Go Viral with Pay With a Tweet

The biggest problem that faces anyone trying to make a name for themselves, their band, book or company is gaining quality exposure. You could have the best idea in the world, but without a great marketing department capable of generating word of mouth discussion, it’s likely to stagnate and die.

What’s more, most digital products (software, books, music, etc.) are available for free online. This takes the wind out of the sails of most would-be musicians, artists and authors. What’s needed is a new payment model that works with this trend, instead of the conventional ‘pay and receive’.

Pay with a Tweet have solved both of these problems. It does pretty much what it says on the can and on the face of things it seems like a cop-out for artists. But frankly, for the clever entrepreneur it’s anything but. It’s finally a way to make paying forward a real part of business.

Creating Your ‘Pay With a Tweet’ Button

First off, I’ll take you through the relatively simple steps of creating your ‘Pay with a Tweet’ button. Think of this button as the alternative to the ‘Add to Cart’ one normally used on ecommerce websites.

Head over to their website and select ‘Create a Pay Button’. A form will appear with most of the fields being pretty elementary; your name, email address and things to that effect.


Create a 'Pay with a Tweet' button in seconds

Multiple buttons to choose from

The forth entry field requires the file’s location on your web server. This is where the file is stored on your server and the address your browser follows when it’s being downloaded (Eg. http://www.mysite.com/freestuff/books/my_ebook.pdf).

Next, type up a small message which will form the tweet the person will send to their followers before they can download your file. Make it something non-SPAM like as I think most people these days will instantly glaze over it.

Here are two examples for a personal finance eBook which illustrate my point:

Friendly comment trumps SPAM every time

Friendly comment trumps SPAM every time

You can tell which one is good, and which one isn’t. The basic rule to remember is that this tweet will be relayed to someone friends, family and co-workers. A friendly recommendation in a nice manner works a lot better than SPAM.

Also, remember that the link you post in your tweet should not be a link to the file, as this will bypass the payment method. Instead, it should be a shortlink to your website where they can then purchase your product for the price of a tweet.

Once this is all finished select ‘Create button’.

The next page shows you the various style of button available to you. Under each button there is unique HTML coding which you copy and paste onto your website. There is also a direct download link. Now your button is available for people to pay with a tweet.

Multiple Buttons to choose from for Facebook and Twitter

Multiple Buttons to choose from for Facebook and Twitter

When they do click on your pay with a tweet button, a pop-up will launch where they can edit your original message if they choose to do so. The link to your web page will also be present but it cannot be removed from the tweet. If users do not have a twitter account, or you simply wish to vary their options, there’s a button that can allow them to make a Facebook post by way of payment instead, as you can see in the screenshot above.

A Question of Marketing

As you can tell from the above, the practicalities of ‘Pay with a Tweet’ are fairly simple. That’s the idea. The thinking behind implementing it successfully however are a little more complex and must be given some thought.

First off, decide what it is your selling and how much of it you want to sell for free, all or a preview. In the end, you’ll have to figure out what will work best with your audience and what your motivations are for releasing the product.

If you’d like to gain exposure and not a profit, then a full free release is the order of the day. If you want to earn money from the venture, then a preview file might be best.

Creates a viral domino effect

Creates a viral domino effect

Money can still be made via a full release however. In 2007 Radiohead released a new album entitled In Rainbows for free on their website. They then invited users to pay whatever they thought it was worth, if anything at all. Almost nobody paid full price yet the album held a high position in the charts for months, and having cut out greedy producers and distributors from the mix, Radiohead made good money off the album. So, it stands to reason that even if you release your song, book or software for free and offer a method for the user to pay what they feel it’s worth having used it for a while, you’ll come away better off than if it had been pirated or not sold at all due to lack of promotion.

An ‘upsell’ is also possible with this model. Releasing the full product for free, but charging extra for other related updates, ad-ons or services could spread your message far and wide for free as well as generate future sales.

The overall thinking behind Pay with a Tweet is that on-line distribution is more about sharing than the traditional model of pay and you shall receive. Share something for free and many will try it out. If you’re as good as you say you are, around one tenth of those users will come back and throw you a few bucks for your trouble, then you’ll have made more money at the end of the day than a traditional release.

Pay with a tweet can also be used to pay for physical products. A QR code is displayed at the bottom of the page underneath all the button HTML codes. This can printed out and used in your business so customers can pay with a tweet. They list several companies currently using their service, such as a German hotel which allows customer to pay for a beer at the bar with a tweet.

If done correctly, and more importantly if what your offering is any good, then your marketing efforts should take on a viral type of multiplication. When the creators of Pay with a Tweet launched their eBook it quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, despite the fact the World Cup was in full swing.

Overall, the service is innovative and easy to use and offers an innovative platform on which to base an entire marketing plan for your product or service.