Entering college, I was looking for a way to earn some weekly beer money, and being the lazy kid that I was, I wasn’t trying to leave my dorm room to do so. I had a friend who ran a large and profitable Twitter account, so I figured it would be a fun endeavor to try to start one for myself. I created a comedy niche account with a teenage male audience and just began by tweeting as much content as possible. In the beginning, it was a slow and difficult process to amass a following, as your tweets only receive minimal impressions. By the advice of my friend, I began investing money into paying larger Twitter accounts (100,000-1,000,000 followers) with a similar audience for promotion. Through Twitter DMs and PayPal transactions, I purchased retweets off of these larger accounts in 15 minute intervals, so that my content would be displayed to their audience who would hopefully follow my account in return.
Day by day, by publishing tweets up to five times per hour, 14 hours per day, I began seeing growth on my account. I amassed my first 10,000 followers in about a month of paid promotion, a milestone which was important. At this point I began to post an occasional advertisement tweet amidst my content, in which I would be paid somewhere around $0.01 per click on the link. This was not enough to recoup the money I was shelling out for publicity, but it did help me earn a few bucks here and there while I grew my account larger. At this point, my account was large enough to begin “trading retweets” with other similar sized accounts, a way to help each other grow without having to pay. On top of continually posting content, this required us to manually retweet three of each other’s tweets (two content and one advertisement) for 20 minutes at a time, rotating between about 15-30 accounts each day. I steadily gained a few hundred followers daily for the next couple of months, and with every new retweet and follower, my tweets gained more impressions.
At around 75,000 followers, I began to really see growth and some income. At this point, I was large enough myself that other small accounts began to DM me asking to purchase promotion off of my account. This was an easy revenue stream because all I had to do was retweet a few of their tweets and keep them up for about an hour; however, it wasn’t consistent enough to rely on. So to supplement this, I used Squarespace to design a simple website in which I would create little content “galleries” to link people to through tweets. These galleries would range anywhere from “top 10 basketball players all-time by position” to “most expensive celebrity homes” and “strangest facts about penguins,” as well as everything in between – whatever I thought would generate high click through rates. On this website, I applied for Google Adsense and was accepted, which meant that Google would place related ads (like the one pictured below for hotels) on my page based on ad words, and I would be paid per click on each ad. By mixing in several advertisement tweets per day amidst the content, I now had a relatively steady weekly allowance for beer and pizza, all without leaving my dorm room.
While I have since “retired” from a life of obsessively tweeting and retweeting mildly funny, often raunchy, and usually copied-from-somewhere content, I hold a few takeaways from the countless days and nights I’ve wasted away on the app. For one, I learned a little bit (not too much) about interacting with an audience and figuring out what types of headlines and content attract positive feedback. Secondly, I have determined that social media really can end up providing some form of monetary income for those who seek it. And lastly, I have realized that many (or most) of your favorite themed accounts are usually a lot less cool or original as you once may have thought (or they’re run by pretty average kids who aren’t all that funny).