Would you pay for tweets?


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I put this one in the “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” department!

Toyota has launched a pseudo social marketing tweet campaign “Toyota Shareathon” that might just be the wave of the future.

According to Lauren Indvik on Mashable, “The car manufacturer is rewarding those who purchase a new Toyota by January 3 with a $500 debit card for tweeting about it…When asked why Toyota was willing to reward purchasers so heavily for tweeting, Kimberley Gardiner, Toyota’s national digital marketing and social media manager, wrote: “We wanted to leverage social media to build incremental awareness of our annual Toyotathon sales event. We feel that $500 is a significant enough offer to stimulate consumer interest and generate strong buzz throughout the social space.”

I have been blessed to work with and international division of Toyota and certainly would have advised against this strategy.

For me, buying tweets seems to violate the core spirit of the social media experience and when word-of-mouth becomes bought and sold, I fear consumers will become resentful.  I wonder if the tweets will carry the disclaimer, “this is a paid advertisement?”

What you think, wise marketing or a risky move?

I say, give them something to talk about…. Don’t pay them to talk!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Michelli, Ph.D.
Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., an organizational consultant and the chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, authored The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the best-selling The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary.


  1. Wise marketing or a risky move? I’d say risky marketing if the there is a brand backlash like Wal-Mart’s 2006 blogging blunder when it paid bloggers to write nice things about the company without disclosing that was happening.

    But according to this post, Toyota did a good job managing the campaign. The $500 debit cards are limited to 250 per day and just for those buy and receive a new Toyota by Jan. 3. What’s not clear is what are the rules about Tweeting. The risk here seems to be whether there is a consumer backlash against unauthentic marketing.

    Here’s a recent list of social media blunders that show poorly designed social media campaigns can be quite costly: 10 Famous Social Media Blunders of 2010. Let’s hope Toyota doesn’t make a list like this!

  2. Amen Bob. Authenticity a key to the social media. Love your work, thanks for all your authentic support. Joseph


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