Six months ago I signed up with Sponsored Tweets, a program that hooks advertisers up with people willing to talk about their product on Twitter in return for payment. I’d seen a segment on one of the morning TV shows about ways to make money online, and thought this sounded interesting.
How: You signup and specify some subject areas that you think will appeal to your followers (presumably, these are areas you tend to tweet about). [Note: you should already have a Twitter account and a decent number of followers.] Sponsored Tweets analyses your follower count and suggests an appropriate price per tweet (you are free to raise or lower this price with the understanding that if you ask too much you’ll probably get few offers). Sponsored Tweets then starts to send you offers that detail the link to which you would drive traffic and the suggested text of a tweet (which must be identified as being “Sponsored”). After you accrue a certain amount of credit you can withdraw the funds to your paypal account. In this respect, it’s very similar to most of the affiliate accounts offers by online retailers.
Was it worth it?
Based on the 1000-odd followers I had at the time, my suggested price per tweet was quite low. I didn’t feel it was worth my time fielding offer emails and logging in to evaluate the offers, so I upped my price significantly—significant in terms of the 300% change , not in terms of real money…). I’m sure I got fewer offers because of this.
Over the next 5 months, I was offered an opportunity to send a sponsored tweet about once every two weeks. I felt comfortable with the majority of these — usually they were well-known brands like Apple, Volvo and Quantas. I got a couple of interested questions about these sponsored tweets over time and didn’t see any exodus of followers. So, I’d have to conclude on this (very) limited sampling that people didn’t really object to them.
After six months I’m leaning towards calling time on my involvement with sponsored tweeting. The amount of time and effort required (probably only about one hour in total) is far less than that required to, say, write thoughtful book reviews in the hope of earning affiliate credit at indiebound.org or any of the online book retailers, but I don’t really want the distraction of having even a few more emails to respond to. Anyway, writing book reviews would be more fun for me –- not to mention would actually be building traffic for my blog, rather than risking turning people off my twitter feed/online presence.
At the end of the day, sponsored tweets seems like a potentially useful way to drive some short-term attention to your product, and it could earn somebody with an active online social life a small amount of money to offset hosting fees or the cable bill.
Mashable on Sponsored Tweets
Time magazine on Sponsored Tweets