Paid to Tweet – How Much Should You Charge?

on May 19, 2009 in Freelance Writing Business
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A reader asked a great question today (great, in light of the recent discussions elsewhere on the merits of ghosttweeting and paid tweeting). She wanted to know how much she should charge to post updates to Twitter for a client.

I honestly didn't have an answer. There isn't exactly a long history to fall back on, and it could depend heavily on a number of factors (like how many updates, whether they're quick thoughts or would involve a lot of time link-hunting, etc.). So for the sake of "getting with the times," let me pose that question to all of you instead. How much would you charge someone to write updates for their Twitter account?

If you think about it, length alone doesn't mean much. Sure, it's only 140 characters per tweet. But is that more marketing copy (think of the hundreds or thousands of dollars you might be paid for writing a short ad slogan), or is it more in line with forum posting (notorious for pay of $.05 - .20 per post)? If you normally charged a penny per word, is that what you'd go with? What if you normally charged closer to $1.00 per word? Would you charge per word, per tweet, or maybe even per character?

So if we have any paid tweeters out there in freelance writing land this morning, share your thoughts. How do you charge, and how much do you charge?

Thanks for sharing!
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.

12 Comments

  1. Ed May 19, 2009 Reply

    Tweeting has become a recent request of writers. I tend to go with a flat fee based on how many “tweets” and the time required. Although only 140 characters, Twittering can be viewed as short-form writing.

  2. Trisha Bartle May 19, 2009 Reply

    I would probably charge a flat fee as well. For example, if they wanted 10 tweets every week day, I would charge 150 dollars per week.

    That’s just an estimate, though. ;)

  3. Kathryn May 19, 2009 Reply

    I tend to approach all of my freelance writing work with a ballpark hourly figure in mind. That applies to my work on Twitter as well. I guesstimate how long the work is going to take each week and charge a flat hourly rate for that amount. If there’s time left over at the end of the week for what I’ve charged then I use that time to try to gain new followers for the client. For example, if I’ve charged for 3 hours of work but I only spent 2 hours Twittering during the week then I’ll use the extra hour on Friday to seek out relevant new people to follow, etc. This seems to work for clients.

  4. Dana May 20, 2009 Reply

    I’ve recently started offering writing packages that include social bookmarking so I am wrapping it up in my price. I had one client project offer a few dollars per group of 5 links but it got difficult. Although you can spread it around through several social marketing services and multiple accounts, you don’t want to alienate any of your “followers” and be a spitter (spam-twitter-er).
    If I do have a client that I need to social bookmark for I make sure I’m still doing a low ratio of paid tweets/bookmarks vs. my regular activities.

  5. Utkarsh May 21, 2009 Reply

    As of now, I’m a complete newbie at this writing biz… so I’m not sure if this idea is feasible:

    Twitter is more about getting the message across in the least amount of words… so I guess I’d charge “inversely” proportional to the number of characters used. If I get the message across in one single character… $1500 :D if I get it across in 140, maybe $0.5 would be enough.

  6. Amanda Evans May 21, 2009 Reply

    Paid twittering is not something I have done as yet but I do agree with the other comments here that I would charge a flat fee for this sort of work. Social bookmarking services is not something I have thought about either, so thanks Dana for that one.

  7. Yolander Prinzel
    Yolander Prinzel May 23, 2009 Reply

    I add Twitter in to a package “social networking” deal and, as Kathryn said, determine the hourly cost involved. Because Twitter involves building relationships, interacting, and building a following, I find it impossible to charge per Tweet.

  8. PB May 28, 2009 Reply

    Tweeting has become a recent request of writers. I tend to go with a flat fee based on how many “tweets” and the time required. Although only 140 characters, Twittering can be viewed as short-form writing.

  9. Kelly July 9, 2009 Reply

    Interesting question. I would devote a certain amount of time to twittering for the client with some minimums for posting. Some posts should be informal and quick to write but you would also have to spend time finding new links to share and responding to @replies and direct messages. Plus you could also use the time to find new followers in the niche and decide who to follow back.

  10. MadelineHere April 30, 2010 Reply

    It’s important for those people thinking of hiring someone to do their tweets that the purpose of tweeting is the connection they are making with people, which should an end result of “marketing in the new Web 2.0 world.”

    You aren’t just slinging down a few words to get their name out. You should be providing relevant content to your followers. Which also includes showing the true “personality” of the company. People do not want to be sold. But they do want to buy from people (read companies) that they know and feel they trust. Tweeting, I believe, should be done by someone who is a marketer – brander first / a writer second. All of this can be very hard to accomplish over and over again in less than 141 characters – so bonus points should be given to someone who can do that effectively in this medium.

    You should really have an idea of what “bee hive marketing” is about for starters.

    That being said, I’ll ad that I believe tweeting should have goals – not based on just how many tweets you’ve done or how many hours you’ve tweeted. Using tools like Klout ( i.e. ) can help you achieve those goals. I do that a think that analytics should be involved and that a good “tweeter” will work hard to keep up with the best trends in tweeting.

    Google analytics should also be used to watch how much traffic to their websites is coming directly from twitter. A good social media plan will actually have other components like a Youtube channel which you maybe driving tweets to so that from the channel visitors will be driven to the website or perhaps a point of purchase.

    There are specific yardsticks that are used to decide if tweeting is being effective to your goal. These include – 1) your influence score 2) your score for ‘retweeting’ 3) how often you’re ‘retweeted’ 4) who follows you 5) who retweets you 6) velocity or how often do you update and (7) clout – how often are you referred to in other people’s tweets etc. Twitalyzer is another excellent free analytic tool. ( i.e. http://www.twitalyzer.com/trends.asp?u=madelinehere&q=Generosity )

    So how much to get paid? Well, consider you are not being paid for a few words; you are being paid to condense marketing and branding concepts into small distilled easy to digest – retweet – and hopefully viral – golden nuggets.

    Don’t short sell yourself or your compadres by saying you are just writing a few words. But at the same time – shame on the silly people who are paying someone to write less then 141 characters while not paying them to do analysis of their work. And for anyone who thinks this is easy or should be cheap. If it’s done well, the marketing/branding opportunity the employer is getting is a will still be a huge bargain.

    MadelineHere
    www.180DegreesStudio.com

    @MadelineHere
    @HorseNPony

    www.youtube.com/madelinehere

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