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Tag: Sponsored Tweets

Making money using Twitter

 

I continue my discussion on ways to make money using Twitter. Previously I covered what I considered are bad (ineffective) methods, now I’ll cover the rest.

 
The ugly (misleading):

Promoting users/lists: Certain users with a large number of followers (though only slightly more than I have) started doing personal shoutouts and including users in their lists for small sums of money. I assume the people who buy these services do so to get followers. To a limited degree, this will probably work. Moreover, if the people who promote these offers have multiple accounts as many people do, I would imagine all their accounts would suddenly follow the paying users (this could easily be 20-50 accounts – to some this is a lot of followers!).

 
With that being said, this has to be one of the most inefficient ways of getting followers. If these were celebrities who offered these services, fine (it would probably be pretty effective being in Conan O’Brien’s list! Just think of @LovelyButton), but we’re not talking celebrities here. I would never consider charging people to be in one of my lists because I think doing so would imply that this bestows some value, and let’s face it, it does not. Note that I have to say, it’s very easy getting followers, at least when talking about a small number (100-200) and I don’t think paying users expect more than that from a single tweet.

 
An additional issue is that I would expect this practice to stop at some point. Personally – and I know many others feel the same way – I treat the shoutouts as noise/spam. These are (personal) ads after all, and my comment from the previous post applies – most Twitter users do not like any tweet that feels commercial in nature. I predict that eventually enough users would have these ‘offending’ advertisers be blocked & reported for spam and this will lead to their suspension.

 
The Good (effective)

 
I’ve written about this in multiple separate posts. I believe that Twitter’s strength lies in creating relationships, networking, doing PR for yourself/your company, so most of this section deals with these. However, the first method is unrelated.

  1. Advertising: Using companies such as Ad.ly and SponsoredTweets it is possible to tweet something and get paid for it. This actually does work. But: (a) You’re dependent on being offered to tweet these and there aren’t a ton of those and (b) unless you have a lot of followers, the sums involved tend to be pretty low.

     

  2. Getting clients: by being active on Twitter, it is possible to get clients. Although pushing yourself and being interactive helps, by just having a good bio, descriptive background and including a link to your website it’s quite possible to draw attention. Personally I’ve had success with this. I have to emphasize that I believe this strongly depends on the industry: i.e. I doubt dentists can gain clients this way.

     

  3. Building relationships: I’ve written about this before. By networking you are likely to meet like-minded people who, by knowing them, in the long run, will result in monetary gain. I’ve met quite a lot of people who got me involved in conferences (i.e. Social Media 201), started collaborations, and introduced other people and clients to me. This does require effort though.

     

  4. PR: I’m probably the millionth person to say this, but in this day and age, companies need to be able to engage their clients. By having an active Twitter account that listens to complaints/issues and addresses them, a company can greatly improve their reputation. This is a topic that we discussed quite heavily at Social Media 201.

     

  5. Twitter services: basically, by offering the previous methods to other people or companies, you can make money. There’s in fact a new course that trains people to become social media managers.

    This is definitely a way that works. Again, talking from personal experience here. You can get paid far more doing this than from paid tweets or trying to push affiliate links. I believe this is the most effective way to monetize Twitter. Note that in many ways the method I included under ‘ugly’ can be said to fall under this category – true – however, I think it’s the choice of which services to offer that makes the difference. Implying someone will get a lot of followers if someone tweets your bio is misleading.

 
Not sure

 
I’ll include this one last category as well.

  1. Niche accounts: I’ve actually dabbled with this but it’s a variation of the methods I previously mentioned. Basically, it’s an account that declares in advance that it will provide information and deals. This can be done using affiliate links or point to your business site.

    Does it work? Maybe. Personally I’ve not tried it long enough to be able to tell. However, I CAN tell say that many users still consider this to be spam despite the user “announcing” in advance what it is all about.

     

  2. Trending topics: I included this but I will admit I don’t know it well enough to elaborate. The goal is to create accounts that tap into Google’s real time indexing of trending topics. I don’t fully know how this works, just that by doing so, it is possible to get an affiliate link into the top of the search of Google. I would imagine this involves creating quite a lot of users. I heard this worked for some but don’t know how successful it was and, as you can guess, I never tried it myself. I figured I should still mention it.

     

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many followers on twitter

After using Twitter very heavily for – what – 3 months now? I’ve noticed that there are certain mandatory milestones people who use Twitter pass through.

 
The first occurs somewhere around 150 followers/followees. You realize there’s no way you could keep track of all the conversations since the web interface isn’t really designed for this. At this point people either limit the number of people they follow (too many conversations going on), start using specialized software (such as TweetDeck) or just give up and return to Facebook saying that Twitter sucks and they don’t see the point (in fact, I’ve dedicated an entire post to this, Explaining Twitter to Facebook Users).

 
The second is actually an artificial milestone: it’s set exactly at 2,000 followers. This number is defined by Twitter itself. I don’t remember the exact rule, but it goes something like this: you can’t follow more than 2,000 people unless you have at least 90% of that – 1800 – followers (or something similar). This is actually pretty effective, and you see a lot of people with disproportional follower/followee ratio (50 followers and 1750 they follow). Usually these are people who try gaining a large number of followers very quickly. Not that it’s impossible, but this is not the right way I believe, and neither this is the point of Twitter. The easy – and the fun – way to overcome this is by progressing through interaction (and I’ve written a post about that too: How to Gain Twitter Followers For Free and With No Tools). I wasn’t even aware of this limitation when I crossed 2,000!

 
(An interesting side note, several friends have told me in the past that I have an anecdote for everything. This is true. For almost everything I hear there’s something related I can think of. A family trait, we all are like this. Funny that my blog is starting to look like that too, don’t you think?).

