I don’t have anything against the idea of sponsored tweets. I suppose it’s like anything else… A blogger making money off of his/her blog by selling ad space per say. If you’re working hard at developing your following and building influence within your network, I don’t think that there’s necessarily anything wrong with you trying to monetize that. What it boils down to in my opinion is the level of transparency one undertakes in disclosing such a relationship. In fact, Darren Rowse said it pretty well in his post on Twitip titled:
To quote Darren Rowse:
I personally believe that three elements probably should come into play when considering whether you run a particular ad on your account. The first is perhaps more about ethics than the other two which are for me just good business sense and about delivering value to my followers:
If you’re being paid to tweet, disclose it. How you clearly do it in 140 characters can be challenging but it can be done ranging from ‘Sponsored Tweet’ in the tweet to ‘#ad’. I suspect we’ll see some widely accepted practices emerge around this in the coming year.
I was asked a while back to run an ad in my twitter stream for running shoes – the payout for a single tweet was over $1000. I refused in the same way I would refuse to run the same ad if someone wanted me to run it on my blog. My blog and twitter stream are on the topic of social media and blogging – not shoes or running. While I do stray off topic from time to time on Twitter (and my followers forgive me for doing so) – receiving money for a tweet that is totally irrelevant to my topic will probably not go down well with my followers.
I’m not sure it’d deliver much value to an advertiser either to promote an irrelevant ad (although I see my fair share of them on TV).
Related to this I’d probably also be wanting to only do sponsored tweets that are legitimate and not scammy products or services. Really it comes down to keeping on topic and being useful to followers.
I’ve run three disclosed and relevant advertising tweets on my @problogger Twitter account in 2 years (one through ad.ly and another two were sold directly). In that time I’ve tweeted 15,330 times. I don’t think I’m in danger of letting my Tweet stream become overrun by paid tweets. However if twitter advertising does take off I could see the temptation for some Twitter users to let their streams become overrun by sponsored Tweets.
In the same way that I refrain for letting all of the real estate on my blog above the fold get overrun with advertising (pushing the content down under the fold) I would want to let ‘content’ and being useful be the primary thing that I do on my Twitter account.
Personally, I think that sponsored tweets could be (and perhaps should be) disclosed using something like CMP.LY. That’s why the Founders behind cmp.ly (Tom Chernaik & Kris Smith) created the network, as a way to push transparency in social media and digital communications. To agree with Darren’s points on “Relevancy” and “Frequency”, if a person were to venture way off topic from what they usually tweet about or if they constantly do nothing but tweet advertisements, it’s easy for me to hit the “Unfollow” button. So if you want to run sponsored tweets on your Twitter Account, by all means go right ahead. I just caution you to do so in moderation because you run the risk of losing followers and losing influence if all you do is bombard your followers with ads.
Would I tweet if somebody paid me to? Again, I think that boils down to relevancy. If it’s relevant to what I do and what I talk about I suppose the chances are that I might very well consider it. In fact, you might say that I’ve done it through the various events that I’ve participated in in the past. Like REBlogworld for example. Though I wasn’t paid to tweet for the event, I was part of the team that contributed to the events success. Furthermore my company designed the event site for REBlogworld. So although I wasn’t paid to tweet for the event, I certainly did tweet about it at every opportunity with the intent of driving traffic/registrations. But again, it’s relevant to what I do and tweet because speaking at events is part of my profession. It’s relevant (as it should be).
What do you think?