Do You Get Paid for Twitter Parties?

Love 'em or hate 'em, Twitter parties are here to stay. Twitter parties are hard and fast online gatherings centered around a certain topic or, less desirably, a product. Throughout the 1-2 hour event questions are asked and answered at a rapid pace; chatter and enthusiasm run high in part due to sponsored prizes that are awarded throughout the party.

They can be fun, but I'm not a huge fan of these parties on a personal level. That said, I think Twitter parties can effectively generate awareness for a new product or brand and drive traffic to a site. I've only worked on a handful of these with clients, but to date the clients have all been satisfied with the results and learned a lot in the process.

The last time I worked on a Twitter party for a client, I arranged for a lead panelist and three supporting panelists. Each of these women was paid. They received a stipend for their time and efforts participating in and publicizing the event.

These days (nights), many social media moms lead Twitter parties. In the Social Media Moms and Money Survey, we asked how much people get paid for hosting Twitter parties. You can see a summary of the survey and the deck from our Advanced Monetization panel at Blissdom thanks to Esther and Sommer.

Individual responses ranged from "You couldn't pay me enough to host one of those" to "$50/hour," to "From $1,500 up to $10K" (that latter response from a single participant).

The average fee was around $550, but it seems to me there are two tiers of hosts- one in the $150 - $500 range, and a more elite group in the $1.5 - $3K range. (Based on our admittedly unscientific sampling, I'm tossing out the $10K number as an outlier. Math is more fun when you make up the rules!)

This leaves me with a few questions.

In my experience, a Twitter party involves several hours of planning in terms of client discussion and prep prior to as well as a debriefing after the event. There's also time spent arranging for and coordinating panelists, publicizing the event, and, of course, time involved in the party itself. Natch, any professional hostess will arrive a few minutes early and stick around a few minutes after. Oh, and let's not forget that it takes time to coordinate prize fulfillment, pull together a transcript and an statistical summary of the party.

Let's say this all takes a minimum of four hours all told (a very conservative estimate, IMO). At $150 a party, that doesn't leave a lot of take home pay, especially if you are passing along Uncle Sam his due.

So bloggers, one question that strikes me is that if you are really bringing it for a Twitter party, why on Earth would you charge so little?

The other question is: are panelists typically compensated? It seems that for a "lower tier" party, there's more love and appreciation than money to go around.

I get it. Though I hear sometimes even basic thank-yous are in short supply.

But for those parties in the more elite $1.5 - $10K tier, I'd think at least a token amount for the panelists' time (not to mention the fact that those women, chosen, no doubt for their experience, professionalism and, possibly their clout, er, Klout) would be standard in the momosphere at this point.

But I'm not sure it is. In your experience, what are the current standards and expectations?

My intent is not for you to call out specific individuals or organizations in the comments. Rather, my aim is to encourage open dialogue about payment expectations and standards in our space- something many bloggers say they want.

If you don't want to comment publicly, you can always email me money (at) moldofsky (dot) com and I'll summarize responses. You can also choose to comment anonymously.

Note: I differentiate Twitter parties from Twitter chats. Chats consists of established, but open, groups that gather on Twitter at a specific time each week and tend to be more content focused, examples include #JournChat, #gtchat (for those who work with or raise gifted/talented children), fitness chats, Latina blogger chats and dozens (hundreds?) of other topics. IMO, established chats are fertile ground for a thoughtfully matched sponsors.
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