Internet users are not fond of paying for content. At least not if they have to put their hard-earned cash on the virtual table. They are far more generous with recommendations to friends on the social web.
Paying with the social network
This is precisely the basis of the concept behind the social payment system “Pay with a Tweet”.
Pay with a Tweet: social payment for businesses
Users pay for the content requested not with money but with a tweet, a post on the social network Twitter. In technical jargon this tactic is known as “Forced Viral”. If Internet users wish to access content, they must first inform their friends and acquaintances – usually packaged as a ready-made advertising message in the form of a tweet, and it only takes a few clicks. If the attention of virtual friends is drawn to the message and they wish to obtain the free content as well, then they too simply click on the tweet pay button and the advertising message is subsequently distributed quasi-virally across their network.
It is really as easy as in above video.
Micro-payments for good content
Nevertheless, they do still exist: Internet users who are willing to pay! For instance, with “Flattr”, a social micro-payment system, with which users can voluntarily pay small amounts for good content. It works like this: you register with Flattr and state an amount to be paid per month for web content – for example, five euros. Now you can click the Flattr button on blog posts, websites or Internet projects and distribute your five euros to the copyright owners of the content. Part of the monthly sum is paid to Flattr for the maintenance of this service, and the rest is divided up fairly: if the user rewards ten posts on the web, then the monthly sum is divided by 10. But if the Flattr button is only clicked three times, then the amount is only divided into three parts.
There is also a descriptive video for Flattr:
“Kachingle” is the sonorous name of another social payment service provider. Kachingle works in a similar way to Flattr: every month the user pays a fixed amount of five dollars and can distribute this using the Kachingle donation button. At the end of the month, the five dollars are divided by the number of clicks and then distributed (minus administration costs).
How social payment can help your business
And how do businesses benefit from this kind of payment? The advantages are invaluable: free advertising and a multiplication factor that is almost infinite! Every user who pays with a tweet automatically recommends the company and therefore launches viral circulation. In the case of Flattr and Kachingle, money even changes hands for the provision of high-quality content – this is a good opportunity for financing smaller-scale projects or an elaborate corporate blog.
To stimulate your creativity, here are a few ideas that describe what can be promoted particularly well via social payment systems:
- Sell whitepaper downloads on certain topics in exchange for a tweet. This pays off twofold: you will be recommended on social networks and also gain a good reputation as an expert on the subject.
- Have you published a reference book? How about a free chapter or the e-book edition as a download? You will be rewarded with lots of tweets and undoubtedly attract readers who will then buy the printed version of your book.
- Can you offer a special price or a discount? Then lower your price in exchange for a recommendation. This variant can also be included at the point of sale, as Twitter, Flattr & Co. also work on smart phones.
- Restaurants, cafés and pubs can offer their guests a free drink in exchange for a tweet or serve their new speciality.
- A high-quality corporate blog is an expensive undertaking. But part of the expense could be covered by including the Flattr button next to the blog posts.
- Although it might not be possible to fully finance new projects or product developments with micro-payments, initial start-up funding should be attainable.
- Are you unsure whether a concept is really marketable? Ask Flattr users for financial support and at the same time test what the world thinks about your project – because the Flattr users will only click the button if they think the idea is really good.
Enough inspiration for now? Or have you already used social payment systems yourself? Tell us about your experiences – we would also love to hear about your own projects that need support from the social web.