You’ve counted characters, made a game-changing argument in a single sentence, shrunk links, hit “unfollow” a few times, and, for whatever reason, people can’t get enough of it. You’ve built yourself a loyal following on Twitter and, now, you’re ready for the next step: getting paid for the countless hours you put into the platform.
Twitter’s advertising tool is an easy place to start, but, if you’re a thought leader, there are far more lucrative – and less abrasive – ways to monetize your presence on the platform. By collaborating with brands that want to reach the people that look to you for leadership, you can make money while adding value to your personal brand in the process.
As you begin to monetize your presence on the platform, focus on two things: minimizing the abrasiveness of your endorsements and maximizing their value.
Influencer marketing – i.e. collaborations between social media leaders and brands – is a growing and devilishly effective field. By some accounts, influencer marketing is as much as 11 times more effective than other digital marketing. While, in reality, most brands are still struggling to calculate the ROI of their influencer programs, that didn’t stop those same brands from doubling their spending on influencer programs this year.
Top influencers, ones who were already making six figures in 2015, when brands first took notice of social media leaders, now make as much as $100,000 per post. No six-figure promises, but if you’re busting your butt on Twitter, there is no reason you shouldn’t receive some compensation.
There is, however, a good and a bad way to go about making money on Twitter as an influencer. As you begin to monetize your presence on the platform, focus on two things: minimizing the abrasiveness of your endorsements and maximizing their value.
When You Think Influencer Marketing, Think Value, Not Money.
Think about product endorsements as a way to add value, not a way to make money. Every time you consider putting your name behind a product, ask yourself if that product will add value to your follower’s lives. If the answer is no, drop it immediately, this is the key to monetizing without alienating your follower base.
If all you cared about was making money, you would just opt into Twitter advertising. As an influencer, though, you get to decide which products get your stamp of approval. This should be based solely on the quality of the product and its ability to solve a real problem your followers face.
Twitter is more interactive than other social media platforms, so get out there and ask your followers about their problems. Do the research so when you do endorse a product and make a ton of money, you’re solving people’s problems, exercising your leadership, and building your credibility at the same time.
In addition to earning you money, successful product endorsements build the value of your personal brand. By putting your name behind a useful and fruitful product, you demonstrate your ability to find solutions and pick winners. This will grow your followers.
By retweeting influencer content, brands share some of their authority with influencers and, at the same time, introduce influencers to their own followers. Below, the outdoor adventure agency Via Dinarica retweeted a post by through hiker Alex Crevar.
Don’t Lose Your Voice When You Endorse a Product
Your followers like how you interact with them on Twitter. Your voice is what makes people listen to you, what makes you a thought leader. Don’t lose it, at any point, to sell something. Doing so will do real damage to your personal brand, and that’s not worth the temporary influx of cash you’ll get from a bad endorsement.
Skip sales talk. There’s no place for that in influencer marketing. When you endorse a product, adapt it to your personal brand, don’t change your personal brand to the product. Present it in an authentic way that you know will speak directly to your followers. And, of course, only choose those products that relate to your niche and the interests of your audience.
Olympian Usain Bolt makes millions through product endorsements, but through partnerships with sportswear brands like Puma, Bolt keeps these endorsements relevant. He’s even been able to inject his personal style into the brand, through the Usain Bolt line.
Commercial actors and models are the ones who pretend, influencers are for real. This is what makes influencer advertising so much more effective so, at all costs, keep your voice. Only endorse those products that you actually like. You don’t have to give up your authenticity to make money on Twitter.
Ideally, only promote those products that you’ve used and would genuinely recommend.
Your followers were initially drawn to you because, likely, you have similar values, lifestyles, and problems. If a product solved a problem for you, then, chances are, it will solve a problem for one of your followers.
Use Your Words to Communicate Value
As a Twitter influencer, you know how to use words. You’ve done a lot with very few words in the past. The brand you partner with will, likely, ask you to tag them in a tweet, use a promotional hashtag, or link to a product landing page as part of your endorsement. The rest of the content is, usually, up to you.
Product mentions don’t have to be subtle, but they have to make sense. Skip those all-too-obvious “casual” mentions and, instead, make every product that you promote a part of your brand story. If you like something enough to recommend it to your followers, there’s a story there. Tell it.
Photographer Corey Rich tells stories that weave together multiple product mentions. The post below, for example, tells both an engaging climbing story and an engaging photography story, with a nod to the climbing influencers he works with and a shout out to sponsor Nikon.
When you link offsite to a product landing page, which, inevitably, you’ll have to do, be sure to shrink your link without losing its relevancy. If you’re selling something, your followers’ spam radars will already be up. Don’t scare them away with an irrelevant-looking web address.
Own Your Endorsements
Nowadays, people are pretty good at picking up on the fact that you’re selling something. Trying to be sneaky about your product endorsements, then, probably isn’t going to work. Oh, and, also, if you don’t disclose all sponsored content to your followers, that’s illegal.
Stay on your followers’ (and the FTC’s) good side by acknowledging all of your sponsorships publicly. Be upfront about the products you endorse and, instead of getting defensive about them, spend a minute explaining why you endorse them. Your followers will appreciate your honesty.
Calculate Your Value
Because influencer marketing is relatively new, there isn’t a set industry rates for endorsements or mentions. One brand might tell you your Twitter followers are worth $100; another might say $10,000. It’s on you to understand your value as an influencer accurately and to start that conversation with the brands you endorse.
Brands aren’t always on top of this data, so take the lead!
The best way to quantify and communicate your value is to know your click through rate for every campaign you do. Use Influencer.co to track your followers’ clicks and to collect other useful data, like the exact demographics of your audience, that you can pass on to brands. Brands aren’t always on top of this data, so take the lead!