It pays to be on Twitter…literally

Posted: May 16, 2011 in Marketing, PR, Social Media, Strikeforce, UFC

Unlike other sports organizations that caution or fine its players for using Twitter, the UFC continues to incentivize its fighters to take advantage of social media channels. Last week at the UFC Fighter Summit UFC president Dana White announced that fighters will receive bonuses for adding Twitter followers and writing creative tweets.  That’s right, now on top of KO of the night, Sub of the Night and Fight of the Night fighters can look forward to cashing in on the Top Twitter status.  Now you’re probably thinking, what does this revolve around – most followers, best comment, most retweets – it could be anything.

According to a variety of blog posts coming out of the Summit, here is how the new Twitter bonus initiative will supposedly work:

Starting June 1, Zuffa fighters (UFC and Strikeforce) will be divided into four categories, based on how many Twitter followers they currently have. At the end of each quarter, three fighters from each category will be awarded a $5,000 bonus. The three winners will be based on who has gained the most followers since the start of the quarter, who gained the highest percentage of new followers and who wrote the most creative tweets. White – of course – will be the judge of the last category. At the conclusion of a full calendar year, the UFC could end up paying $240,000 a year to its fighters for their Twitter usage!

The majority of the 350 fighters contracted to Zuffa were present at the UFC Fighter Summit, so you know this bonus is now on their radar.  (Seminars on Zuffa’s new insurance coverage, taxes, gambling fighter safety and, of course, social media were held during this event.)

I’m not sure how I feel about this bonus system.  On the one hand, I love that the UFC continues to promote and reward its fighters for using social tools like Twitter.  On the other hand, I wonder if the quality of the engagement will suffer based on fighters simply looking for the financial angle.   If the interaction feels forced or fake it loses its impact and ultimately becomes counterproductive to the cause.   I have no official ruling on this, but will certainly keep an eye to where this goes as a program.

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