This is a guest post written by Alexander Barbara. Alex is the founder of EasyTweets, a marketing and brand management tool for Twitter.  Alex also is an Elite Retreat Alum.

Twitter is growing at a phenomenal rate – approximately 55% month over month. As more and more people start tweeting, the service and how it is being used by its community are evolving in a number of ways.

Though it began as a way for bicycle messengers to communicate with each other, Twitter now offers something much more: the ability for businesses and celebrities to directly interact with and market to a large number of people at once. You can think of Twitter as “Mailing List 2.0”, with each Twitter account and its followers being a unique content channel. There are several advantages over traditional e-mail:

1. there is no need for a double opt in system – people either follow you, or they don’t

2. deliverability is pretty much guaranteed as part of the Twitter.com service

3. with re-tweets, @replies, and #followfriday, your list can grow virally at no cost to you

4. public tweets are quickly crawled and indexed by search engines, providing some SEO benefit if you are promoting your own sites

Whether you are trying to promote your business or start a new one, you can build and monetize your own Twitter content channel in four steps:

1. choose your niche

2. set up account(s) and post content

3. grow followers

4. profit!

Choosing a Niche

Pick a Twitter account niche the same way you might pick a blog niche. ProBlogger has some great tips.

There are an infinite number of topics you can discuss. The more niche, the better. If people are talking about it, and if people might spend money in some way related to it, it has potential. Take a few minutes to visit search.twitter.com, and check if people are talking about your niche. Is it something people are interested in? If you have no ideas, browse the public timeline. What are people talking about?

You want to think long-term here. Yes you will try to monetize it, but your primary goal should be growing the eyeballs on your Twitter account. You want to build an account profile that adds value to your followers – something people will want to read, want to follow, and would even recommend to their friends. You want it to be good, because good content will get you more followers, and the more followers the more you can monetize. So avoid creating Twitter accounts that are too commercial in nature.

Remember, you are building an audience here. If you account is overtly spammy or adds no value – such as if you just tweet affiliate links 24×7 – you will eventually get flagged for spam. You don’t want that. So focus on providing content that people will actually be interested in.

Creating Your Profile

Be sure to fill out your account bio, description, and provide a link to your site if you have one. And make sure you add an image. The image doesn’t necessarily have to be a person’s photo; depending on your account name etc. you may want to have a photo of a place or thing etc. If you have an account about widgets, use a picture of a widget as your avatar. Use a stock photo if necessary.

Twitter users will click through from your Twitter profile to your site; if you want to track that traffic, use a URL shortener such as cli.gs and/or append Google Analytics UTM parameters to your URL.

Finding Feeds and Posting Content

You’ve heard it before: content is king. It’s no different on Twitter. Good content sources are key to building popular commercial Twitter profiles. You want great tweets that people are genuinely interested in – the kind of thing they will re-tweet or @reply to. This shouldn’t be too hard if you picked a decent niche. It will just take a few minutes of research.

If you have a blog or niche site with an RSS feed that pertains to your niche, use your RSS feed to promote the site via Twitter. You can also use newspapers and other content sources, such as Yahoo, Google News, other blogs, or even create a custom Yahoo Pipe. The sky is the limit here. Ideally you are looking for 2-5 content sources that have RSS feeds. Each should have one or more new articles every few hours.

You want to post regular content, but you don’t want to overwhelm your followers with content. 1-2 items per hour works pretty well. There are various tools that can do this part. Of course, I recommend you use EasyTweets.

Growing Followers

Once you get your account set up and are posting content regularly, you will want to focus on building your followers. Good content is the key to this, but there are other things you can do to help nudge things in the right direction.

One way to quickly get some followers and give your account some credibility is to follow a bunch of users that are known to auto follow you back – such as @guykawasaki, @barackobama, and @chrispirillo. (Google is your friend here.)

You can also @reply users that are engaged in a conversation that interests you, and try to get involved in the discussion. This works best when the user asks a question and is looking for an answer. If you are responding to a tweet that’s more than a few hours old, the person may not remember their original question – so link to their original tweet in your response.

