Who’s Really Paying with a Tweet?
A few weeks ago after making an online purchase I was given the option to post to Facebook what I have just bought, so I did it. It made me realise two things, the first being that social media really has invaded the ecommerce world -there’s literally nothing we can’t ‘like’ or ‘tweet’ about. The second thing I realised was I had just gone public with the fact I just bought Lionel Richie’s latest album.
We have more and more intelligent social media applications integrating into our online shops every month. One day soon the list of AddThis buttons on your product page will look like a web designers iMac dock.
Pay With a Tweet
At the top of the social media tree is without doubt Twitter, and the folks at Pay with a Tweet have come up with a concept which, marketing-wise, makes a lot of sense, but you have to question its impact on the Twitter community. From a commercial point of view, you may be sacrificing the opportunity to sell something for actual money, but your tweet payments could reach literally thousands of people within a few seconds. Anyone who regularly uses Twitter will know that hot tweets can spread like wildfire. People love a freebie, and most will pay the price of a generic tweet to get something for free.
On the other hand, it is turning Twitter into something that the majority of its userbase will not be happy to embrace. It turns Twitter into nothing more than a marketing machine. Unless you’re specifically following a business where you’d expect to hear about offers and promotions on a daily basis, the rest of the people you’re following will be actual human beings with thoughts, opinions and ideas. As soon as your timeline turns into a succession of ‘Look what I’ve just downloaded’ messages, users will soon grow tired of what is essentially spam. Anyone with a Gmail/Yahoo mail account over 3 years old will know what I mean…
What is the future of social media and ecommerce?
If we go back to my opening line, we should perhaps come to accept that this is the way ecommerce and social media is going. They are no longer separate entities – they feed each other like App Companies feed the iPhone and vice versa. It will be a matter of time before this concept invades Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to buy a song by liking an Instagram photo. If you like seeing close-ups of people’s dinner through a blur and light filter you’re in luck!
If done properly this could be huge. It already exists in other areas of business and marketing. Event organisers will always give out free stuff as long as the attendees walk out with flashy carrier bags branding their logo. Walking around the shops, you’ll always know when there’s a new Argos catalogue out.
I asked a question the other day – Imagine if you sold your downloadable item for $1 a time and got 10,000 downloads. Would you rather have $10,000 or 10,000 tweets? While the $10,000 is a great short-term gain, the exposure you could get as a business from 10,000+ visitors to your website would likely be much more valuable in the long run. The question is though, are you giving your users a good enough reason to be on your site?
Twitter vs SEO
There’s a chance that this could come full circle just like SEO. What was once an industry focused on quantity, is now focused on quality. The content on your website is more powerful than hundreds of pages with hundreds of links. Ultimately if you have something good to download then people will Tweet about it, and they’ll tweet it with more personality than a strapline could ever produce. That is what drives successful Twitter marketing. That’s what makes people take notice and give them the impetus to share with their friends.
I’ll be interested to see where this goes, and I wonder how long it will be before this type of concept crosses into Magento’s waters. I don’t want to write it off as spam before it has even got going, but I equally don’t want to see Twitter become a timeline version of CNET Downloads. Thanks for reading!