The only way you couldn’t have heard about Twitter by now or have been trying to figure out how to profit from it is if you were living without both an Internet connection and a TV. This new social media network was featured everywhere, and it focuses on micro-blogging and frequent updates from its users.
It’s used by people to provide the latest news about their lives and to stay updated on the life of their favorite celebrity/idol. In fact, many celebrities are joining the network, from Ashton Kutcher to Nicole Richie to Greg Grunberg (the guy who plays Matt Parkman in the hit TV series “Heroes”).
If blogging is used to provide updates monthly, weekly or at most daily (for example, most people that have a blog write about what they did last week or last 24 hours), then Twitter takes it to a new level, with its users tweeting short updates about what they’re doing every hour or even every few minutes. Most of the people who use Twitter have a mobile data plan and are always connected to the Internet via their communicator (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.) and thus can always reach or be reached by others.
Not long after Twitter started gaining a lot of popularity, the most active marketers found ways to profit from it :-). Most of them started to create accounts, procured lots of followers (people who are subscribed to your tweets, which is sort of like an RSS feed) and then inserted affiliate links wherever they could without looking like spammers (for example, one could say “Hey, I’m using SeeHere.com to print my photos and it’s very cool”, and it wouldn’t matter to other people if the link was an affiliate link or not, so why not insert it?).
Spammers did the same, of course, except they didn’t hide the fact and tweeted everyone like crazy until they got banned. Twitter’s anti-spam system has now improved substantially and there are very few open spammers using it now.
Software developers have also started seeing the potential of this new network and are creating various applications and extensions to be used with Twitter, a few of the best examples being Twitterfeed, where you can connect and update your Twitter account via your blog’s RSS feed, and Tweetie, a Twitter client for iPhone.
Last but not the least, entrepreneurs turned their attention to Twitter and affiliate networks targeting Twitter users have started to appear, the first and most prominent of which is Ad.ly, who are already paying up to $2000 per tweet (!) to the most famous people.
How can they pay so much?
Because it’s profitable! For example, a recent campaign from a web hosting company paid $500 per tweet to a few selected people in the Internet marketing industry who have more than 100,000 followers and got in return 700-800 clicks and 100-200 signups from each. Considering they usually pay $100 per signup, if they spent $5,000 on their Ad.ly campaign (which would mean they paid 10 people for a tweet), they got about 1500 new clients and saved more than $100,000!
I’m sure this won’t last for long, as competition gets fiercer, like for every other social media network like MySpace and Facebook. But why not profit from the current situation while you can?
Here are 5 excellent tips to get you started:
- Follow a lot of people. The more, the better (but don’t look like a spammer and follow everyone you can; target only those in the same industry). Some of them will follow you back and you will slowly gain more and more followers. A very useful trick: If you follow someone, then unfollow him in about 15 minutes, then follow him again and repeat the process a few times, you will constantly appear in his recently followed list, and anyone who sees it will most probably follow you, too (but don’t abuse this by repeating it 30 times, or you’ll get banned).
- Use Twitter to promote your new products or websites. A new website or info product would get a nice boost from a few tweets mentioning it, especially if you have a lot of followers. You can also pay other people to do it or get paid yourself to promote other products (via ad.ly or privately).
- Run viral campaigns. Find something that is interesting and re-tweetable. If you can get enough people to retweet your message, you can get A LOT of traffic to any site. Popular stuff includes funny pictures, useful applications and software, and useful information in general.
- Create a Twitter App. Various plugins and extensions are very popular on any social network (as MySpace, Facebook, Wordpress and others have shown us), and Twitter is no exception. Several Twitter helper applications are already available, but if you can create something new, useful and/or fun, you can potentially make millions. Also, I think you shouldn’t try to make another Tweetie or Twitterfeed clone, as there are already dozens of them, most of which failed.
- Join Ad.ly, the network that pays for tweets. I mentioned this last because you need to have a lot of followers to really make serious money here. Ad.ly does pay hundreds and thousands of dollars for a tweet, but that is only if you’ve got more than 20,000-30,000 high quality followers (who follow you because they like your tweets and listen to your opinion). They won’t approve just anyone.
That’s about it for the introduction to Twitter. The rest comes from practice. Implement the above tips, and in a few weeks to months, you can potentially make a few thousand dollars per month with this new social network.
This article on how to profit from Twitter was provided by Alex Wells as part of a series on Internet Marketing that has turned out to be a better experience than the usual DigitalPoint fare.
Related article: How to Manage Your Twitter Lists