Be careful not to overdo it, though. You want to engage people in conversations, but you don’t want to spam. There is a fine line here, and some users are much more sensitive to it than others. You can’t just write one canned response and send the same @reply to everyone. The responses need to be tailored to each conversation, and you should space them out over time in between other tweets. At a minimum you should have 5-10 different “canned responses” that you can rotate over time.

Also, make sure you are tweeting other things. Don’t just reply to 25 people in a row with a promotional message – users will look at your tweet timeline, and this sort of thing will get you blocked and/or get spam complaints, both of which could ultimately lead to your profile getting suspended. Instead, use a service that lets you schedule tweets (such as EasyTweets), so you can post your responses over time and in between your other tweet content.

Another thing you can do is follow users that are using your target keywords in their conversations. Ideally you should pick a handful of keywords that are relevant to your account, and auto follow some users that are using your target keywords. Many of them will not follow you back, but roughly 30-50% of them will if you are posting decent content that is of interest to them.

Ultimately you want to maintain a healthy ratio of following vs. followers – i.e. about the same number of followers as following, or more if possible. This is hard to do with new accounts, so you should limit the number of people you follow per day to 50 or less when you are first getting started. You want to ensure you don’t exceed Twitter’s follow limits. If you get too aggressive with following or un-following, or if your following is significantly higher than your followers, your account could get flagged by Twitter for “aggressive following.”

Profit!

There are three major ways to monetize a Twitter following:

1. send traffic to one of your sites, which you can then monetize directly (via product purchases, affiliate offers, adsense, etc.)

2. send traffic directly to an affiliate link

3. sponsorships and ad networks

Sending Traffic To Your Sites

If you have your own site that sells products or has affiliate offers, you can include links in your tweets (and your profile page) that send Twitter traffic directly to your site. You might annoy your followers if you keep posting the same link over and over, so try to post fresh content to your site. Twitter users tend to be more web-savvy than users that arrive via organic search, and are less likely to click on Adsense than other users. Use CrazyEgg’s Confetti View to see what Twitter users do on your site vs. other types of traffic.

Send Traffic To Affiliate Links

You can also just drop affiliate links in your tweets that redirect to promotional offers or sale pages. Special offers and discounts, especially time sensitive ones, tend to work well here. You want to add value to your followers by giving them the opportunity to save money or get a great deal on something. Don’t just post a link to buy blue widgets, give them the chance to “save 70% on blue widgets if you buy today”.

Tracking Twitter Traffic

One of the challenges with Twitter is tracking how many users actually visited your site and what they did when they got there. URL shorteners such as cli.gs can provide statistics on clickthrough rate etc. But to track their actual conversion rate on your site, you will want to use Google Analytics.

Google Analytics lets you append parameters to the end of your URL that identify the name of the campaign and where the traffic came from, such as UTM_SOURCE, UTM_CAMPAIGN, etc. You can read more about this in our recent blog post, or use Google’s URL Builder Tool. You can still shorten the URL even with the added parameters, making it very Twitter-friendly.

If you are promoting your blog on Twitter, EasyTweets can automatically add these Google Analytics parameters to RSS feed items for you.

Sponsorships and Ad Networks

If you have a network of multiple accounts with thousands of followers, you can also set up a direct advertising deal with sponsors that are interested in reaching your audience. But if you’re not yet big enough to do this, there are other ad networks that can help you monetize your Twitter profiles.

One ad network for Twitter that can do this for you is Magpie. Magpie will automatically posts tweets to your account at specified intervals (like 1 sponsored tweet for every 5 regular tweets, etc.). Magpie has several options you can choose from. Some pay commission (basically affiliate links), and others will pay you a small amount of money (about 50 cents) for each tweet you post. They also let you choose the ratio for the number of sponsored tweets vs. your normal tweets. This may not seem like much, but if you have multiple automated accounts it can add up. The available inventory of relevant tweets will vary depending your niche.

