As Twitter has taken hold, more and more companies are looking to market to people on twitter through other people on twitter.

Update since this post Sponsored Tweets bought Mag Pie from what I understand

It is the social connection that is generally deemed as valuable. Finding a good way to utilize this connection effectively without being perceived as a twitter user generating spammy content is no easy challenge!

I recommend that you tread very carefully into this realm. ๐Ÿ™‚ Always error on the side of being helpful to people or providing useful content.

That caution made, here are a few services that you can utilize carefully to earn money on twitter:

  • SponsoredTweets referral badgeSponsored Tweets (note I have been an advisor to Izea the parent company over the years, I’ve also advertised with them.) Essentially though this service makes it easy to connect with advertisers that want to share messages through your twitter stream and ALL MESSAGES ARE SENT WITH DISCLOSURE. ๐Ÿ™‚ So this is FTC friendly. The real question is whether or not you can be effective and not upset your stream.
  • Be a Mag Pie – I’ve used this service to test it out, both as an advertiser and as a twitter user. It did get the job done, but I advise again using caution and small amounts of either marketing funds or twitter usage until you understand the dynamics of the system. TEST TEST TEST!

Magpie seems to have the most solid setup so far, (although as I write this, it is unclear if their portfolio of advertisers is deep).ย  Magpie has search bots that pay attention to

  • how many followers a user has
  • how many tweets they write
  • what keywords are used in those tweets

With that information, they can come up with a CPM calculation on what it would cost to insert a text message and/or link into the twitter stream of a twitter users that signs up with them.ย  Ergo, they publish a twit for you and you get paid!

They are German with business in the UK, so you can expect a PayPal payment that will be converted from Euros to Dollars (not a big deal, PayPal handles it for you).

  • SocialSpark – Also run by Izea has a mechanism for paying people to tweet as well. This seems to work on a cpc basis. This service pays you EACH time your link gets clicked.ย  I’ve already earned money on this system, just beta testing it!

Building Twitter Followers
All these services emphasize paying you based on HOW MANY FOLLOWERS YOU HAVE. No followers, expect not to earn any money. Lots of followers, you can expect higher rates for your ‘audience’.

BEWARE of some of the tools out there that promise to give you large volumes of followers.

Many of them DO WORK, but they give you spammy bot followers that are not real people. These inflate your numbers and might give you better pay rates in the short term, but advertisers are no dummies and won’t pay for your services if you serve up spam to fake people. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is even more problematic if you pick up Fake Like’s on Facebook. Then you can actually lose exposure to your own audience of real followers.

Plus, it has been my direct experience and through anecdotes of other users, that many of the services that help you GET followers also subject you to attacks and hacks on your twitter account. Want to lose your twitter account altogether? Use them! (no seriously don’t! that was sarcasm). Be careful and just be helpful or entertaining and you will build followers the old fashioned networking way!

Disclosure – years after this post, I was offered but as of this update in September 2011, I received options in Izea to purchase stock. The options however were to buy the stock at a price higher than what they were publicly sold at when I received them (ergo underwater). So I did not purchase stock. ย That was a long time ago. Today (2016) Izea stock is doing much much better. I still do not own shares myself, but they are reaching a point where they might be a good investment. ๐Ÿ™‚