Twitter is a social media network that has gained more than 300 million users since its launch in 2006. Many of these users are businesses. They use Twitter to keep in track with consumers and give them messages about deals and brands. Personal users also use Twitter to promote their careers, services and partners. If you are a talented Twitter user, you can use this platform to make money. You should be good at marketing yourself, marketing for others and staying in touch with trends and current events.
In fact, some people have even made careers out of the money they make with Twitter, but you don’t have to be a social media wunderkind in order to mimic their success. All it takes is some creativity and the ambition to carry it out.
To outsiders, Twitter can seem like a big waste of time; a bunch of egomaniacs telling the world what they ate for lunch or what they think of the latest contestant on “The Bachelor.” But to those who use it and love it, it’s an invaluable resource. People use Twitter to find new jobs, locate sources for articles, and gather information on a variety of topics.
There are many ways to use Twitter for business and personal success.
What, in 140 characters or fewer, is Twitter?
Well, it's a money-losing website made up of very short messages where your kids (and C-list celebrities) waste time.
It's also a popular new medium—tens of millions of users and counting—that businesses use to build brands (and sometimes destroy them).
All this you know. Or you should. But Twitter isn't just about buzz: Some companies have figured out how to use it for old-fashioned things.
Make Money With Twitter Using Sponsored Tweets
How Sponsored Tweets Works
Sponsored Tweets allows brands to tap into a Twitter user’s followers to reach new customers. By giving companies access to your Twitter stream, tweeters are compensated for each advertisement they accept.
The only thing tweeters need to do is write a tweet based on some simple guidelines provided by the advertiser. Sponsored Tweets takes care of the rest, and will even tweet it out for you. Companies choose Twitter followers they like based on a variety of factors, including how many followers you have and how much influence you have over those followers.
1. Tweeters Sign Up
Setting up your account will only take a couple of minutes. To be eligible, an account must be at least 60 days old with 50 followers and 100 tweets sent. Sponsored Tweets will review your application, and once you’re approved you can start earning money.
2. Tweeters Promote a Brand on Their Own Terms
The great thing about Sponsored Tweets is that the tweeter is in complete control. If an advertiser is intrigued by the influence you have on your followers, then they present you with an opportunity through your Sponsored Tweets account. They will inform you of what your tweet needs to say and what link must be embedded in the message.
If you don’t like a company that approaches you, you can simply turn down the offer. If you want to move forward with the opportunity, however, simply write the tweet using the guidelines provided by the advertiser, and the advertiser will approve the final text.
All tweets carry full disclosure, which means they must include hash tagged text such as “#sponsored” or “#ad.” Since you’re writing the tweet, you can create a message you’re comfortable with. Once it’s approved, the tweet is sent out and you receive payment in your Sponsored Tweets account.
3. Tweeters Get Paid
With a typical Sponsored Tweets account, you must earn $50 before you can withdraw funds from your account. However, if you sign up for a “Pro” account, you only need to have $25 in your account before you’re eligible for withdrawal.
You can upgrade your account to Pro status for free for one month, and cancel at any time. After one month you will be charged a monthly fee of $1.99. According to Sponsored Tweets, having a Pro account will move you to the top of the list among available tweeters, which could result in increased offers from advertisers.
Earning Money With Sponsored Tweets
There are many ways to earn extra money online, but few are as simple as using Sponsored Tweets. Fitness cover model and two-time pro bikini world champion Chady Dunmore joined Sponsored Tweets a few months ago and already earns between $75 and $150 for every ad she sends out to her 57,425 followers. The experience has been rewarding for Dunmore, who says she has a loyal fan base of women who are inspired by her journey of losing 70 pounds, as well as the fact that she began an athletic career after having a child and beating kidney disease.
“I have been very happy with the results and I will continue to be a part of Sponsored Tweets because of the quality advertisers I get asking for me to send out their message,” Dunmore says. “That is an important factor because I would never want to endorse something I don’t feel is worthy of my followers.”
I’ve earned as much as $6 for a tweet, which seems pretty good to me. I have around 2,200 Twitter followers and the thought of earning enough to buy a venti mocha at Starbucks just for writing a tweet and making a few clicks feels like a good deal. But when I start to see how much reality stars, actors, and TV personalities are making I realize there is a much greater earning potential.