Another option is Twittad. Twittad matches up advertisers with Twitter profiles that have audiences they are interested in. Like Magpie, they will post a couple tweets to your account. They will also upload a background advertisement to your Twitter profile during each campaign. (You can see some sample background ads here.) In order to use Twittad you will need to add your Twitter account profile to categories in the Twellow directory.

You can also use Adjix to monetize tweets and links that you post. Basically when you shorten a link using their service, there is an option to place an ad frame at the top of the page. You get paid whenever someone clicks on that ad. Last month they launched Embed Ads, which will embed an ad at the end of your tweet (if there is enough extra space). Adjix lets advertisers set the price they are willing to pay per Twitter follower.

Conclusion

The real benefit of Twitter is connecting with people and providing value to them, so you need to make sure you connect as much as you can. Check your @replies and direct messages and respond as necessary. Do whatever you can to not appear automated or spammy. Remember, you are building a list – you want to get as many eyeballs on your tweets as possible. The bigger your list, the more you can monetize it.

Special Offer

EasyTweets is an all in one Twitter marketing tool that makes it easy to take control of Twitter. I’m confident that once you’ve tried EasyTweets, you’ll never use Twitter without it again.

Shoemoney readers can save up to $98 by trying one month of EasyTweets – any plan – for just $1. Hurry – we can’t offer a deal like this forever. Try EasyTweets now.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

60 thoughts on “How To Build (And Monetize) Twitter Content Channels”
  1. […] Continued here:  How To Build (And Monetize) Twitter Content Channels […]

  2. Internet Marketing Email » Blog Archive » How To Build (And Monetize) Twitter Content Channels - ShoeMoney® says:

    […] Jeremy Schoemaker put an intriguing blog post on How To Build (And Monetize) Twitter Content Channels – ShoeMoney®Here’s a quick excerptRemember, you are building a list – you want to get as many eyeballs on your tweets as possible. The bigger your list, the more you can monetize it. Special Offer. EasyTweets is an all in one Twitter marketing tool that makes it easy to … […]

  3. This is one of the best write-ups I have seen which explains the Twitter mystique clearly.

  4. the suspended part is crazy and there is a limit on it as showed in the forum. but growing followers can be a hassle especially if they are not related and if they are not related to what you have to say it will be hard to market

  5. Thank you for the info. I didn’t know of the passive ways to monitize my twitter account. Interesting.

  6. Certainly you have mentioned each and everything so clearly. Although some of them I am using from past three months but however you defined them systematically and arrange them brick by brick … so that a perfect place can be made.

    Thanks I am now following some of them here.

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  8. […] about Internet Marketing Experts as of April 11, 2009 How To Build (And Monetize) Twitter Content Channels – shoemoney.com 04/11/2009 This is a guest post written by Alexander Barbara. Alex is the founder […]

  9. awesome info, I love twitter and it’s massive potential for profits, as well as free advertisment to your website/blog.

  10. Interesting information Alex! Thnx. There are some things I did`t know yet (tracking, yahoo pipes).

    About EasyTweets. It probably is totally awesome tool, but this post just turns me off because I got a feeling you are trying too much to sell it.

    This is just my opinion and is not meant to be negative – i know how much work someone needs to prep a product, campaign and everything…

    Anyway, the $1 offer is worth trying.

  11. Twitter is like a breath of fresh air on the Social Media scene. I have been on it for just a few weeks now and I have met several interesting people. It is a platform to network with people you would like to meet in real life. Check me out!!

    http://twitter.com/spryka

  12. I haven’t used Twitter that much yet but it sounds like it could be really useful especially this driving traffic to a specific site of my choosing. Thanks for this great info I’ll have to start looking into twitter more.

  13. How To Build (And Monetize) Twitter Content Channels - ShoeMoney® | My Exit Splash Review And Bonuses says:

    […] View original post here:  How To Build (And Monetize) Twitter Content Channels – ShoeMoney® […]

  14. Solid ideas, you make it seem so easy. I think the hard part about Twitter for me is having the time for real connections there. I tweet something, then I’m gone…how do you manage that? I may not be back for several hours.

