Can You Get Paid to Tweet, Even if You’re Not a Celebrity?
If you’re creative, you can definitely make money with your Twitter account.
For example, I've sold my books by tweeting about them. I've used tweets to drive traffic to my websites, which make money in various ways. As part of an overall social media marketing plan, Twitter can be a valuable tool. But can you simply get paid to tweet?
But most of us are not celebrities. Can the average Twitter user build up a following and get paid to tweet about products and services?
Now, it's my job to investigate and write about ways to make money, but I also like to try them out. And I happen to have 11,000 Twitter followers, so I wondered if I could make money tweeting. Here's what I discovered...
Can You Get Paid to Tweet?
I Googled "paid to tweet" and found PaidPerTweet.
One featured tweeter, comedian George Lopez, earns $2,000 per tweet and has three million followers, according to the site. However, his twitter account shows he actually has 2.03 million followers, and I didn't see anything that looked like a sponsored tweet. PaidPerTweet provides no information on how often any of the featured tweeters actually get paid.
When I clicked the link that said "Become Verified," I was prompted to sign in to my PayPal account and saw a charge of $2.99 per month. I didn't continue. Instead, I went back to the website and clicked "register." Getting verified is apparently optional.
I entered a username and password, unsure if this was supposed to be my Twitter username or password (my entries were not). There wasn’t any explanation for the sign-up process.
I eventually noticed a link that said "Twitter Accounts" and clicked that, which brought up a screen where I could add a Twitter account. I was prompted to sign in to Twitter, but noticed this message:
This application will be able to:
Read Tweets from your timeline.
See who you follow, and follow new people.
Update your profile.
Post Tweets for you.
Will not be able to:
Access your direct messages.
See your Twitter password.
Update my profile? Follow new people? I didn't feel comfortable with that, although to be fair the page also said, "You can revoke access to any application at any time from the Applications tab of your Settings page."
Next, I went to SponsoredTweets. I couldn’t see much beyond a giant sign-up prompt. I clicked "Sign Up," and chose "Creator" (the other option is "Advertiser"). I signed up and got the same information as before. Apparently, you have to allow these companies to follow people and alter your profile. I refused.
Back on PaidPerTweet, I logged in and checked every link I saw, trying to figure out how much the company takes from each tweet payment you earn. The answer may be there, but the company clearly doesn't want to make it easy to find.
Finally, I dropped my plan to try out one of these platforms. I don't understand why they’d need to mess with my profile or follow people without my approval, and it’s not worth pursuing when the potential earnings are unclear.
Who Actually Makes Money on Twitter?
Social media strategist Branden Hampton told The Next Web he makes a living selling tweets.
Asked if it's possible to earn a six-figure income each year, he answered "No, you can make six figures a quarter." But he personally manages 24 Twitter accounts with more than 11 million followers, and his company, Influential Media Group, handles accounts with tens of millions more.
If you want to try to emulate his success, read the interview and check out one of his biggest hits on Twitter, The Notebook. It started out small, so maybe there is hope for those of us with mere thousands of followers.
Most of the people making big money for tweets are Hollywood celebrities and sports stars. For example, opendorse estimates basketball player Karl-Anthony Towns, who plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves and has 100,000 Twitter followers, should get around $430 per tweet.
I did the math. That's $0.00573 per follower, which would make my 11,000 followers worth $63 per tweet -- if I was as famous as LeBron James.
I'll tweet for a tenth of that. Any takers? I won't hold my breath.
Can the Average Tweeter Make Money?
There's more than one list of celebrities who get paid big money to tweet. And a good Internet marketer might know how to build followers and sell tweets.
But I searched far and wide for evidence that ordinary Twitter users can make more than a few dollars with sponsored tweets, and I came up mostly empty.
For example, I Googled "I made money tweeting" (using quotation marks), figuring someone would have written about their experience online. There were five results, all there only because someone wrote something like "I wish I made money tweeting," or "if I made money tweeting." I tried dozens of other searches with similar results.
You would think that of the thousands of regular Twitter users who have presumably signed up for one of the many "pay per tweet" platforms, some would have written about their success. I couldn't find any examples.
I'm hoping for comments below telling me I'm a terrible investigative reporter. I want to be wrong. Hey, I want $6 per tweet -- I'll tweet all day!
But if you are going to challenge my skepticism, please be specific. Tell us how many followers you have, how much you make per tweet and how much you made last month.
A Story to Give You Hope
I did find a story of a high school student making $500 per day on Twitter in 2012. His name is Jon King, and he didn't get paid per tweet.
Instead, he promoted affiliate products, making money from commissions when followers clicked through and bought something. He built six parody accounts, like Condescending Wonka (@willlllywonka), and they averaged 150,000 followers each.
So keep that Twitter account open, even if you can't sell a single tweet. You can promote affiliate products, and use it as part of a social media marketing plan if you someday have something of your own to promote. And who knows, maybe you can sell a tweet or two.
Your Turn: Have you or has anyone you know made more than $50 per month by getting paid to tweet?
Steve Gillman is the author of "101 Weird Ways to Make Money" and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).