Take a look at what these celebs are earning from advertisers:
- Khloe Kardashian, E! reality star, makes $9,100 per tweet.
- Audrina Patridge, reality star from MTV’s “The Hills,” makes $2,600 per tweet.
- Jackee Harry, actress and star of “227,” “Sister, Sister,” and “Everybody Hates Chris,” makes $325 per tweet.
- Boston Rob, reality star from “Survivor” and “Amazing Race,” makes $149.50 per tweet.
How to Improve Your Sponsored Tweets Income
Once you sign up for Sponsored Tweets, look for ways to make it a more lucrative experience. There are several factors that can boost your Sponsored Tweets cash flow:
1. Choose Keywords Wisely
When establishing your Sponsored Tweets profile, you must choose keywords for yourself. These keywords help advertisers pinpoint tweeters who are a good fit to send their message – this means keywords are incredibly important if you want to receive as many opportunities as possible.
According to Sponsored Tweets, you should choose broad keywords and tweet about popular topics like food, music, food, and family. The most popular tags include entertainment, technology, and music.
2. Boost Your Klout Score
Your Klout Score is the number that relates to the size and strength of your sphere of influence on Twitter. It indicates how likely it is that someone will listen to what you have to say or act on a message you provide, and is based on the following categories: engagement, reach, velocity, demand, network strength, and activity. Your Klout Score can be anywhere from 1 to 100, and the higher your score, the more influential you are.
3. Improve Your Follower Activation Rate
One of the ways Sponsored Tweets judges the quality of a Twitter user is by their follower activation rate, or FAR. FAR is a measure of a tweeter’s influence with their followers based on the percentage of people who click-through when the tweeter posts links. The scale is 0 to 10, with 5 being the system-wide average; the higher the number, the better.
Dunmore says it’s not always about the number of followers you have, but instead, the influence you have on them. “I also try to tell people useful, interesting, or funny info,” she says. “You want to have interaction and conversations with people and be able to contribute something useful to them for free as much as possible.”
Not Everyone Loves Sponsored Tweets
Some people argue that flooding your Twitter stream with advertisements will upset your followers. And even companies aren’t necessarily sold on the results.
Companies Experience Varied Results
Leslie Nuccio, VP of marketing with GoPhoto, tried Sponsored Tweets with hopes of raising awareness about the importance of digitizing photos, slides, negatives, and videos. But the clicks she did get were not quality.
“The bounce rate on those clicks was extremely high,” she says. Bounce rate is the level at which visitors leave a website from the landing page, without clicking around. “Of course, there is always the chance that one of those visitors will, eventually, decide that they need to scan photos and will then remember the GoPhoto name. But with that bounce rate, and especially with the quality of the tweets, I felt that I’d be more successful using other avenues for brand discovery.”
Additionally, for an emerging company, she says using celebrities to announce their brand was far too expensive.
Sponsored Tweets Can Annoy Your Followers
Sponsored Tweets suggests sending out a minimum of three non-ad tweets for every ad you send out, which will limit the chances that you’ll get on your followers’ nerves. Regardless, some followers could get upset that you’re using your Twitter stream as yet another way to bombard them with ads. But as long as you’re selective about the ads you choose and pay attention to your ratio of ads verses regular tweets, you shouldn’t lose too many followers.
Turn Followers Into Creators
The company: SkinnyCorp, which owns online T-shirt retailer Threadless. Based in Chicago and founded in 2000, Threadless sells an estimated $30 million worth of graphic T-shirts a year by soliciting designs from a community of hundreds of thousands of amateur designers, who then vote on their favorites. Threadless bases production on the shirts that get the most votes and pays the winning designers $2,000.
The idea: Threadless CEO Tom Ryan and founder Jake Nickell thought that Twitter messages, because they are pithy, might work well as T-shirt slogans. In May, Threadless created a website that made it easy for the company's Twitter followers — at the time, there were 490,000 of them — to turn their favorite tweets into shirts. Users log on to a Threadless website,enter their Twitter username and password, and then submit tweets for consideration or vote on other people's tweets. The winning slogans get printed on T-shirts and sold for $18 each. "We figured if we built something on top of Twitter, we'd drive participation really quickly," Nickell says.