  15. This looks interesting, but your sign up page is not secure and I won’t give my credit card information on it. I suggest fixing that if you want people to sign up.

  16. Great post! I have been using Twitter for quite some time as of now.

    I was surprised that when I asked about lasik surgery, someone replied even though we are not yet following with each other.

    I guess Twitter has been a good social networking tool. However, I’ve heard the story of the Cisco employee twitting about his possible employment. He ended up not having the job instead.

    Lesson? We should always be careful of what we say in any social bookmarking tool like Twitter.

  17. […] How To Build (And Monetize) Twitter Content Channels […]

  18. Twitter is growing there is no doubt about that. You go to twitter and it takes all the more time to do a tweet because Twitter has become so so slow of late. They need a bigger server.

  19. information that is interesting in maximazing social media to bring in visitors and a lot of money, thanks

  20. I was wondering how people would make money out of Twitter, it did not seem like it was possible. Looks like I was wrong. 🙂

  21. As a matter of fact, I just started my twitter as of yesterday. The article gives some ideas and tips … thanks for that. Everyone should get into twitter,since, it’s the “it” for now.

  22. Wow, that is hands down one of the best and most concise descriptions I have ever read about making money with Twitter.

    Great article! I’m saving this and sending it to my clients.

  23. Great Article, Alex, Thank You for compiling and sharing this with all of us! 🙂

    So …

    How may we work together to convince business owners not already online and/or on Twitter that they *need* to be here?

    Thank you again for the Great Article, Alex! 🙂 and Everyone Have a Great Day! 🙂

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  25. Great article. Twitter is only going to get bigger. If you have not on twitter, I would recommend you start now 🙂

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  27. Hi there,

    Interesting article. The difficult thing is to make people click on your links. Having thousands of followers doesn’t implies that but it sure helps a lot. Once people are used to interact with you and to the quality of your content then it’s more easy to convert but as we all know, trust is build in time.

    Thanks for the article,
    @TomaBonciu

    1. You bring up a great point. It’s important that you build “real” connections with your followers. A group of 1,000 close friends are probably more valuable than 10,000 strangers – in the realm of followers.

  28. Wow so much awesome info to make some money with Twitter, thanks for sharing maybe I will try the easytweet tool.

  29. These posts are what pushes more and more links onto Twitter.

    Maybe you should write “Is Twitter the new link dump?” 😀

    -Mike

  30. This has been a very helpful article. Apart from interacting and socializing with Twitter you can even gain income! I think EasyTweet would be a big thing sooner or later if lots of people would subscribe to it.

  31. Great article, nice and in depth. Will have to try the tools you mentioned.

  32. […] create an income, or improve your online business sales, check out this post at Shoemoney. “How To Build (And Monetize) Twitter Content Channels” is full of great […]

  33. Very in-depth post. Your “growing followers” information was excellent. As always, thank you.

  34. […] is an interesting resource that can help you understand […]

  35. too much man. way too much. if a person gets to doing everything and every tool, pretty much they will become tools watching the little blue bar atthe bottom of their monitors every day of their lives… this is great but honestly, its too much

  36. […] How to Build (and monetize) Twitter Content Channels @ ShoeMoney […]

  37. Twitter is going to continue to grow everyday. One thing is so amazing is that this time celebrities are actually taking Twitter more serious than anything.

  38. Thank you for the wonderful information. I am just beginning to fully utilize twitter for other opportunities and I couldn’t have found this information soon enough. I will surely take all you have said to heart.

    CouldB

  39. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by planetdigital: How To Build (And Monetize) Twitter Content Channels http://bit.ly/4Jmzs

  40. I don’t really agree with everything you’ve written here, but it was still an interesting and actually quite enlightening read. Cheers.

  41. Wow! Thank you! I constantly wanted to write on my website something like that. Can I implement a part of your post to my website?

  42. […] How to Build (and monetize) Twitter Content Channels @ ShoeMoney […]

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