

    Sample Tweets…

    Build fans & clients that want your expertise. 20 experts with Judy Cullins free summit at http://tinyurl.com/ACACullins

    Free telesummit-Judy Cullins is speaking on ebooks with 20 other marketing experts. Sign up now at http://tinyurl.com/ACACullins

    Coaches – Get 20 experts’ tips on marketing to grow ur conversions. Judy Cullins offers ebook chapter writing http://tinyurl.com/ACACullins

    I’m still conencting with other influencers evry day. I also offer to receiprocate and it’s working well.

    Do you have any other advice for me?

    • says

      Sounds like an awesome strategy, Judy.

      I confess, I’m not entirely comfortable with Twitter yet – I still feel like I’m learning the ropes.

      For overall campaign advice – I’m sure yo know how we feel about Guest blogging. A super-valuable post with a link to your registration page at the end can do wonders for attendance at this type of event.

  27. says

    I haven’t read all the threads, but I’ve done a quick search and I don’t think that this has been mentioned:

    What about using Pay with a Tweet to have people sign up for a webinar? I am doing another Monthly Mentor call on October 7th, this time on the topic of mind mapping. I created a blog post which contains the Pay with a Tweet button. Once people paid, it leads them to another page on my website with a form to opt-in for the webinar.

    That page isn’t linked anywhere. But people can find it if they do a search from my blog or via a search engine.

    And once someone has the form page URL, there is nothing stopping them from sharing that URL directly, hence bypassing the Pay with a Tweet blog post.

    On the page, there is no password protection (I could but it would add a lot of complexity, and people could just as easily share the password than the page url).

    I haven’t yet published the blog post and the page, so I haven’t tested this out yet, but I believe that most people will pay. It’s low-cost, and they’re not actually promoting anything to their followers that they haven’t validated – they’re just saying that they signed up for my Monthly Mentor webinar.

    What do you guys think?

      • Megan says

        I love the idea!

        It dramatically increases the value of the tweet, or share, and I think it also takes away some of the worry that people might have about promoting something they haven’t experienced yet. It’s one thing to Tweet how you’re reading a report, but it seems to me a more natural thing to tweet- “I’m taking this class, and I think it’ll be interesting.”

        Thanks for the input!

        • says

          Thank you for your response, Megan :)

          I had some constructive feedback from Danny about this, and he thought that I was losing a lot of opt-ins by using this Pay with a Tweet. Unfortunately, I was not able to set up the Split Testing before the webinar, so I simply changed it back to a form opt-in. I got more opt-ins for a day, then it dropped. So really, I don’t know if using Pay with a Tweet takes away opt-ins or not.

          The other side of the coin is that by using this method, then I gain more visibility on Twitter. To really measure the efficiency, I would have to track who comes through the link in the tweet, and who comes in other ways.

          If anyone else tests it, please let me know!

          • Megan says

            I’d love to see what the split test results are for that. I’ll have to keep it in mind – maybe add this to my own list of things to try out i the coming months.

            Fantastic.

  28. says

    I just read everyones comments and your responses Megan–an education with much fuel for thought. As a connector I resonate with the idea that I only want to pass on material that I wholeheartedly support. Anything else would be breaking a trust that I am creating with my audience. My goal is to be a communicator of valuable and useful information about relationship.

    • Megan says

      I think that’s most peoples goal – no one sets out to be the spammer. The problem arises from perception of value, doesn’t it? The provider of the content believes it to be worth the Tweet or Share, but the potential recipient isn’t sure. I think reputation plays a big roll – someone just starting out has less evidence that they’re fantastic to draw on than someone asking for shares right off the bat.

  29. says

    Considering you guys promote targetted marketing, I can’t see how pay with a tweet is a good idea, as it’s basically encouraging people to mimic the old scattergun style marketing (is that what it was called, something like that) which decent targetted marketing is meant to avoid – because as some people have commented, this would go to their entire twitter following whether they were interested in the subject or not.

    The only thing I find worse is the recent trend of ‘Click to Tweet’ – apparently the stats on that speak for themselves but I still think there’s something wrong with spoon-feeding people what they should tweet, we should leave it at hoping that they do and they can choose for themselves.

    It just sounds too much like ‘look at me, I’m so proud of that clever little expression I came up with, why don’t you tweet it because it’s so good…’

    just saying…

    ;-)

    • Megan says

      Hey Alan,

      I can see where you’re coming from with this, absolutely. We definitely rely on super-targeted marketing for the majority of our work and effort. To my mind, pay with a tweet etc. is part of a relationship building process – not the end of the story. It’s an exchange of value, and a sign of engagement that means there might be the possibility of more in the future.

      Of course – it’s not for everyone – I know I’ve gotten a lot out of reading the different comments and viewpoints here.