The result: Nickell was right. In its first five months, the Twitter experiment attracted 100,000 submissions and 3.5 million votes. So far, the company has printed and sold 23 designs — "I'm huge on Twitter" and "Iowa: Cooler than California Since 2009" are the two most popular — resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue in the first five months. The promotion also helped Threadless add one million Twitter followers. "That's not bad for a brand-new product," says Ryan, adding that the Twitter Tees program also provided a revenue boost to Threadless's core business, as Twitter followers often stick around to buy other shirts.
How to get retweeted, Part I: Ask your followers for help — and give them prizes when they comply. Nickell says one of the company's most successful tweets came when it offered Twitter followers a chance to win $100 if they passed along the news of a $9-per-T-shirt sale to their friends. The contest became one of the most popular topics on Twitter that day.
Sell Products on Twitter
The company: Woot, a $164 million online retailer based in Carrollton, Texas. The company operates six online shops that sell deeply discounted products — say, a cheap GPS device or a case of wine. Each Woot shop sells only one product at a time, for one day only.
The idea: One of the first retailers on Twitter, Woot uses the service to tell its customers what is on sale that day. Tweets go out at midnight to the company's 1.5 million followers. "We used to say that there's a ton of people who'd visit Woot every day if they thought about it," says Dave Rutledge, who helped his brother Matt start Woot in 2004 and who now runs its creative efforts. "Twitter can help trigger that." Once Woot has sold 90 percent of its inventory for a particular product, which can often happen in just a matter of hours, Rutledge sends a follow-up tweet to alert potential buyers who may be sitting on the fence that time is running out. "That shows people that the item has been approved by the community," he says.
The result: Tens of thousands of people click on Woot's Twitter links every day, and during the company's rapid-fire sales, or Woot Offs, Rutledge estimates the number is in the hundreds of thousands. Conversion rates — that is, the percentage of users who go on to buy something — are substantially better than the site's average. Since Rutledge introduced the Twitter stream in January 2007, annual revenue has more than doubled.
How to get retweeted, Part II: Keep messages short. Twitter limits messages to 140 characters, but if you want to get people to tell their friends, it helps if you give them room to add a brief comment of their own. One recent example: "RT @woot: $19.99 : Samsung Bluetooth Headset WITH $20 mail in REBATE!!!!! woot.com < pretty awesome, just pay 5 bucks shipping!!" For Rutledge, the magic number to ensure lots of retweets is 110 characters or fewer.
Look for Leads on Twitter
The company: Rose Associates, an 80-year-old real estate marketing and management company based in New York City. Rose has 200 employees and manages some 20,000 luxury apartment units.
The idea: Bob Scaglion, Rose's senior managing director of residential marketing, uses Twitter's search function for lead generation, which works well, because people often send messages about apartment hunting travails. "Our clientele is young and upwardly mobile," he says. "Twitter is where they are." The easiest way to find customers who are looking for what you sell is to go to search.twitter.com and start typing in keywords. Rose uses 10 key terms, like New York City apartments, moving to New York City, and no fee rentals. When a person uses one of these phrases, someone in the company's marketing department sends a reply message like the one above with a link to Rose's apartment listings. Unsolicited messages from strangers might sound creepy, but such is life on Twitter.
The result: No followers? No problem! Rose has only 200 followers on its Twitter account but generates 100 leads a month by sending a few targeted replies every day. Scaglion says roughly half of those leads convert to actual rentals, which is pretty good, given that the program costs almost nothing.
How to find leads faster: There are dozens of Twitter applications that can continuously search Twitter and alert you when a keyword is used. Scaglion's company uses an application called TweetDeck and a Web service called DemandSpot, both of which are free.
Sell Products for Twitter
The company: Atebits, a Philadelphia-based software start-up that makes a $2.99 iPhone application called Tweetie.
The idea: Twitter doesn't charge users to send and receive messages, but that doesn't mean people won't pay for an app that makes it easy to use on the go. Atebits's 25-year-old founder, Loren Brichter, set out to build a Microsoft Outlook for the 140-character set. "Twitter is like e-mail," Brichter says. "The vast majority of people use it for superficial crap, but a small percentage use it for something useful and powerful." Brichter put the first version of Tweetie up for sale in November 2008. To promote it, he sent a message to his friends on — you guessed it — Twitter.
