An Open Letter to Twitter - A Monetization Idea

Dear Twitter Creators,

First, I want to thank you for creating the most powerful communication and marketing tool ever invented.

I really believe this. Look at what is happening in Iran at this very moment. Protestors of their stolen election are getting the word out - despite the government’s efforts to block them - by using Twitter and other social media platforms.

Also look at the skillful use of social media by the Obama campaign. Love him or hate him, his team used social media masterfully to move a country, one tweet at a time.

However, it is in the area of marketing that your invention really shines. As long as a marketer adopts a content marketing approach in which providing free, quality information is the magnet to attract clients, no other tool comes close.

But my big concern is that Twitter needs to become profitable in order to succeed long term. From what I’ve read, you have not come upon a legitimate way to monetize your creation. Nevertheless, I for one am depending on you to turn a profit.

I want Twitter to succeed and prosper so that it can continue to exist and remain viable on the world’s stage.

So here is my suggestion (and I hasten to add that if someone has already thought of this before me, I will gladly cede credit).

All of us who use Twitter must “pay our way.” This does not mean you should charge a subscription fee to join or use Twitter. Instead, I think you should continue to offer it without charge.

But we users can still “pay our way” by agreeing to receive one commercial tweet per hour.

Change your terms of use agreement to require us to receive a commercial tweet each hour. Give us a checklist of information when we sign up or agree to the new terms of use, that enables us to select what topics we are most interested in receiving tweets about. This would give your advertisers the ability to target us by our areas of interest.

I for one, would gladly receive one commecial tweet per hour if it meant helping Twitter achieve financial viability. This is even more true if these tweets target subjects I have a strong interest in.

Does this does not mean I want to be spammed by Twitter? Not at all. Ideally these tweets would provide links to helpful content.

For some offerings these links could be useful tips and ideas, or “news you can use.” Other offerings could link to white papers, case studies or other educational content. They could take on the form of advertorials or, better yet, blog posts that invite comments and trackback links.

These same blog posts could also offer RSS feeds so that if users find this content valuable, they could opt in to receive daily updates by subscription. This would make the service even more valuable for advertisers. As a single ad could create many blog subscribers.

Will this one-commercial-tweet-per-hour idea work? I don’t see why not. Smart advertisers are constantly looking for ways to get people to read their content anyway. This proposal would expand the reach of their content to every Twitter user in the world.

When integrated with a smart content marketing game plan, these hourly tweets could have a huge impact on any advertiser’s bottom line.

Well there you have it, my own simple solution to one of the most vexing problems of our day, “How to monetize Twitter so that it will continue to serve our needs.”

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions? I am happy to hear them from you. Let me know what you think.

If you like this article:

Join Me on LinkedIn

COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
Add to Onlywire
Add to Technorati Favorites


June 18, 2009 at 8:24 AM Ronald Widha said...

my first impression about your open letter:

June 18, 2009 at 10:27 AM Charles Brown said...

You make some very good points in your article. I'm not saying you are right or wrong, but I personally would rather receive one commercial tweet per hour than pay even $1 per month.

I guess it goes against my grain, especially after receiving it for free up till now.

Maybe my expectations are too lofty if I think advertisers will only link to quality, informative content instead of hype and in your face sales efforts.

But then again, many corporations are beginning to understand that social media marketing requires quality content. I personally like "news you can use" material when it is targeted to my interests.

But I agree, the jury is still out.

June 20, 2009 at 3:20 AM Mike said...

This is a great idea. I've purchased up to $20 million in advertising a year for an employer and the reason I like your idea it makes the media buy more measurable and interactive... the goal for all advertisers. Get a prospect interacting with your brand and you have a chance to sell to them.

June 20, 2009 at 7:36 AM Charles Brown said...

Thanks Mike. It's a win for advertizers, a win for Twitter, and if done right, could be a win for Twitter users as well.

I just hope advertizers will 1) target by interests, and 2) promote with quality, useful content that is not blatantly self serving.

June 20, 2009 at 7:53 AM Agi at A1A Ventures said...

Charles, You say, "How can I help you," but there is nothing that follows to show how I get your help. The social media blitz has our real estate company on over whelm, over drive. We know we need some help. With the current market conditions, the question is COST and can we spare the shekels to get the help we need?

June 20, 2009 at 8:30 AM Charles Brown said...

Agi, I'd be happy to help you. To you and any others, feel free to call me at 817-501-6892 Monday thru Friday.