Gini Dietrich

Is Paying People to Tweet About Your Brand Going Too Far?

By: Gini Dietrich | April 21, 2009 | 

My dear friend @SarahRobinson sent me an article today via direct message. I knew there was a reason she wanted me to read it, but I didn’t fully understand until I got 3/4 of the way through reading it.

Let me back up. The Ad Age article, “Land Rover Taps Twitter As Campaign Cornerstone” is a pretty interesting read. It talks about how they seeded hashtags (words used in tweets that make it easier to follow an ongoing conversation via online searches) “on billboards, taxi TVs, and other out-of-home venues; spreading word of the Twitter effort through auto-obsessed blogs and online publications eager for a peek at its latest bells and whistles; and paying a fledgling Twitter ad network to spread the word among its army of compensated, heavily followed Twitter users, all of whom wallpapered their Twitter profiles with Land Rover branding.”

Okay…interesting enough. Don’t know how I feel about Twitter users wallpapering their profiles with Land Rover branding, but I’ve seen it work for charities, such as 12for12K so I’m not really bothered by it.

AND THEN (enter ominous soundtrack)!!

I read that a company in Des Moines was hired, not for their Twitter expertise, but to pay its 4,500 Tweeters to post on topics and brand their profile pages.


“We were worried it would be considered spam, but we didn’t get a single complaint [about Land Rover],” Mr. Eliason said. “What that tells me is that our connectors have influence.”

Be very afraid this is going to be considered spam, Mr. Eliason. Be very afraid. Your connectors may have influence right now, but as soon as their followers learn they’re being paid to send a message, they will no longer be influential and will lose their following.

Am I wrong?? What do you think?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, the lead blogger at Spin Sucks, and the host of Spin Sucks the podcast. She also is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.