Singer Ray J urged his 600,000-plus Twitter followers to see the horror movie “Saw 3D.” Football star Terrell Owens gave a shout-out in front of his more than 1 million followers to a hotel chain giving away sports tickets: “Comfort Inn is hooking up 3 days of it!” Lamar Odom, L.A. Lakers forward, tweeted to his nearly 2 million followers about hip-hop artist and entrepreneur Jay-Z’s book “Decoded”: “My man Jay-Z … only rapper to rewrite history without a pen. Until now.”
Of course, anything on Twitter is short-lived and reaches only a small, self-selecting audience: Research firm eMarketer estimates that only 11 percent of U.S. adult Internet users are on the micro-blogging site. And even though some celebs have faithful groups of followers, it can be hard to measure whether their tweets lead people to spend.
Still, celeb tweets can be a way to grab an audience at a time when many people skip TV commercials using their digital video recorders. And paying a celeb to tweet is much cheaper than a traditional advertising campaign. Want a tweet from Khloe Kardashian? That will cost about $8,000, according to prices listed by social media marketer Izea. Looking for a cheaper option? Ray J is about $2,300.
Companies like Izea, Ad.ly and twtMob usually pair products with celebs through a combination of software algorithms and Hollywood instinct. The companies say they use many metrics to gauge the effectiveness of a paid tweet, such as the number of times it gets reposted by others.