A growing number of Twitter users, many of whom have few fans, have mastered an innovative way to make some money for themselves by harnessing the power of viral tweets, Bloomberg reported. These savvy users first find a tweet that attracts a lot of attention. They then use the reply tool to point Twitter at a brand that pays a small fee in exchange for a mention.
All this did not happen through Twitter’s established advertising system, meaning the company could not get a piece of the deal and could violate Twitter’s requirement to disclose promotional payments.
That’s what happened to Blake Forbes. The 20-year-old college student from Austin, Minnesota, runs a Twitter account @BirdExecutive. It has only about 8,000 followers. That’s a tiny amount compared to the likes of Justin Bieber or Barack Obama, each of them with more than 110 million followers. But the lack of stars doesn’t stop Forbes from making money easily.
Forbes looks for tweets that cover a funny joke or a clever word game together. In one case, a picture of a steam engine running over someone’s back was included. He and his friends then helped accelerate the popularity of the posts by sharing them on their accounts, which have tens of thousands of followers. When a tweet doesn’t go viral, reaching hundreds of thousands of followers, retweets and likes, a brand might contact Forbes for promotion and pay him about $30. Forbes has been promoted about seven or eight times, releasing memes for which he nets about $200.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a way to make a lot of money, it’s just extra,” Forbes said. This is mainly to “have fun on Twitter and get some money.”
This brief ad blitz is based on the latest and most opportunistic evolution of the social media influencer economy, in which ordinary people are paid to sell brands to their followers. The twist here is that people who go viral and attract advertisers may not have a large fan base or even expertise in the brand they’re trying to promote. Sometimes, viral tweets aren’t even original ideas. Forbes’s Steam Roller gimmick, for example, was released about three weeks ago @meow an account.
Anthony Trucco, a recent college graduate who describes himself as “Lord Meme,” also enjoys the extra pocket money that comes with viral tweets. Trucco, who has about 6,500 followers on Twitter and 1.3 million on TikTok, superimposes scenes from spongeboga cartoons with popular songs such as Travis Scott and Drake’s “Sicko Mode.” When a comedian with a large following shared a tweet from Trucco, it attracted widespread attention and eventually led to a promotional agreement with Ocean Galaxy Light.
One of the most frequent promotions on Twitter, it projectes light patterns on the ceiling and includes a Bluetooth speaker. The site is run by several friends in Southern California, all college students, who find viral tweets and then contact users to promote their products. Parsa Khademi, one of the operators of Ocean Galaxy Ligh’s website and Twitter account, says the site pays $20 to $60 for promotions based on the popularity of the tweets. Khademi is looking for promising tweets, but recently someone has come to him for promotion.
Advertisers have found that these social media users’ viral tweets can reach new customers. For Ocean Galaxy Light, a promotion associated with a viral tweet can generate orders for three to four lights that sell for $50, Khademi said. Partners work with logistics and distribution centers in the United States and Japan to process and complete customer orders. In July, Ocean Galaxy Light brought in about $7,000 to $8,000 from Twitter, Khademi said. It also advertises on Facebook and Instagram, with sales of $35,000 on all platforms that month.
Since these transactions take place outside Twitter’s established advertising system, the company must exercise caution. A spokesman said in an email that failing to disclose payments for promotions violated the social media company’s terms of service.
Mr Khademi said Ocean Galaxy Light changed its marketing style in April after problems with Twitter’s terms of service. Users with viral posts used to “quote” old Ocean Galaxy Light tweets to promote the brand, but Khademi instead asked users to post their own Twitter links.
Other advertisers using this strategy include a sink filter to prevent soiling while washing dishes, and another account selling vintage basketball clothing. The advertisers did not respond to requests for comment.
Shamsul Chowdhury, Jellyfish’s vice president of paid socialization, says the practice of getting people to promote products has also developed on other platforms, such as Instagram, where meme accounts promote artists on Spotify or fashion brands. But Instagram requires paid partnerships to be disclosed. Ads on Instagram can appear as branding, or influencers can post branded content using the app’s tagging tool, or they can be advertised with the hashtag .
Twitter requires users who pay to tweet to label the tweet as an ad, though it’s difficult for the company to enforce it because the deals take place outside of its advertising system. Twitter doesn’t actively search for violators, but if someone reports it, it will take action on the tweet. “Any enforcement will depend on the specific context of the incident,” a spokesman said in a statement. “
Chowdhury says websites that want to promote their products think it’s more cost-effective to advertise with viral tweets than to compete with other advertisers on Twitter’s main feed. In addition, you don’t need to use Twitter’s official advertising system to interact more directly with users.
Although Trucco also serves as a full-time business analyst at Northrop Grumman. But he still takes time out to create memos for artists and brands on social media. He is grateful for the money. “It means a lot to me,” he said. “I’ll never be the one who forgets how much $50 is worth. Anyone can appreciate anything, whether it’s $50 or $100, or $25. There’s nothing to lose if you put it there. “