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So, why would you want to do a sponsored message? Well, it gives you instant reach. You can find someone famous or another well-followed online property and they can say whatever you want them to say. You can do this via Fiverr.com. You can pay $5 to get 10,000 people or more on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and other places to say your branded message. You can do it on SponsoredTweets.com, or you can actually use agents for the celebrities or just contact them direct to ask them to say your message for a fee. This will cost you anywhere from five dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on how popular the person is.
But the problem is that Twitter has already spoken out against sponsored messages. And also, the people on Fiverr.com can sometimes be accounts that have spammed their way to a lot of followers who are really not engaged with that person and don’t care what they have to say whether it be a branded message or not.
The other thing is that every branded message must say it’s been sponsored, which means straight away your branded message has less value than if it was a natural recommendation from that person. From an advertising point of view, of course, this makes everything nice and legal and ethical. But there was a problem with this recently when Snickers sponsored Katie Price to say a few tweets that were different to what she would normally say, and they didn’t carry the sponsored message. It was only on the final tweet that it said “sponsored,” and it was revealed why she had said the things she said. The problem with that is that Snickers didn’t disclose that every tweet was sponsored, and every tweet was sponsored as part of the campaign. So if one of those tweets got re-tweeted in isolation or people didn’t see the last message, they were unaware it was a sponsored campaign, which has landed Snickers in some hot water, and there are discussions of legal issues that could come down on them because of that.
Other problems are that sponsorship is nothing new. And when you see Tiger Woods go onto the golf course wearing a Nike cap or another brand, it’s quite a neutral form of advertising. If he went onto the golf course and said, “Everybody go buy Nike,” it wouldn’t have the same brand recollection and it may even damage the brand. The problem is that sponsored messages are that. They are a person shouting, “Do this! Buy this! Use this brand! Because I was told to say it” and it’s very obvious that they were paid to say it too.
What’s the alternate to sponsored messages? Well, it takes hard work, but it will cost you less in the long run and you will have a great community of people that you can deliver messages to on a frequent basis. The way to do it is to create your own social profiles on those websites, to find people who are interested in your brand, and to have conversations with them. This may only result in you having a hundred followers, but wouldn’t you rather have a hundred people who love your brand than a message that goes out to a thousand people who really couldn’t care less and who don’t want to see that specific message? If anything, it could frustrate them because they’ve seen your message and they didn’t want to and they didn’t ask for it. I mean, that’s why we’ve all got Sky+ or TiVo and we fast forward adverts now, because we just want to get to the good stuff. We want to get to the show. We don’t want to watch the ad. That’s why subtle things, like product placement and building your own brand, are becoming much stronger ways of spreading your message.
So that’s how you can do sponsored messages. If you choose to do them, these are the sites that tend to work okay. But realistically, building your own community is a far, far better option.
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