      Interesting point about Spoon feeding. I don’t think I would be wrong to say, sometimes, people like to be spoon-fed. I confess, that sometimes when I see a clever turn of phrase, I just retweet it with a chuckle – and the same with the click to Tweets. If it’s something I might have tweeted of my own volition, if someone makes it easier for me, it just pushes me over the edge, and I go for it with nary a second thought.

      Thanks for commenting!

  30. says

    Hi Andi,

    We offer “pay with a tweet” and “pay with a like” feautures in our tool. So far, promoters that have used it in their campaigns haven’t had any complaints.

  31. says

    Hi Megan,
    Great question! If I get asked to pay with a tweet for a ‘free’ offer, I’m leaving the site and think: “Too bad that they don’t understand the word ‘free’.”

    If on the other hand I get a ‘free’ offer and get an email from the company a few days later asking me, what I thought about the free offer? and if I would be so kind to send a tweet about it, if I liked it. Yes, then I’m willing to tell my followers about it but only if I really liked it and think it would also be interesting for others on my list.

    Free offers should always be free. :-)

    • says

      Good point about hoe people attribute value here – and how they consider the word “free.” Thanks for weighing in – particularly with the suggested alternative!

  32. says

    I am with Darren and a few others, I will not recommend something I haven’t seen, am very choosy about what I tweet to my followers and restrict my tweets with links to what I hope is an acceptable daily limit to my many thousands of twitter followers.

    Of course I will voluntarily tweet, G+ , like or otherwise share stuff that is both good and of value to my followers. As I have done with some posts from this site.

    Part of my positioning is as a contrarian thinker and an awkward old fart, so on principle if someone tries to coerce me into doing something for an unknown and possibly dubious return, I am going to do the opposite.

    • says

      Fair play, Peter, fair play. Thank you for sharing what you have!

      What do you think of things like the “click to tweet” links that are included in some posts and downloads?

  33. says

    The only time I’ve ever paid with a tweet for something was Firepole Marketing’s Naked Manifesto and the sole reason I did that was because I trusted Danny to produce something worth reading and to be of value to any of my followers.
    I’m apprehensive about endorsing something which I haven’t even seen.
    I keep my Twitter/ Facebook accounts separate from my personal ones, because even though they take an interest in what I do, family and friends don’t necessarily want to be inundated with everything that I do tweet or like. Anyone who really wants to read all of this stuff, follows me on my business accounts.

  34. dee says

    I am very late to this whole debate, but I think it depends on the actual content. I am a freelance graphic designer (newly so), and have been researching methods to market my business. I was turned on to this by a fellow graphic designer.

    For those of us who offer products: free fonts, free WordPress themes, blank templates for online banners etc.. I think asking for them to pay with a tweet, like, etc, is great! There are often “samples” of what the product looks like be it a sample of the template, theme, or font. And if the user likes it and intends to use it, then I’d think a person was somewhat of an ass for liking something enough to want to dl it but not wishing to help the person’s business in any way. (There could be options, pay with a tweet, make a small donation, etc). Making fonts is hard freaking work and takes a lot of precision which makes it time consuming.

    Now… where I think “pay with a tweet” fails is with blogs that are more “informational” driven. I shouldn’t have to pay with a tweet to access information such as tutorials, how to guides, and basically article based sites. Or products which I don’t have access to immediately use or “view” to know if I feel they are worth my while or not.

  35. says

    I know this is old but I thought I’d weigh in anyway. I think if the provider is someone you trust and you know the content is going to be great, the share isnt a big deal. If its someone I’ve stumbled across I wont share. They need to prove that they have something I want to share before im going to endorse what they have. Me tweeting or Liking their stuff means I endorse it. I want to be sure that what I endorse is good before i put it out there on my reputation

  36. says

    Do you think it’s a good idea to ask your readers to pay with social shares?

    I think that it is Ok.

    If yes: why is it a good idea, and how would you go about it?

    I think idea because it acts as a filter to a certain extent for people who don’t really want it.

    Is that going to filter out everyone? No.

    But it may help to reduce people who download it and do nothing with it.

    The question I have is why are email gates Ok but not this?

    If people don’t agree with either that’s fine, but for those that don’t…

  37. says

    Just found this, and I’m pretty much with Darren & others with regard to recommending something I’ve not had a chance to see. When I recommend something, I’m putting my own reputation on the line. Plus, I want my recommendation to be specific. For example: “If you want to build and market your business online, Firepole Marketing is a great resource. Subscribe.” I can’t give a thoughtful review of something I haven’t checked out.

    I would happily ‘pay with a tweet’ about something I’ve already seen or used for another item from the same company. THAT’s a cool way to use the tool.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Is “Pay With a Tweet” an Ethical Marketing Practice? About Craig YarisCraig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 . Filed Under: Authors, Business, General, Sales & eCommerce, Social Media, Social Media Topics Tagged With: business, facebook, internet marketing, Marketing, Social Brand, Social Media, social media marketing, Social Media Social Brand Visibility, social network, twitter Cancel Reply [...]

Post A Comment

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *