Back in the day, Â we used to say that cash was king. That’s the thinking that led me to my dream of mastering my personal finances. But I’m starting to wonder if cash has been toppled by Tweets, of all things.
Have you guys heard of Pay With A Tweet? This is a newish service where you can sign up to “sell” a product in return for a Tweet.
The people who founded Pay With A Tweet stumbled over the idea when they wrote a book on how traditional advertising executives could catch up with modern social media marketing and advertising techniques. Instead of selling the book for dollars through traditional channels, they decided to see if they could help it go viral by selling it for a Tweet.
Astoundingly, within just a few days their server crashed twice due to the high volume of people taking them up on the offer. Shortly thereafter, the book was the third most trending topic on Twitter worldwide. In the course of a year or so, they’ve “sold” 170,000 copies of their book.
Why, just today, when I found out about this story, I bought a copy myself, and paid with a Tweet. Then I signed up for Pay With a Tweet and have already started writing my product to sell.
A year ago, if I’d heard about someone selling their work for a Tweet, I would have thought it foolish. You can’t buy groceries with Tweets, can you? Will the bank take Tweets for the mortgage payment? Is the car going to run on a steady diet of Tweets in place of gas? I simply would not have gotten it.
Today I get it. A Tweet is actually more valuable than a dollar, because it’s a personal endorsement.
Let us just pause to let that sink in. A 140-character Tweet has more value than a dollar. Can you imagine?
Think about it. Handing over a dollar for a pack of gum, for example, Â is a fairly mindless exchange. There’s not a lot riding on it for either the buyer or the seller.
For the buyer, if the gum is stale, or the flavor is icky, so be it – suffer a moment’s aggravation and chuck it in the nearest trash can. Chalk it up as a brand you won’t buy again. There are at least a hundred others from which to choose.
For the seller, every buyer is just a sale. There’s no face or name or preference attached. Sales volume is more important than the individual sale.
But imagine if Wrigley’s tells you they’ll give you a pack of gum if you Tweet your friends about it.
Suddenly, you, the buyer, start to think about whether you like it enough to recommend it. The exchange becomes significantly more mindful. Now YOUR reputation is riding on it. You are, in effect, becoming a partner with Wrigley’s. That’s way more valuable than a dollar.
At the same time, Wrigley’s, the seller, Â has to be more mindful about how to make you happy. They’re going to start wondering what flavors you’d like, and if you want one of those peculiar juice-squirting gums, or a shape-shifting gum that morphs from mint to strawberry and back again, or a vintage gum like Black Jack, or whatever. Every individual sale is critical because that’s what creates the word of mouth, and word of mouth creates the volume.
The upshot? There’s much more relationship riding on paying with a Tweet than there is on paying with a dollar.Â Pay with a dollar and you’re one of a mass of faceless consumers. Pay with a Tweet and you’re an advocate.
Here’s something else. I’ll bet that we’ll be careful buyers when we pay with Tweets, because our personal reputations are at stake.
No one’s reputation is limitless.
Remember when your parents used to tell you that to keep you from hanging out with the trashy kids in detention hall? They were right. Hang out with the trashy kids long enough, and you start looking trashy yourself. Similarly, steer enough people wrong on chewing gum enough times, and they’ll start thinking you’re just selling your soul for a stick of gum. They’ll stop taking you seriously. They might even unfriend you.
That’s when you run out of Tweet power. And running out of Tweet power could almost be worse than running out of cash.Â Cash can be replenished. Reputation, not so much.
By now you’ve realized the exchange of goods for endorsement is not a new thing. What’s different is that it used to be restricted to celebrities.
- Catherine Zeta Jones and T-Mobile. (Wow, if it looks that good on her, imagine what it will do for me!)
- James Beard and Pillsbury canned biscuits. (Hey, if a famous cookbook author is using the Dough Boy, then what am I doing cutting butter into flour?)
- 49ers football coach Bill Walsh and laser eye surgery. (Check out that piercing blue gaze. Can I get that with laser surgery?)
In the new economy, celebrities are not the influencers. Regular people like us are the influencers. We matter, and our opinions matter.
What a concept. I may need to shift my dream from mastering my personal finances to mastering my personal influence.
How about you, World of Dreamers? Does your personal influence buy you anything?
Jayne Speich is a small business coach/consultant who writes, thinks, and coaches extensively on customer service, business finance, and ways to thrive in the new economy. She has an exciting new business venture with sister dreamerÂ Remy Gervais, calledÂ The Gazelle Goal. She is the owner ofÂ Onsys21 Dental, a coaching/consulting firm for dental practice owners. Plus, you can find her atÂ theselfreliantentrepreneur.com. Jayne’s post day is Saturday.