Social media can be a great PR tool, but the way some companies use it doesn’t seem right to me. I recently read a post on a blog called The PR Practitioner titled “Companies pay you to talk and tweet about them.” Before I even read any further, I was appalled. It’s one thing to create a Twitter and Facebook account on behalf of your company, but it is another (much less respectable) thing to pay others to use social media for you. To me, it seems like misleading PR.
As I read the blog post, I learned that celebrities like Kim Kardashian have been paid $10,000 for posting a single Tweet about a company. Other people, not just celebrities, can also get paid for doing the same (although probably much, much less than $10,000) by visiting sites like PayPerTweet.com and PayPerPost.com.
The blogger said it’s great that people can make easy money doing this, but at the same time, it’s completely wrong because their tweets and blog posts would then lack authenticity. I completely agree, but I would also take it a step further. I would argue that anyone who posts about a company or product could then be questioned about whether it was authentic or not. I know I will be skeptical about it from now on. How will I ever know if they got paid for recommending something? How can I ever trust that it’s a real opinion? I doubt that it is required to include that you were paid to post, especially on Twitter, since they wouldn’t want to waste any of the 140 characters, and another disclosure post would cost an extra $10,000!
This whole thing really upset me. It just seemed like a sorry excuse for PR at first, but then I started thinking about it some more… Is it really that different from paying celebrities to wear a certain clothing brand or to star in a commercial? I suppose it’s not, but yet I still have a problem with being paid to tweet more so than being paid in advertising. What do you think?