21 January 2012

When is a Re-Tweet Advertising?

It's inevitable that once you reach a certain level in social media circles you're going to get re-tweet requests.  After all that is the draw of the medium, it's viral, WOM (word of mouth) nature.  Now I am not referring to those posts in our feeds with a "please RT" in them.  No, what I am referring to are Direct Messages (DM) by those we follow, and that follow us requesting an RT.

Now this is just part of the game we play to leverage the power of social media.  Honestly, 99% of the time I don't mind and will honor the request.  That is provided that one; that person has returned the favor on occasion, and 2; that I find value in what is being asked to be re-tweeted.  So why am I writing about this, and raising the question you ask?

The answer is this.  The other day I was asked to re-tweet something via Direct Message.  Nothing strange there.  Was it something that I agreed with?  Yes it was.  So where is this going?  The kicker is that the request came from a branded Twitter account.

Here's the thing, when you've been around social media as long as I have you tend to become acquainted with the folks running the accounts for organizations.  Now this person is PAID to develop relationships for that organization, and use social media to achieve the organizations mission what ever that may be.  I don't have a problem with that.

Where the topic of this post comes in is that when you reach out via direct message to ask me or anyone else to re-tweet something via your organization that is advertising.  You are no longer engaging in the organic, viral nature of social media where someone saw your content and shared it because they liked it.  You are now engaging in traditional push marketing via a perceived thought leader or person of influence, and asking them to use their influence without compensation to spread your marketing message.

As of this post I have not re-tweeted what was requested.  Nor do I have an answer as to what compensation structure would be appropriate for such a request.  My thoughts lean towards a traditional CPM model as the last time I checked the impressions of my Twitter handle on Tweetreach.com it generates about 231,000 impressions.  If I use that number as a benchmark and ask for say $500 to re-tweet for your brand that's a CPM of about $0.0022.

Now this is purely hypothetical of course, and for all you math nerds out there yes I know that formula is flawed.  I'm just spit balling here, to start the conversation as it's one I think should be had.  I liken it to the development of pay-for-post in the blogging world.  Which can be very lucrative for niche' bloggers with a solid Alexa rank.  Of which I'm sure I am not, at least not as of this post.

Comments are welcome and encouraged.  Let me know what you think please?

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