Social Commerce

Pay with a Tweet, Pay with a Like: New Social Payments Platforms

Head over to, and you’ll find an intriguing new social commerce model – where you can buy digital goods (music, software, ebooks, videos etc) and pay for them simply by tweeting them. It works like this; you simply click on the ‘Pay with a Tweet’ button, are asked to login to Twitter (or Facebook), edit the proposed tweet/wall message – and click the download button – whilst your message is syndicated across your social graph. Simple.

Pay with a Tweet is billed as a ‘social payments system’ designed to create viral buzz for content creators and marketers alike who want to promote themselves, their brand, product or service.

It’s an interesting model, and one that is set up and run out of Hamburg/New York by the creative duo at Innovative Thunder (@innothunder) – Leif Abraham and Christian Behrendt, of BestBuy’s much lauded Twitter-based Twelpforce fame (Pay with a Tweet app developer is John Tubert).

To launch the service, French electro pop band ‘The Teenagers‘ (breakthrough track “Homecoming” – a French tongue-in-cheek take on American sexuality), have released their new single “Made of” from their upcoming album exclusively with Pay with a Tweet (video below of the band wooing tweets).

And if electropop is not your thing – you can buy Innovative Thunder’s ebook on digital business for a Tweet (16,000 downloads on the first day).

The logic behind Pay with a Tweet is compelling; the same logic that has spawned a successful sub-industry in PR where editors, reviewers, celebrities and journalists are sent swag bags for free in return for (hopefully) positive words. Sometimes word of mouth – particularly at product launch – is worth more that the product itself.

Pay with a Tweet is free and simple to use; vendors create a Pay with a Tweet button using a simple form on the app’s site, entering their Twitter account, desired message to be re-tweeted, and the link to a digital download. Then just copy and paste the button code to the web, push the button – and let viral tweeting take over.

Pay with a Tweet is barebones, and feels like a beta version of something much bigger – we think this or a similar social payments model could evolve in to a powerful word of mouth marketing platform for brands, bands and content producers.  For example, Pay with a Tweet could be used to download not only promotional content, but also links/codes/coupons to exclusive promotions/previews/or even live events such as fashion shows.

Similarly, by auto-embedding the Pay with a Tweet buy button in a Google/Facebook ad – you could create a truly viral promotion. Another option would be to flip the process, so people do pay for digital downloads,  but are then reimbursed for a Wall/Twitter review that reaches x number of people.  (A simple mechanism could be added to the platform so if the review is negative it gets shuttled privately back to the sponsoring brand for ‘insight’ rather than shouted out on Twitter).  Likewise, by teaming up with a sampling company – Pay with a Tweet could offer a viral sampling service; Tweet and get the sample delivered to your door.

As Pay With a Tweet evolves, we think it’ll have to be beefed up to host digital downloads (with virus scanning) onsite, offer a decent analytics dashboard, and propose a premium paid-for service (perhaps where the promoted tweet can’t be edited so tweets go out ‘on-brand’).  Expect a Facebook ‘Pay with a Like’ service to appear soon (the service already uses the retired but not quite dead yet Facebook Connect).

In the meantime, Innovative Thunder suggest their fledgling social payments platform can be used by;

  • DJ’s: Sell your latest mix for a Tweet to promote your next show or just to bring more people to your website.
  • Other music artists: Sell your new single or music video for a Tweet in order to promote your new album or tour.
  • Journalists and Publishers: Sell your leading article for a Tweet to promote your magazine, newspaper or charged online service.
  • Authors: Sell a teaser version of your book with a Tweet to boost your sales.
  • Consumer Brands: Sell your latest commercial for a Tweet and make it go viral.
  • Creatives: Sell the access to your portfolio for a Tweet and increase your degree of popularity.
  • Business Professionals and Scientists: Sell your master thesis, study, paper or presentation for a Tweet and increase your popularity in your special field.
  • Service Provider: Sell a basic version of your service for a Tweet and bring more people to your website where they can learn about the benefits of your charged premium service.
  • Film Directors and Entertainment Companies: Sell the trailer for your upcoming movie for a Tweet and maximize the viral momentum of your marketing campaign.

We like.

The Teenagers Promoting their ‘Buy with a Tweet’ Track on YouTube

Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

19 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Do you think this will get to the point that platforms like facebook n twitter will have some features only for customers who access the paid version. 5000 tweets for $5 a month or 50 likes for $5 a month.

    Will the social media of the future have a premium paid segment?

  2. Me like, too!
    The idea is simple but great! I'll implement it to promote the portfolio of a photographer.
    Thanks for the insight!

    Best reagrds from Germany,

  3. So UGC (user generated content) is becoming a currency. It can work, but their isn't sufficient intrinsic value in a Tweet for many/most items, since they often have a much higher COGS or R&D effort than the value of the Tweet. At the end of the day, use an Income Statement to think about value:

    Less: COGS
    Less: SG&A (where SM value lives)
    = Operating Income

    So if:
    Revenue = $100
    COGS = $50
    SG&A = $10 (traditional promotion cost)
    Operating Income = $40

    Revenue = $0 (free with "pay for a Tweet)
    COGS = $50
    SG&A = $0 (b/c Tweets are "free" in exchange for the item)
    Operating Income = ($50)

    Of course, no one will "sell" a high COGS item for a Tweet, so this will only work for low/no COGS models where other downstream revenues will generate sufficient margin after the initial Pay for a Tweet effort.

    The danger is forgetting about the COGS and the end game P&L – otherwise we end up with the Tulip frenzy or bomb all over again. Let's not let that happen to Social – its potential is too valuable to screw it up with that kind of recklessness.

    1. Hi Mark, thanks for this thoughtful comment, and I whole-heartedly agree. I\’d see this service primarily as a viral digital \”tryvertising\”/\”sampling\” platform – to be used in much the same way as described by C Anderson in his Freemium model…

  4. Nice idea, well implemented, easy to use.

    But it all falls apart when the potential client is greeted with instructions to tweet “like hell”. OK, maybe the latest teen band doesn’t mind talking to their fans like that, but in most businesses, even young ones, people know better than to speak/write like that to people that are already their loyal fan-base or that they hope to turn into their loyal fan base.

    Innovative Thunder is 1 phrase short of a cross-over hit.

    1. Thanks Daniel – nice idea for free shipping for a tweet, we like it. Facebook is notorious for continually changing/upgrading and breaking widgets… Hopefully, they’ll upgrade it. Let us know how you get on. Cheers, Paul

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