This is a very focused review, I was only trying to do one thing with it so don't take this as a review of twitter, however, it might be helpful for someone :
While I have been using since before it became the newest buzzword for CNN and a topic of conversation at the office watercooler, the massive thrust of people into it recently has been pretty amazing. So — if there are that many people using it , and that much talk about corporations using it as a social media outlet, then there has to be money in it somewhere. This review is after a quick 5 days of trying to make money on twitter.
Somehow I randomly got a link to a service that sells ads via your tweets. So for every 5 posts you make, it auto-posts an ad for say…. Netflix, and then you make money based on clicks, views, referrals etc… (they have all different types of ads). Before you even sign-up you can drop your username in and it will analyze how many people follow you and how often you tweet to define an estimate for how much you could make per month. My estimate for my TylerJamesLee account was 15 euros, so what, about 20 bucks? Does not sound like a lot of money, except for the fact that I limit my followers to people I know, and had 40 at the time of my estimate. Well, dang, 20 bucks a month for doing nothing but typing in my twitter username and password, and having an ad placed every 5-10 posts? Doesn’t sound too bad. What if I scale that up to lance armstrong type numbers? (I ran his estimate and he could bring in $20,000 a month, ie $250,000/yr)
Thats what got my brain thinking. Lets see if I can figure out a way to make money. It’s not as easy as I originally thought though. So, here we have a review of some of the ideas I went with, some of the problems I encountered, and hopefully a final analysis on if Twitter is a money making tool for a regular guy.
I realize there is a semi-spamming type idea behind gaining a bunch of followers fast, which is what I wanted to do, so I set myself up with a new twitter account and a new gmail address to sort through all the loads of crap I planned on getting. I made my new account look as professional as possible, I filled out the profile info, made it sound like it was a legitimate twitter account where I would post my favorite things I found around the web, and set up a background / logo for it. I don’t know why I said semi-spamming since at this point thats exactly what I was . I went around, found one of the top twitterers out there, and then looked for easy prey. I picked Ashlee Simpson’s twitter account actually, to latch onto and went to her followers and followed I would say about 100 of them. From what I had read this sort of practice results in a 15-20% return follow rate (they follow me just because I follow them). From then on I found a few big twitters, people with 10k + followers & friends, and latched onto them. In this area I was receiving an unexpected almost 40-50% return follow rate. Really impressive. In 2 days, and about 90 minutes of work I had 250 followers. I still didn’t know where I was going to go with this but I was getting sort of addicted to seeing my follower number increase.
3 days, 450.
4 days (time of original writing) 850. — This is where I believe I started to get them organically. Yes I was still latching onto people and following the heck out of them, but I would come around and see 20-30 people I had never heard of, and the number just kept increasing. People do the same thing I am doing and so since my name was now out there they latched on. The key to making yourself look semi-legit is to unfollow the people that do not follow you. So, say you go in a list and follow 150 people, wait 5-6 hours, come back, and remove the people that did not follow you back, just rundown the list and remove them. Don’t feel bad, they aren’t helping you out — so don’t help them.
I do need to mention twitter has a follow limit, something around 1000 - 1500 a day mad people you can follow, the first and second day when my return rates were lower I hit this and had to back off for about 24 hours. I also like to keep my follower to friend ratio in proportion, I don’t want to follow 2000 people with 250 friends or anything.
Second : content
This should be up there with first things to do actually. Your just simply not going to get the same number of views if you don’t post anything of quality. I started to actually make friends with a couple of the other posters (which seems hard to do with 850 people in your twitter inbox but its not) and then actually made some posts that I think were of value. This will definitely help the organic growth rate (which is the most important part). I am attempting with these 850 followers to establish a base which will then grow on its own and those followers are going to be more apt to click links, view sites etc… than the original guys I picked up who are in it for the same reasons as me : a high follower count.
