Social Media Cash Over Credibility

We sometimes get asked how much we get paid for an Instagram pic or a Tweet and the answer is we never get paid for such things. Our Twitter and Instagram posts are always about what we like and hate really. It is a personal place where we share our thoughts and moments in our lives.

I have just watched recently a report on Al-Arabiya regarding the amounts paid by parliament candidates that reached up to 30,000 KD for a few tweets. From what I have on Twitter from celebs I have noticed that many of them have been tweeting sayings and quotes from different candidates till the last hour of the voting time.

It got me wondering, would you tweet about a person who isn’t good just because he paid you 30,000 KD? Yes this is a big amount but what is really important? your pay? or how honest you are?

Personally when I voted I ignored all the promoted tweets by candidates and everyone who mentioned who to vote for. I lost the trust in many people on Twitter during elections and I might even lose the trust over their review of a burger joint now.

My point is when I know that the tweet is paid for my idea of that tweet changes. While I was not informed that this is a paid tweet, I would feel “safer” as I trust the person I am following for a reason. However let that person tell me it is promoted, and I will know that this is not from the heart.

See there are two different promotions and ads. A service add where you promote the service or product of the company. Or brand promotion (promoting an event, TV ad, etc). The first type is essential when it comes to credibility because you might be promoting something you do not know if it is good or not. Your trust level might fall if the product or service fails with customers who listened to you.

Twitter has made a clear way to tell the users about promoted tweets. Why? Ethics first, honesty second. Yes, ethically the user, customer, follower what ever you call them should know what to trust and who to trust.

I understand the business, Twitter (with a few thousand followers) can be easy money (and easy ads for companies). Big celebrities around the world are paid in thousands for one tweet only. However, they are not paid behind hidden doors. Their figures are publicly known and such agreements should be fully disclosed as seen in this FTC rule:

“When there exists a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product that
might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement (i.e., the connection is not
reasonably expected by the audience), such connection must be fully disclosed”

I really don’t know if we have such laws in Kuwait and I really don’t know if ethics are really important here. However it’s a basic business rule I guess.

So to make it clear, if we ever get paid for a tweet or Instagram, most probably we will actually mention it. We care about our credibility and we hate it when someone tries something we had a positive review about and has a different experience.

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  1. I don’t mind of someone wants to post a commercial or endorsement tweetinstagram, provided they disclose that it’s paid. Honesty is key in gaining people’s trust. And like you aid, when I read a post or tweet, I want to believe that it’s really just the personal opinion of the writer. When they start posting stuff because they’re paid for it, and don’t tell readers or followers; then it makes you sit back and analyze the credibility and character of that person.


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