 
The third milestone, is one I believe I reached in the past two weeks is – I estimate – around 5,000 followers, and will shortly elaborate on it.

 
I’m sure there are more such milestones I haven’t reached: 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 1 million, 3 million, 1 billion, etc. And of course, some milestones can only be reached by God and Ashton Kutcher, and neither is talking to us, so they shall have to remain a mystery.

 
So back to what I wanted to cover in this post: What happens when you start having a lot of followers? (which in this context, is my third milestone).

 
Although I “only” have 7,000 followers, thanks to my witty banter, humorous activities and unnatural modest personality (not to mention my own custom devised algorithm of finding followers – why do people need software packages? It’s just so easy), and some of my best Twitter friends have way, way more followers than I do (like Darren, 101,000 followers, Heather, 22,000 and Ken, 20,000), I’ve started feeling a change once I reached the third milestone. By the way, these three people are always going to be on my #FollowFriday list. Truly some of the greatest people I know on Twitter and outside!

 
An important point: I follow almost every single person who follows me. Why? I just think it’s fair. This point is arguable since I know many people don’t agree with this philosophy, but personally I think that unless you’re a real (non web) celebrity or truly have something unique to say on Twitter (not your blog, TV show, or whatever), you can’t expect people to follow you if you don’t return the favor. The fact John Chow lost a quarter (or more) of his 60,000 followers since his mass unfollow just proves this point – and I don’t think his process of losing followers is over just yet! Of course, this only holds true if you’re actively trying to expand your number of followers: if you’re just in Twitter then there truly is no obligation for you to follow anyone.

 
Here’s what happens – at least to me:

 
The good

  1. When I first heard of Twitter, I read that you can pose a question, and you’ll always get an answer from someone in the Twitterverse. So after I joined and had a couple hundred of followers I tried it. No response. I tried it again later. No response. And again. No response. Kind of sucked, but I thought – I guess I simply don’t have enough friends/followers.

     
    However, some time ago after the ‘third milestone’, I tried again. I pose a question and now I always get answers. Usually multiple, and usually from people I don’t know. This is just awesome. For someone like me, who thrives on interaction and enjoys meeting new people and starting conversations this is absolutely fantastic. I’ve actually started doing it just to get closer to some people who follow me (and I them). This is one of the best aspects of Twitter. I’m really enjoying this.

     

  2. You start getting offers for Sponsored Tweets. My original reason for entering Twitter was promotion of my blog and I knew this may have financial repercussions even though I didn’t anticipate or aim for short-term ones (it’s been 3 months and I’m still not doing anything of the sort). However, I truly hadn’t expected anything like that. You tweet a 1-3 messages and get money? It’s not a lot of money, yet this was still a nice surprise. I tweet sometimes hundreds of messages a day, what’s another one? Let alone one I mark as ‘#ad’ or ’sponsored’ (the application gives you that option)

     

  3. People you don’t know start referencing you or a conversation you had in a way that implies they know you or have been following your conversations, at least to some extent. Some people may feel threatened by this, but I just love it. It’s like skipping the whole “introduction” aspect of becoming a friend – like jumping directly to stage 2 of a friendship.

     

  4. Continuing the last item, people you don’t know start including you in their #FollowFriday. This even now still surprises me and greatly flatters me.

     

  5. You get more business opportunities. I’ve already had several such discussions – which makes sense, because there are so many people on Twitter who look for that, myself included. The one that most surprised me is the offer to give high level direction to a new Twitter application as a “Twitter Guru”. And more so, that the advice I gave was extremely easy to give and I also think, extremely useful. Twitter is truly very simple after all. After you’ve used it for a while you know what could be improved on and what is already great.

 
The bad

  1. Your twitter mailbox becomes useless. Tweetdeck shows you only the last 20 messages, so these days I usually don’t even bother checking my DM box – it’s filled with “offers” and twit validations and whatever. It’s a shame they can’t get a better system for that, like a white-list or a word filter (I’d filter every message that mentions “Trump”), because I’m sure I missed the occasional important direct message (apologies if I never answered someone who reads this).

     

  2. There is a definite loss of privacy. Personally, I’m not too sensitive about what I say. Although at times I’m sure it would be best if some tweets were not public, I still don’t worry about that too much. However, particularly when engaging in personal conversations, sometimes it’s almost easy to forget there’s an audience (and this changes when someone jumps into the conversation – happened several times). This is particularly true when you speak to someone who has fewer followers – or follows only real world friends – and may not to be used to keeping this in mind.

     

  3. Twitter becomes an increasingly greater time hog. Today I had lunch with a friend who told me “but you don’t really know or care about all 7,000 people, do you?”, and I said I don’t know all of them, but I know many, and certainly will be happy to get to know better anyone who is interested in knowing me. Furthermore, those that I do know, I care about, and as a result, I find myself spending more and more time on Twitter. People who know me know I’m very honest about saying this. I’ve met some fantastic friends in the past few months as result of using Twitter.

 
I don’t know what the future will bring to either myself or Twitter (personally I’m not too certain about its future). I assume it’s a different scenario when you have a 100,000 followers. I certainly have no problem conversing with multiple people at the same time (I vaguely remember even testing myself using various messengers and the maximum conversations I simultaneously could do is 8 – not just in terms of typing – I type very quickly – but also in terms of being truly focused on the conversation).

 
However, with such a great number of followers I’m sure one may easily find himself talking with many more people than 8. That would be beyond my technical ability (though it’s possible mentally I could do more than 8). If that happens, I’ll simply become a slow responder, I guess. Not that I envision myself ever having 100,000 followers (I anticipate I’ll peak at 30,000. Don’t ask me why, it’s just an educated guess).

 

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