Third : Leverage your Followers
Ugh. I almost don’t want to write this part. What is there to do with your follower base ? As of time of writing this I just don’t know. When you start getting into these twitter circles you will see an absolutely amazing amount of spam and 90% of it is making money off twitter schemes. Let me ruin it for you : They are all pyramid schemes. “Buy my $97 dollar report on twitter and how I make $1000/day” little do they tell you all you will be doing is sell back this report. Everything is an affiliate marketing scheme, and not the good kind. I’ve tried and tried again to find one of these that looked even the slightest bit legit but no… (I even almost bought the $3 one just to test it out, but my better mind prevailed thankfully).
But Tyler, what about the paid ads you were talking about above? Well, thats what inspired me to join the twitter spam universe, but so far the attempts have yielded no results.
be-a-magpie.com (and yes this is a referral link so please use it) : I’m not going to knock this service 100% just yet because it is by far the most professional out there and if any of these services is going to work I’m gonna think its this one. However, I figured it was going to be easy to get my ads displayed, that as soon as I signed up I would be rolling in cash. Not so. 5 days since I signed up and not a single ad has been placed. I think its due to a lack of advertisers. Unlike adsense which will always show something because of the massive amount of advertisers they have lined up, this is a new service and I just don’t think the backing is there yet. The only thing it tells me is that I am ready and set up and that very soon an ad will be placed. Well, not yet. (and twitter ads are going to rely on quantity to make money so 1 ad eventually isn’t going to help). Sign up via my referral link though if your interested in more info I’m hoping that soon enough they will start to move a little bit faster.
TwitAd : This one is a more recent discovery but is along the same lines. In the same way it looks relatively new and the ads don’t seem to post, they are there for the use, but then you get an error saying they are not active accounts yet. I haven’t seen the likes of the ads used on magpie but I like twtad’s (well, the ones they say that you can use) which include Netflix, and some other high name advertisers… if the service ever gets operating then I think this could be a good resource. Plus it tells you the price you will be paid. A netflix click gets you .15cents/click, which is a really nice amount, and the other ones only pully a penny - $0.5 but still, those can add up if you work it right. * UPDATE * TWit ad seems to be working, and I've gotten some results with it...... more to come
AdJix : This is a different type of service. It’s like a TinyURL with ads. You shrink a url down with their service (which is nice for your links to begin with) and then when a user clicks the link it opens the page with a digg-bar like top panel that shows a few ads in it. It really isn’t that intrusive and so I’ve tried to use this on a link or two. No results but it was in the earlier days of my new account. I will try this one again in the near future. I like this because you can keep your content decent, but still throw a few ads in there.
Fourth : Automation
There are a bunch of different pieces of software out there that can help you automate some of the tweet hard work. So far I haven’t latched onto any of them that seem to work very well so I won’t highlight any yet. However, when I get into big numbers I may need to do this.
Final Analysis :
All of this has made me think about twitter again. Can I just build up an account on my own and hope to generate a little extra revenue?
One of the things that saddens me is that Twitter has become for many a glorified RSS reader. Websites announce every blog post, entry etc… made in order to drive traffic to their site and get the ad clicks there. This seems to be one of the best methods, but doesn’t really help me since I’m not hawking a site or agenda. At the same time, I understand why advertisers would not put money into random twitter account holders hands. I wouldn’t. At least ad words has some sort of aiming of ads, you can pick a demo or type of site you want your ads placed on, twitter just has too many possibilities for that ad to become completely worthless.
I don’t find myself quitting this endeavor just yet. I actually have met some interesting people via twitter and have been having conversations with them which really surprised me do to the goal being to attain the highest number possible. If I can build this into an actual account now and keep adding those followers then maybe I will be able ot make some money off of it, or at least generate more traffic to my personal sites. Right now I am the 21,000th most followed twitter, but 250th in Austin… can I build it into a local thing? can I move up to top 50 in Austin? at what point does that let me leverage local connections into something beyond just twittering, web design work , freelance that sort of thing. It’s going to be interesting to figure that out.
more info : http://www.tylerjameslee.com
This post has been edited by capty99: 14 April 2009 - 09:05 PM