The result: Tweetie is the most successful iPhone app for Twitter and has been purchased by 12.7 percent of all Twitter users, according to Twitstat.com. When Brichter released the most recent version, it hit the top of Apple's bestseller list within 36 hours, ahead of popular titles such as Electronic Arts's Madden 2010 and CNN's iPhone app.
How Twitter applications work: Twitter allows anyone to create and sell software that incorporates, organizes, and rearranges tweets in real time — for instance, by collecting messages written by professional athletes (an app called Twackle) or translating tweets into the language of the high seas (an app called Post Like a Pirate). So far, Twitter has stayed out of the app business, preferring to let software developers and entrepreneurs add functions as they see fit.
Find Customers Anywhere
The company: Kogi Korean BBQ, a year-old Los Angeles start-up that operates four roving food carts. The grub is Korean-style meat served in Mexican-style flatbread. Dishes include Korean short ribs tacos ($2) and spicy pork quesadillas ($7).
The idea: Kogi uses Twitter to tell customers where its trucks are. Except for a few regular spots—like Little Tokyo on Thursday nights—the trucks move every couple of weeks, and managers will sometimes make a last-minute change if the trucks can't find a good spot to park or if the location seems deserted. The idea is to cater to a larger customer base than would be possible with a few regular locations. "We realized that if we wanted to move around a lot, we needed something like Twitter," says co-founder Alice Shin. Customers—some 50,000 so far—sign up to follow Kogi's Twitter feed and get updates about locations, as well as specials and random jokes from Shin.
The result: Extremely rapid growth. Kogi now employs 60 people, up from just four a year ago. "We've gone from selling 30 pounds of meat a day to 1,000," Shin says. At any given time, about 10 percent of the customers learned about the location of the truck from Twitter. The rest, Shin says, "see the line and assume it's good." And if nobody seems to be interested in buying, the truck can always go somewhere else.
How to get retweeted, Part I: Don't shill, and don't spam—or your followers will revolt and stop following. Companies sometimes hire Kogi's trucks for promotional events and then ask Shin to fire off an advertising message to Kogi's followers. Her policy is to decline these requests. "If you spam people with advertising, it'll backfire in the end," she says.
Other ways to earn money using Twitter
Crowdsourcing is the practice of soliciting ideas and contributions from a large group or community. It’s been a marketing darling for years, especially when it comes to social media.
With Twitter, crowdsourcing is an effective way to bring in contributions from your followers (new and old) in order to fund your business or idea. This is especially useful in tandem with something like Kickstarter.
Crowdsourcing can make you plenty of money, or at least capital, but only if it is done correctly. Read up on plenty of successful case studies before attempting to start your first project.
- Produce your own Twitter-related service
Your audience is on Twitter, which means you already know what they’re using in their free time. Take advantage of this by creating a Twitter product that they will want.
For example, a lot of Twitter users would like to use an app that lets them generate hashtags automatically, based on popularity. Something like this may exist already, but you can develop a better product that your followers will love you for.
Alternatively, you can use websites like Fiverr to charge people for building their Twitter presence. I’ve done this myself by helping other people generate (real) Twitter followers for low prices‒$5 for every 100 followers.
- Use YouTube
If you’re savvy with videos, then consider making Twitter-related tutorials that people are searching for on Twitter. With AdSense, you can monetize your YouTube content and make plenty of money based solely on your Twitter expertise.
- Sign up to write for Bukisa.com
This online publisher contracts people to write interesting articles, and then makes money off the advertisements in the side columns. You work your way up a tiered program based on the quality and clicks you get from your articles or videos. Share the articles on your Twitter account to get more readers.
Don't change your Twitter account to be only a money-making operation. Twitter is focused on community. If you stop tweeting funny, interesting or engaging things, you will lose followers, lose interesting chances for professional development, and, ultimately, lose the chance to make more money through Twitter.
- Make money with Twitter
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- Make money on YouTube
- Make money with Google+
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